Led by Advanced Research and Forensics teacher, Ms. Alex Mann, the debate team has begun their second year of meetings and competitions. Senior Daniel Pan is the head of the team this year.
“You wake up earlier than you would for school and meet with the team at a previously chosen location; then you drive there together. During competition, you are entered into either a speech category or a debate category and you will perform four rounds of whichever one [category] you were entered in.” This is the process the debate team goes through at competitions. Pan joined the debate team because “I like verbally slaying people. It gives me more satisfaction than physical fights because good debates can leave behind mental scars of being roasted with words.” Pan’s best memory was during a crossfire—when speakers talk directly to each other—with student Abbey Veit. He trapped her in a question so difficult that she threw her pencil against the table due to frustration.
Pan also explains there needs to be a lot of preparation prior to each debate. One needs to be ready for any question the opponent asks; thus, a debater needs to master their topic so they can prove their point and prove against the opponents’ points.
The different types of debates include: Public forum, Lincoln-Douglass, and Congress. Public forum is where there are two people on each team. Lincoln-Douglass is only between two people, and Congress is between several people who try to convince one another to pass their amendment(s).
Pan believes the program will continue to grow. This is only the second year the debate team has been around at Apex High School, and membership has increased. Being on the debate team takes a lot of practice and patience and is definitely for anyone who likes to either speak publicly or voice their opinions. Student Matt Dershowitz brought a trophy home last year for Impromptu—where one only has three minutes to plan their speech—and got his name on national rankings. The class, Advanced Research and Forensics, is in Pod M second period. Pan’s advice for anyone interested in taking the class is to do a lot of preparation before each competition. “One debate, I wrote it on the way there, and it ended up sucking really bad. Also, speak with confidence because you never want the opponent to know they are getting to you.”