Capital High School Takes on the World

Tomorrows Leaders Debate the Issues of Today

The presidential candidates may have finished their debates, but the debates are just beginning for the future leaders of our country.

The students on the Capital High School debate team are off to a brand new start this year, with new Debate Coach Jonathan Moore heading the group. 

“I cannot tell you how excited I am about leading this team of extremely talented and dedicated individuals,” he says. “I know we are going to have one of the most successful years in CHS Debate History.” 

And a long history it has been. Debate Captain Fiona Fitzpatrick has been on the team since she was a freshman, and in her experience, “there is something for everyone, but if you like politics, or acting or even just talking… debate’s for you.”

Students may be worried that debate at CHS is similar to debates they may have seen on television during the presidential race. However, Moore says the two have very little in common.

“In high school debate, we pride ourselves on having meaningful and structured arguments that really get to the heart of the issues.” 

Fitzpatrick has more to add. “Presidential debates seem to be a lot about the people, whereas high school debates are a lot more about the facts.”

CHS debate offers a variety of not only debate events, but speech events where students can hone their skills in the realm of public speaking and the art of discourse. 

Public Forum, the most popular CHS debate event, allows students to explore issues relating not only to the national scale, but to a global stage. The event is structured such that two pairs of students square off against each other to determine the best possible course of action that the United States should take regarding popular controversies such as nuclear weapons, terrorism, climate change, international affairs, and more. 

For those students who are more inclined towards lighter fare, however, it isn’t all doom and gloom; there are a variety of other events offered like stand-up comedy, drama, and informational speaking.

Capital Debate seems to be full of activities, but the focus is on giving new opportunities to CHS students.  

“[You can] find your voice, learn to speak confidently,” Fitzpatrick says. “But I think the actual purpose is based on the individual.” 

Students hesitant to join due to the presidential debates should know there are key differences. 

“How the presidential debates function is completely different than from how high school debates function… With presidential debates, there are a variety of topics,” Fitzpatrick continues. She says this isn’t the case with CHS debate. “High school debates are more organized, and they’re more civil.” 

However, she also recognizes the interest the presidential debates can spark, though in her opinion, the negatives outweigh the positives. 

“People sometimes draw conclusions from the presidential debate that may not be true about high school debate.” 

Students may also be concerned about the time commitment. That, Fiona says, isn’t something that can be avoided. “[There’s] a lot of preparation. A lot of time is spent writing your cases, but it is definitely worth it in the end.” 

The debate season runs from October to March. It encompasses eleven tournaments. Students interested in joining the team should contact [email protected]. Practices are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 5:00 P.M.