Debate team showcases novices at annual host tournament


photo by Zach Bolotte

Freshman Michael McNamara competes during congressional debate, in which he was awarded Best Novice in his respective chamber.

Sarah Gibson, Opinions Editor

On Saturday, Dec. 12, the debate team protected home turf competing at the Hagerty High School Debate Tournament. The tournament was one of the largest of the year, boasting nearly 400 competitors from all over Central Florida.

The competition was efficient and ended earlier than any other district tournament this year. Though it was the team’s largest tournament ever hosted, everything ran smoothly with leadership from team captains Stephen Chapman, Steven Marvin, John Foerster and Andrew Hope.

With the varsity team working at the tournament and therefore not competing, novice debaters rose to the occasion, producing notable finishes. Freshman Michael McNamara won Best Novice and second best varsity speaker in congressional debate. Sophomore Jackson Scott was also elected presiding officer in his respective chamber, conducting the entire debate.

“Although we only had two team members actually receive trophies, many others did very well for only their first or second tournament,” junior Zach Bolotte said. “McNamara is only a freshman and he is already giving me a run for my money.”

The current team has grown to almost 40 active members, competing across the country. Members from the team have already or will soon compete at University of Florida, Sacramento, Emory, Harvard and Yale.

With a strong leadership set in place, room has been given for incoming novice debaters to learn from their teammates and reach their high standards.

“Honestly, debate can sometimes be stressful because of the short turn-around between finding out your topic and producing a speech,” freshman Chatham Farrell said. “Regardless, debate is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

The debate team next competes Jan. 23 at Wekiva High School and Feb. 12 at Cambridge.