Who are the debaters? What do they do? Do we really care? After this article I can assure you that you will . . . maybe, sort of . . .I don’t know . . . just care, alright!
The debate team is an elite society of talkers, speakers and thinkers who specialize in systematically tearing apart other people’s opinions in favor of their own. While that may be a bit dramatized, it’s essentially what they do. The team is given one topic throughout the season to research, discuss, and eventually debate with other teams. This year’s topic is whether or not the U.S. government should increase its non-military exploration or development of the Earth’s oceans. There are two-person teams, one being the affirmative side, and the other being the negative side. The affirmative presents a plan that relates to the topic and argues why it’s a good idea. The plans can be as varied as arguing we should explore the ocean to find organisms that might cure cancer or that development must stop because of overfishing or pollution. The negative side, which has no idea before the debate what the opponent’s specific plan will be, uses the research they’ve done to argue the plan is a terrible idea. Then once all the teams have had their chance to speak, they can cross-examine each other and offer a rebuttal. Basically the rebuttal is a chance for the team to counter any criticisms its opponent has raised.
Seems fairly simple, right? Wrong, son! This is debate team. They DON’T play around. Debaters must prove that their plan is relevant, addresses a need for change and solves an existing problem. Most importantly, they must explain why, if their plan is so great, no one has already thought of it. So buckle up your seat belts because it’s going to be a very slow, meticulous ride down research alley. Each debate usually lasts about an hour, and teams will have two contests at every meet.
The HHS debaters are led by word wizard Ms. Pavao and the team features some of the most savage cruel debaters such as Erika Nelson aka “The Iron Lady;” Maggie Fuller, otherwise known as “Deathsinger;” Peter Crowley, or as his slain opponents called him in their last breaths, “The Pistol;” Abby “Lionheart” Lyons, Ava “Heart of Darkness” McWade, Taylor “Diablo Rojo” Grady, Mary “Thrill Kill” Nevins, Mary “Walking Apocalypse” Mancini, Nicole “Black widow” Zaccardi, and Kelsey “Machete Fiend” Kosak. Oh, and of course the “Trifecta of Terror:” Greta Barry, Jessica Gardiner and Courtney Ceurvels.
Erika Nelson says she joined Debate Team because she “enjoys public speaking.” Teamed up with “Thrill Kill” Nevins, Erika argues the affirmative side of their case, which she says requires a lot of preparation and revisions throughout the season.
Ms. Pavao says the team is doing really well in its first year, despite most members having never debated before. “All of the members’ enthusiasm and talent has been exceptional, and I expect our record to only improve next week at our match at Hingham.”
So there you have it, friends. Debate Team is basically the Rough Riders and Mrs. Pavo is DMX. So if you ever feel the urge to stop, drop, shut em down and open up shop, join Debate Team.