BY SARA ZAKARIA & MICHELLE YIN
Debate Night was hosted by the History Club and the Speech and Debate team on January 10th, in the auditorium, and it lasted from six to eight. They debated on several topics, like illegal immigration, political correctness, presentism, zero tolerance policies and interventionism.
The History Club and the Speech and Debate team started planning for Debate Night in October 2016. Junior member Brendon Ky explained how the club “knew that [they] wanted to do another debate night this year since the end of last year because the first one went so well.” Ky felt that “the event went smoothly, with the only thing that [he thinks they] really need to improve on is making it more structured and organized so the debates don't go past the time [they] set for them.”
The topics of the debate were suggested by various people who wanted to get involved with the event. The topics were added to a list of volunteered topics if they were interesting enough, and if there were people willing to debate both for and against. They also wanted to discuss ideas that were controversial, as long as each side were defensible.
The purpose behind Debate Night, according to Ky, was for people to be able to discuss different ideas from different sides to provide a setting where people can consider unalike perspectives and argue contrasting stances of some of the current issues. “[He feels] like it's impossible to have a civil discussion about different ideas without having people get offended or upset,” says Ky. Though, he went on to say how it’s always important whether there is a debate or controversy that all stances are considered. “Isolating and blocking out any opposing ideas certainly isn’t productive, and [he finds] it rather juvenile,” Ky said.
“One of the biggest problems [he found] with getting people willing to debate is that either they don't know/care about any of the topics or that they are just too shy,” Ky stated. “The whole idea of having debate night is to make people care about these subjects, so once [people] start researching into the different stances and digging into the facts, [they] will find some sense of what [they] believe fairly quickly.”
On his performance, Ky says there is always room for improvement, however, he can still could work on debating and public speaking. His advice to newcomers wanting to join and participate is to put themselves out there, because the more they do something, the more comfortable they get.
“[He] personally [knows] most of the debaters who participated this time and many of them are incredibly shy, yet they put themselves out there and none of them regret their decision,” Ky said.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the event was hosted by the Debate Club.