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Debate Team Conquers Brooklyn Championships

The Argus, Midwood High School Paper, by Abeer Naeem ’17

Hundreds of students filled the classrooms, ready to argue for the annual Brooklyn Debate Championship at Midwood High School.

Participants from all over the city spoke about income inequality and how to end poverty in the society. Individuals from each school were given the topic a month in advance in order to better prepare for the competition.

Midwood hosted the Borough championship for the first time since it was the only school available on that specific date.

Ms. Suzanne Thomas, the Debate Team coordinator stated that she was proud that the students had a competition at their home school before the season ended because students were more comfortable in a familiar environment.

Debaters took advantage of this unique opportunity by placing and winning awards. Lizaveta Slinko’17 and Irla Belli’16 represented the Hornets by earning a High School Speaker Award. However, these two individuals were not the only ones recognized for their hard work.  Jacob Kapustin ’18 and Nikolas Magloire ’16 were named one of the Brooklyn Borough Top Seeded High School teams. This was possible under the supervision of the advisors Ms. Suzanne Thomas, Ms. Billie Jones Braithwaite, and Ms. Maria Guardavaccaro.

In order to dominate the competition students had to work long, hard  hours for weeks. They were required to build a foundation of research and dissect the meaning of every possible piece of information obtained.

Sabrina Khahimova ’17 did a lot of the research at home and after school to be better prepared during practices when the team has mock debates.

The hard work and diligence put into this academic championship proved to be worth it as participants gained recognition for their speaking skills.

“I was extremely proud of myself for winning fourth place. I felt that this was a good conclusion for the debate season and cannot wait to see what my team has to prove next year,” said Lizaveta Slinko ’17.

Valery Gromova ’17 was among the many students who had come to participate in this exclusive tournament.

“This was an amazing learning experience for me because I learned how to grow both intellectually and as a person.” Gromova’17 is not the only individual who felt that this debate was beneficial; Slinko’17 believes that she improved as a fluent speaker and could get her point across more effectively.

Slinko’17 stated, “You’re always trying to improve your debate skills as there are different topics to argue all the time.”

Ms. Guardavaccaro agrees with Slinko’17. She said, “Debate provides an analysis of real issues to be able to describe the impact on society.” Students are encouraged to join this team to improve their speaking skills, to learn research skills, and to become a team player.

Ms. Thomas stated, “Debate is an academic competition and for a school that has some of the brightest minds in the city, a chance to partake both socially and intellectually is amazing.”

The advisors believe that the debate team is equivalent to a sports team in terms of dedication and work ethic; instead of physical labor, students must use their wits and intelligence to strive for greatness.

Midwood students plan to get work done earlier for next year and to once again dominate in the championship. Debate is a sport of the mind that expands the intelligence and social skills which are used throughout everyday life.

About The New York City Urban Debate League

Our mission is that every school should have a debate team and every student should have the opportunity to the best debate education opportunities. One of the most critical problems in education today is the academic and civic achievement gaps. Our solution is to provide the best college, career, civic, communication and community opportunities through year round academic debate. Each month we work with thousands of students and hundreds of schools. We support debate practices every day, debate centers every week, tournaments every weekend, workshops every month, debate camps all summer, and year round support for any student and teacher. We are one of the the city’s most award winning curricular and extracurricular programs. We have received awards from the White House, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Presidential Commission on the Arts and Humanities, National Institute for Museum and Library Services, The Social Index of Top 100 Nonprofits, BoardSource, Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator, Teach for America, and by the First Lady as “one of the top arts and humanities based programs in the country.” Why Debate? Debate teaches every academic skill and every academic subject. A Great Debater means a person who has the skills and confidence to lead, to speak up, to argue, to question, to read and write to right the wrongs, to know about the world around you, and to change the world around you.

The New York City Urban Debate League
25 Broadway, 12th Floor