For senior co-captain Sonya Hu, debate tournaments mean sleepless nights with only three to four hours of sleep. Describing debate as not crazy but strenuous, Hu explains tournaments are every one to two weeks and as Public Forum Debater, she has to prepare for a new topic each month.
“Whenever I compete in Congress, I have to write five to 10 speeches during the week, and IX requires me to keep up to date on the major events occurring in every single country around the world,” Hu said. “The other debate and speech events have similar workloads and requirements.”
The debate team has had a successful season for the 2017-18 year. They placed third for sweepstakes Oct. 20-21 against Parkway West, fourth in novice sweepstakes and fifth in overall against Clayton and Ladue High School Nov. 17-18. They brought home a first place win against Mexico High School Dec. 1-2 and placed third in the Randy Pierce Winter Classic on Dec. 8-9.
“So far [RBHS] has done really well this season,” senior co-captain Joshua Vincent said. “There have been a couple of tournaments where we didn’t do as well as we would have liked, but overall we have seen a large increase in the number of people participating in debate, as well as dedicated members who do extremely well at tournaments.”
The team faces another opponent this weekend against Marquette High School. This will be their last tournament and judge feedback before NSDA Congress Districts, which will take place five days later Feb. 24.
In order to prepare, senior co-captain Sonya Hu said the debate teams holds practice rounds with either a coach, captain or chair acting as a judge to give criticism and feedback.
“We have workshops for as many members as possible,” Hu said. “Outside of that, preparation is largely self-guided and varies by event.”
Although some aspects of debate are self guided, Vincent is happy to see the team growing.
“Debate this year has been an exciting experience that has grown and, at the same time, has done better than it has in the years that I’ve been on the debate team,” Vincent said.