CHS Debate Goes Virtual

Debate Team Wins Big in Online Tournaments.

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Charles Daniel Norris, Staff Writer

The Capital High School debate team this year is taking the gold online. Defying the Covid-19 pandemic from home, they’ve gone farther than ever before with Coach Jonathan Moore. Moving from pen and paper to computer and mouse may be a shock to some, but CHS debate has pulled through.  

“The team is already off to a winning start,” he says.  “We have already received our first trophies with sophomore Charles Norris taking first place in speech, and freshman Kaloyan Menser taking second place in the same event. Furthermore, Gwen Touney and Juliane Alston made it to the quarter-finals in debate.  These four students put Capital High School on the map at the Tahoma Golden Bear Classic Speech and Debate tournament.  The entire Seattle area now knows that Capital is here, and we’re ready to perform at the highest levels this season.”  

But will that confidence hold up with the continuation of online debate? Sophomore Kaloyan Menser thinks it will.  According to him, the experience “met his expectations” this season, and he hopes to keep the bar high with his performance. 

The team may be on track, but the real question is whether or not the National Speech and Debate Association is.  “The NSDA is supporting teams during our period of online learning,” the coach says, “and the West Central District, of which we are apart, is doing a great job ensuring students can continue to participate in the speech and debate events they love without interruption.” 

Sites such as Cascade Commons have been essential in ensuring a good debate experience.  They’re used as substitute zooms, ones which are easy to access.  Menser says there’s pros and cons.  “In terms of how things are organized, yes [it’s great], but addressing speeches to judges and opponents is definitely more challenging.” 

For many, it’s hard to even give a short presentation in their online English class.  However, those in speech might have to do the same for 10 minutes with an often faceless judge and opponent.  That, coupled with technical issues, can make debating online very difficult. So what does Menser recommend?  “My main tip would be to treat online tournaments as if they were in person.  Also, going into tournaments with a positive mindset really makes it a much better experience.” 

Coach Moore adds, “Public speaking is really the same regardless of whether it’s online or in-person.  It’s challenging to a lot of people, but the Capital High School debate team has proven it can adapt to anything.”  

Students interested in competing in debate can contact Jonathan Moore at [email protected]