So Much Pun: Debate Win!

The Viking Speech and Debate team has begun with a bang (of the gavel). At the first tournament that Orcas Island High School’s newly christened debate team competed at, they took home two trophies.

Image Credit: Maggie Paige

Emma Heikkinen with trophy / Image Credit: Maggie Paige

The club travelled to Snohomish High School on November 14th and 15th, to compete in the invitational tournament there. The results are promising for the continued success of the club. Gunnar Sandwith and Devon Mann won 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate category, while participants Maggie Paige, Emma Heikkinen and Anneke Fleming presented speeches they had prepared.

The topic of debate (which changes every few months) was the right to be forgotten: a law enacted in the European Union, allowing the deletion of information that is inadequate, irrelevant, inacurrate or excessive from internet searches. The participants had to argue both sides of the case successfully in order to move forward in the tournament. Devon Mann and Gunnar Sandwith moved on to the semi-finals and eventually placed.

“I was in third and it frickity frackiry rules,” stated Devon Mann, with excitement. After six grueling matches, Mann took third place in her first debate tournament. The excitement and nerves of a first match can dissolve considerably by the sixth, but Devon contested her opponents enthusiastically until the very end.

Gunnar Sandwith took second place, facing each opponent with more composure each time. When faced with the same opponent twice, Sandwith held his ground and won his right to second place.


Contributed Photo

On the December 6th the club went to their second tournament, and placed yet again. Emma Heikkinen won third place in the Novice Oratory section. “Unlike Devon Mann, who stated that it ‘frickity frackiry rules’, I would like to say that it definitely rules!” stated Heikkinen when asked about her placement. The enthusiasm of the club members is commendable and their overall success is great for such a young club.

“I don’t think most people have an understanding of how intense and difficult debate is,” says club member Anneke Fleming, “I know I didn’t.” Opponents have to prepare extensive arguments on topics that are difficult to comprehend, such as immigration or minimum wage. Something that every debater has to come to terms with, is that they must argue against their own beliefs or ethics at times in order to win. When debating, one could always be asked to argue a different side than they agree with.

The opponents present their prepared arguments at extremely fast speeds, in order to get in all of their arguments and hopefully to include their opponent. However, sometimes the speed trips up the presenter instead. Following the speeches are multiple cross-examinations and rebuttles, hopefully concluding with a clear winning argument.

The coaches, Ian Lister and Joan Pedrick, and the club advisor, Nancy Wrightsman, have expressed great pride in the young members, and all of their hard work. Like the rest of us, they have high hopes for the future of the club.