Sophomore Misha Andra-Thomas prepares for an upcoming tournament using a recycling bin as a makeshift podium. Photo: Sean Murtaugh
Sophomore Misha Andra-Thomas prepares for an upcoming tournament using a recycling bin as a makeshift podium. Photo: Sean Murtaugh

Continuing one of the school’s longest traditions, Pace debate is picking up right where it left off. Many members of the team trained in camps over the summer at many different universities and colleges in order to prepare for this year’s season. The varsity team consists of excellent, experienced debaters including several state champions. Seniors Clyde Shepherd and Tanner Lewis even won a national championship last year, and are readying to continue their success.

As one of the school’s highest funded programs, the team is able to fly across the country to many different tournaments. The team has already traveled to Dallas, Texas for the Greenhill Round Robin tournament. “It is always a lot of fun to travel and see the country,” said junior Reid Funston. “Even if we are debating most of the time, the team makes some pretty great memories.”

For those who do not know how a debate tournament works, every high school debater throughout the nation researches the same issue and prepares speeches and evidence for each side of the given argument. That argument remains the same at every single tournament over the entire year. “This year the team is debating about exploration and development involving the oceans,” said freshman Grayle Kendall. “We argue about whether or not the N.O.P.P. [National Oceanographic Partnership Program] should receive funding from the U.S. in order to understand more about the ocean.”

The debate team is filled with other great up-and-comers like Grayle. The majority of the team are underclassmen, and they show great promise for the future of the program. In a recent tournament at Emory University, freshmen Nate Reece and Chris McCaffrey placed second overall and Nate took home second speaker. “The transition from middle school debate to upper school debate is definitely a challenge,” said Chris. “The speech time is twice as long as it is in the middle school, which gives us more time to fill, more things to think about, and more things to debate. When one debate takes an hour and a half you don’t want to run out of points, so we prepare a ton of research.” The freshmen agree that Coach Jordan is “fiery and encouraging” and pushes them to be better.

 

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