O’Dowd Debate hosted a one-day workshop for incoming freshmen debaters this past Saturday. Forty-four newly minted dragons gathered at the Center for Environmental Studies for six hours of instruction and debate debate rounds. The day started with an introduction to debate theory and debating formats led Eunice Jung, ’17, Isabel Weinerth, ’17, and Sophia Yau-Weeks, ’17.
Sophia Yau-Weeks delivers a constructive speech affirming the need for a national carbon tax.
The ninety minute backgrounder was followed by a demonstration debate pitting parli captain Sophia against co-captain Claudia Hester, ’18, with the two delivering a crackling round on whether the United States federal government should adopt a carbon tax. After a Q&A on the round the debaters were placed into small groups for lunch with varsity debaters Claudia, Eunice, Isabel, Sophia, and Beatrice Velline, ’17, dividing the debaters up between them for an informal discussion on debate and life at O’Dowd.
Isabel chats with new debaters about life at O’Dowd.
Outgoing parli captain Camille Porter McAvoy and Claudia discuss the intricacies of their chosen format.
Sophia talks shop over lunch.
The post-lunch portion of the day saw the debaters take their newfound knowledge and apply it in actual rounds. The debaters were randomly drawn into 14 teams and commenced to take on the pro or con of the following resolutions (debaters were provided the topic fields prior to the workshop):
Round 1, Flight A: CEO pay should be capped.
Round 1, Flight B: A CEO’s annual total compensation should be no more than 4x the median annual total compensation of the company’s employees.
Round 2, Flight A: The United States federal government should substantially increase its military presence in the South China Sea.
Round 2, Flight B: The United States federal government should cede control of the South China Sea to the People’s Republic of China.
Round 3: The United Kingdom should leave the European Union.
Each round was judged by a varsity debater and concluded with constructive oral feedback. As the six hours drew to a close, it was very clear to those assessing the rising freshmen that this group possessed the most raw talent of any incoming class of O’Dowd debaters. The excited optimism of the captains was palpable as the debaters departed as was the intense desire to kick-off the 2016-2017 debate season.
The experience was a rewarding one for the incoming debaters as well and, when asked to jot down their thoughts on the workshop, responded:
“It was great! It was a fun and relaxing introduction.”
“I can’t wait for the fall.”
“It made me a lot more interested in debate.”
“I really liked how friendly the older debaters were, and I think that they did a good job giving really great feedback on what was many of our first tries at debate.”
For Coach Thorpe the best part of the workshop was watching the rising freshmen placed in a new situation that required them to work together. “The captains and I are in complete agreement that we have the seen the future of the debate team and it’s a darned good one. Watching the novice debaters collaborate and bond and put in such maximum effort, that made for a great day.”
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For more photos of what transpired at the workshop, scroll on down!