Beyond the Argument


Nicholas Salerno

The Sacred Heart Debate team recently participated in a Connecticut Debate Association tournament at Pomperaug High School in Southbury, Connecticut.  Our team competed in a pool of 200 debaters through three rounds of debates.  At the end of the day, there were many successes including high speaker rankings and round winners.  Jessie Bridenbach and Jillian Mike were the top winners for SHHS with victories in the first and second round.  Congratulations to all of our competing debaters for a job well done!

Every Monday night at SHHS is Debate. Debate is a class and a club that meets once a week from 6:30-8:30. Mrs. Gemmell is the Debate teacher. One Saturday each month, the debaters compete in the Connecticut Debate Association (CDA) interscholastic tournaments.  Normally, fifteen to twenty schools participate with more than 200 debaters at the competition. Debate is serious business in the CDA and some of the best speakers participate in the events.  These debates help challenge our students to refine their thinking skills, argumentation skills, and public speaking skills. Even though the day begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., our debaters are always excited to test their skills against other students.  It is a great way to prepare yourself for speaking and addressing issues in the future.

Debaters can participate in two ways, as a club member or as a class member.  Either way, in debate we argue and discuss topics of all different types. We normally get into groups of four. Two people in that group with be affirmative while the other two people will be negative. We usually spend a good 45-60 minutes preparing our claim of why we do or do not support the resolve, and then we will spend 30-45 minutes arguing our cases. Debate is a very beneficial course because is not just all about speaking or arguing with people, rather, debate really helps improve your social skills, your writing, your grammar, and your understanding of very difficult words.

This year, debaters will not only compete in the CDA tournaments, but they will also debate in two new types of events: student vs. teacher and student vs. student.  For these events, the public is invited to come an observe the argumentation skills of our debaters. Many of our debaters earned top speaker honors in the state debates!  In our first student teacher debate, the team of Liz Nonamaker, Liz DeCrisanti, Nick Salerno, and Jillian Mike defeater Mr. Madden and Mr. Michaud.  In the other debate, Mrs. Depaiva and Mr. O’Connell defeated Elysa Lopez, Veronique Recile, Jeferson Garcia, and   So the evening ended in a draw, 1:1.  In the near future, we will present a student vs. student debate, continue the CDA competitions, and take on the teachers again in April.

We hope you can join us to see how well our debaters can argue!