Andre Letourneau, senior, with the help of several other participants, founded debate club this year to give people a chance to argue in a school setting. “In debate club … we will be traveling around the state and participating in several different competitions. It resembles debating that we do in speech class and American government and things like that, except it’s in a competitive setting,” Letourneau said.
Shorewood used to have a debate team, but its term concluded around 2010. After a five-year time lapse, the club is back up and running in order to let students argue educationally.
“A few years ago, before I went on maternity leave, I was the advisor for the forensics club and we would go to competitions … We would compete in debate and other different speaking contests,” said Colleen Tierney, English teacher and club advisor. “Andre Letourneau had asked about starting it up again last year, so I was on board with that idea.”
Many people are excited about this revival, mainly because they have developed a love for discourse throughout their lives and want an opportunity to further develop their skill. “I like the debating … and the opportunity to be with people who also like debating,” said Isabel Schmitt, freshman. “I am looking forward to [competing].”
“There really haven’t been that many clubs in the school that seem to fit me but this seems like it would … I’m a fan of politics and I argue a lot so I thought this would really fit,” said Nick Shaffer, sophomore. “I just have a hobby of debating politics on social media.”
Members are looking forward to the club’s future and its impact on them as debaters. “I am looking forward to it,” Shaffer said. “I might not perform well on my first debate because I really haven’t done this before in real life … so I just hope I will improve.”
However, before they can begin debating in real life, the team needs more participants. There is a 20-person minimum required in order for the team to compete in debates.
“People haven’t shown up to the informational meetings I’ve been holding this week,” said Letourneau. “It’s a bit of the set back, though it’s going to get cleared up very soon, so I’m not really worried.” If they don’t get the required 20 people, though, students can still be active in the club.
“They can still compete in some of the other competitions like forensics and the other speaking categories like literature reading,” Tierney said. “There are other avenues they can take; they don’t just have to do debate; they can prepare different speeches for any number of things and then present those speeches within the competition.”
There are currently 12 debate club members, although some have inconsistently attended the meetings. “[I heard about debate club] through the announcements and I thought it would be interesting,” Shaffer said. Debate club plans to meet on Wednesdays at lunch.
(by Elena Cruz and Layna Wang)