New debate teacher encourages students to participate in and out of debate classroom

Students participate in debate class and debate team to expand worldview and critical skills


By Victoria Wright

Sitting in front of the class, debate coach Ann Goodson instructs her students during debate camp on Monday, July 24.

Alison Booth and Elizabeth Joseph

While formulating an argument is a part of students’ everyday lives, the debate team takes analyzing controversial claims to the next level.

According to new debate coach Annie Goodson, recreational debate is an opportunity unique to high school students.

By Victoria Wright
During debate camp on Monday, July 24, debate coach Ann Goodson discusses topics with students.

“[Debate is] something really cool that you only have a limited window to do,” Goodson said. “It makes you think better, it makes you think faster, it makes you more comfortable speaking and sharing your opinion.”

Although Goodson recommends that students take the class to participate in tournaments, she is willing to let other students take part in class activities.

“If you’re motivated and you can’t take the class, I’m open to finding a way in,” Goodson said. “If somebody wants to debate, I will let you debate.”

Senior Allison Winker has been on the debate team since her freshman year and said she has benefitted from the experience.

“You will develop skills that not a lot of people have, like public speaking, being more knowledgeable about the world and thinking on the spot,” Winker said.

On the other hand, sophomore Noah Hookstra is excited to undergo his first year on the team.

“It’s a great idea to have mental sparring partners and just expose yourself to other people’s ideas,” Hookstra said.

Along with time spent practicing in class, Goodson expects students to put in work outside of school as well.

“We do a lot of work nights and we do practice debates once a week,” Goodson said. “You can stay after school three days a week and that’s really helpful to get newer competitors to interact with older competitors.”

Ultimately, Winker encourages new students to put themselves out there and join the program.

“Once you get the hang of it, it’s so much fun,” Winker said. “It’s such a good skill to be able to speak in front of people and to understand current problems that are happening in our country and the world.”

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