UAIS Debate wins verbal victory despite virtual format


The UAIS Debate Team celebrating the end of the season

Thomas Lei, Reporter

The 2021 Debate season has been one of organized chaos. With school fully in-person, and the first in-person meetings in a year, UAIS debate has been getting into the swing of things. Even though competitions are still online, due to safety concerns regarding COVID, UAIS debate is now fully in session. 

“It’s really wonderful being able to finally be in-person,” Arianne Dacayo, a senior and varsity Public Forum debater, said.

This sentiment is shared throughout the team. However, some think that online debates are not worth the effort.

“I just don’t think it’s worth it. You take the collaborative joy out of competitions to just be in your house every Saturday,” Skyler Woods, a former varsity Public Forum Debater said. They are taking a break this year due to the stress associated with Debate.

Though it is unfortunate that debates are still online, Elsa Dupon, a senior and varsity congressional debater, comments, “I’m excited to be back in person, but online debate just isn’t the same as in-person debate.”

Even though debates are no longer in-person, debaters are still working hard for competitions. Congressional debate is a style of debate wherein debaters participate in a form similar to the U.S. Congress. Congressional debaters get a docket before each debate which contains bills. They then write speeches in both affirmation and negation of various bills and debate in tournaments. The bills can range from abortion to Medicare to gun rights to regulating Halloween. Given the sheer intensity and volume of speeches debaters must write, it is a true testament to UAIS debaters’ perseverance and skill. This perseverance and skill could not be more apparent than in the latest tournament – the Groves Tournament.

The Groves Tournament is the largest tournament of the season, with teams participating all over Michigan. Despite the sheer size of the competition at Groves, UAIS Congressional debate took 3 of the top 5, winning 1st, 2nd, and 5th.

Public Forum Debate, a collaborative form of debate, where teams debate on a resolution concerning both U.S. and international policies. Teams write speeches in support and against the resolution. This year, Public Forum debaters have debated on increasing NATO funding to the Baltic states and regulation of Cryptocurrencies. With an incredible amount of new debaters, Public Form debaters have been working hard to prepare new debaters for tournaments. 

This effort would not be fruitless. At the Groves Tournament, Violet Ceno, a Freshman and a Novice Debater, ranked 8th overall for speaking. 

The hard work and success at the Groves tournament have motivated debaters to do even better at the final 2 tournaments: The Dexter Tournament, and the State Championships. UAIS Debate is going into overdrive. Congressional debaters have written bills and are writing speeches for the upcoming tournament, and Public Forum is busy researching rebuttals and doing practice debates. 

“We’re planning on doing practice debates for Congressional, but I haven’t found the time yet,” Dupon said. “We’re really working hard to get speeches done, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to get some practice in before out last debates.”

“Because of the latest debate, we know what contentions people are running and are now focusing on researching rebuttals right now,” Decayo said. “We will do practice debates before the next competition to prepare and try out new rebuttals.”