Debate Competiton


Camilo Bacca

The Coral Gables Speech and Debate Club after winning big at Coral Springs.

Camilo Bacca, Staff Writer

On December 14, the Coral Gables Debate Club competed at the National Forensic League competition at Coral Springs High School; the team entered in a variety of competitions that encompassed both speech and debate. With the highest turnout the Debate Club has ever had for any individual completion, this has been the largest group to compete in years. A total of 15 members attended, and for many this was their first competition.  The students arrived at CGHS at 5:50 AM and rode the bus all the way out to Coral Springs. With cunning and wit, the club competed the whole day.

The Debate Club sponsor, Mr. Benitez, said, “The Debate Club is striving very hard to improve from last year. They are growing. This year we are larger and have been working very hard when practicing. I think they did very well and will continue to improve. I’m very proud of them.”

This year, the students have been more organized with their coaching schedules, and have aimed to assimilate the new members. There are also only two seniors in the club this year, so many of these debaters will continue competing next year. For many, this was a new experience, and one that can only improve from here.

Speech and debate are separate divisions; those that participate in the debate portion engage with other students, while the students that participate in the speech portion stick to their own thing. Students in debate compete in Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas; both are categories, except that Public Forum is a more policy centered debate than Lincoln Douglas, which is moral and philosophical. Public Forum is also in groups of two, while Lincoln Douglas is solo. Competitors in both categories went five rounds against opponents from other schools.

Speech includes categories like duo, humorous, and dramatic interpretation. These are interpretations of a piece from any published work that are performed in a time range of under ten minutes. Comedic and dramatic are solo, while duo is in pairs. Speech also encompasses original oratory, which are speeches written and performed by students about any appropriate topic. Those in the speech category also competed in five rounds. Instead of debating against opponents, each student was assigned a different room with a groups of students. All performances were ranked by how well they did in comparison to the others in the room. 

Sophomore Tatiana Taylor said, “It was a great experience. I got to meet people who loved the same thing I love – speech. Also, I made friends and got excellent advice from other debaters about future competitions.”

The rank of the member is determined by how many points they have accumulated. These points are earned by attending and doing well at competitions. There was a plethora of schools present from different counties, all with different amounts of experience. All of the debaters from our school competed in the junior league. Next year, many of these new speech and debaters will be eligible to compete at the varsity level. The debaters who wish to go to qualifiers must have attended this competition or the next and final completion, and those who qualify can go on to states.The Coral Gables Debate Club had a single student place in the last competition.

Watch out for these students in the next Speech and Debate competition that will be held in 2014.