Why I debate?

A Second Home in room 642

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Douglas Husic

The top shelf is a collection of trophies that WB debate team has won in just the past few years.

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I have received this question a lot throughout my high-school career; what is the benefit to be being a part of the debate team? That has also never been an easy question to answer without great detail. In simple terms, I debate because it is fun, I learn about the most interesting topics in the world, and it provides me educational skills that extend far beyond just the debate realm and into my other classes.

It also has been a lot more to me than just those three things. Every high school or college student would benefit from some involvement in speech and debate. Debate is where I discovered myself in high school. Debate has been a second home for me in times that I needed it. But I am getting ahead of myself. High school policy debate is fast paced, intense, and highly competitive. Speakers often speak at 200 plus, words per minute, which sounds intimidating and incomprehensible. As someone who looked at it as the most complicated thing in the world just three years ago, and has become extremely successful at it, I can assure you that it eventually becomes a simple task. The activity is amazing as it incorporates almost every subject from school. It is a practical use for all that history, literature, and even science and math that a student has learned and is learning in high school.

Debate serves as an environment for me to talk about issues that matter. We spend a lot of time talking in debate about imaginary wars and extinction. But sometimes we, as debaters, get to engage in a discourse about structural issues such as, capitalism (good and bad aspects), how we as a community can stop racism, and how inherently patriarchal our political policies are and how to take a gender neutral approach to these policies.  These are the debates that are the most fun for me and have influenced my future career pathway. From the practical arguments of how imaginary plans would affect real world politics to why nuclear rhetoric causes spiritual suffering, debate is everything.

Every year we discuss a topic for the whole year, which encompasses a wide range of issues. This year’s topic is: “Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase its economic engagement toward Cuba, Mexico, or Venezuela.” Each debater should be able to say this verbatim by the tiIMG956240me the season starts. We spend four months here on the Michigan circuit researching, preparing, and debating. I am not going to lie; it has been the biggest time investment of my high school career. But it has also been the most rewarding; you get out of debate whatever you are willing to put into it.

Debate has also assisted me so much in college preparation; next year, I am attending Wayne State University with a scholarship due to my participation in the debate program. Our team has held a state title before in the Novice and Varsity division, and we have been very successful at other in-state tournaments. I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with a group of individuals with whom, over three years that no matter whether we won or loss, we were successful. We were supportive and constructive; we were and are a family. The amount of time spent at debate related events sums up on an average week is anywhere from 8-30 hours. It is an environment where bonding all the time with your fellow debaters is a must, and one thing specifically to note about West Bloomfield, is we have the most fun of any other team.

Debate is indeed, everything. It has migrated into every facet of my life and given me a place to be myself. The voice debate has given me I will one day go on to use for great things. Debate has given me that gift and it gives everyone who chooses to venture into its world of logical fallacies and complexities a home where the student’s voice is important.