Debate scrimmage provides experience for novice debaters


Debate teachers, Alyssa Fiebrantz, Nick Montecalvo and Nicole Arnold ran the Big Question (BQ) Debate Tournament at the Bay on Dec. 9 for students enrolled in Debate 1 Local Honors. Ms. Arnold helped plan and run the scrimmage. She said this scrimmage was held to provide students with the experience of competing at a tournament to prepare them for future competitions.

“This scrimmage is beneficial to students since it gives them an opportunity to present [their debate skills],” Ms. Arnold said. “This helped them feel more comfortable and gives them a boost of confidence going into the rounds because they knew what to expect [for future competitions].”

Freshman Ashley Rudolph competed for the first time at the BQ Debate Tournament and she said it was a good experience.

“I was nervous at first, but by the last round I was more confident,” Rudolph said. “I was surprised at the results since I ended up doing much better than I thought I would.”

Students were given the chance to compete in all forms of debate. Rudolph said her favorite aspect of the tournament was trying something that she had never competed in before.

“I learned from the tournament that even if you have no idea what you’re doing, if you practice enough you will be successful,” Rudolph said.

Students prepared for the tournament in class by doing work that taught students skills that would be used in a debate.

“Before the tournament, I prepared a lot and during the round, I stayed focused to help me win,” Rudolph said.

Freshman and debate team member Jean Qian judged six rounds of the BQ Debate Tournament. This was Qian’s first time judging; she said it was difficult for her to transfer from being a competitor to a judge.

“This experience made me appreciate the work that judges do and how they too have preparations and learning and stress on their backs,” Qian said. “Even though this was a pretty small-scale tournament, it made me realize all of the challenges and pressure put onto judges, especially at national ones.”

Freshman and debate team member Ryan Bazail was also a judge at the tournament, and he said that it was hard to not let bias get in the way when judging a debate round.

“Everyone is going to have some level of bias on any topic, and even though I am not exempt from that, I believe I was successful in not basing any of my decisions today on my own opinions,” Bazail said. “I tried to pretend that I had no prior knowledge on the topic so I could make unbiased decisions.”

This was Brazil’s first time participating in the BQ Tournament as a judge and he said he enjoyed the experience it offered. Bazail said the tournament was enlightening and helped him grow as a debater.

“It has helped me because it puts me in the judge’s perspective and it helps me understand firsthand what a judge may want to see from the debaters.”


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