The Debate Team is a small club operating inside of Cedar Cliff, but don't be fooled. This small team travels around competing against other teams throughout the state. Throughout the debate season, the team competes in matches and attends at least two events/competitions. At the start of the season, the team attends five local matches against schools in the area.
Every local match has the same topic, which is chosen at the beginning of the season and given to every team. This year’s resolution is “We should substantially increase funding or regulations for primary and secondary public schools.” Team member Ben Lakavage said, “This year’s resolution was harder to come up with an affirmative plan, but we decided to make a plan based around making mandatory climate change studies in primary and secondary schools.”
At a local debate, there is an affirmative side and a negative side. The affirmative supports the issue, and the negative tries to break down the affirmative argument. The affirmative starts first by giving an eight-minute speech, and then a short three-minute cross examination happens. The negative then give an eight-minute speech and another cross examination. This goes on until the end of the debate. Then a single judge picks a winner.
To prepare for each debate, much effort is needed. Every week the club holds at least one meeting and sometimes two if there isn't a debate that week. The first week of each season, the team analyzes the issues. The positive team comes up with arguments supporting the issue, and the negative predicts ways to foil the positive team’s arguments. After the first match, the positive team edits their argument and strengthens weak points.
Senior team member Nate Layne said, “On the surface the debate team might seem boring because it is just researching and giving speeches, but the rush of it comes in the moment when you are giving the speech. It also comes from the thrill of victory knowing you crushed your enemy, and that is a fantastic feeling, and it makes the boring research worth it.” The negative, on the other hand, comes up with more arguments and adds them to their plethora of notes.
This schedule goes on throughout the season until the end, which is when the tournaments start. The team picks out what event they would like to attend beforehand and starts to prepare. Each event is a day long and can vary in what is being debated. Some deal with morality issues while others are just normal matches. The most important event of the year is Districts. If teams are successful there, then they move on to States. Teams successful in States would move on to national. Cedar Cliff is preparing for districts in February.