No Debating It: GRHS Debate Team Aims for First Prize

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Hoisting their individual first place award in last year’s Northern New Jersey Debate League, Dan Stein and Neil Sarna display the October 2011 prize. This year, GRHS debaters aim even higher and hope to take hope first place.

by Daniel Stein, Editor-in-Chief

President John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, and Adam Sandler. What do a politician, Noble Peace Prize recipient, and comedic actor have in common? Surpisingly, they were all participants in their high school or college debate teams. After achieving third place in the Northern New Jersey Debate League last year, the Glen Rock High School Debate Team is stronger than ever and is aiming to acquire the first place award this year. Besides the glory and prestige that accompanies debate victories, there is an abundance of skills that one develops while debating at the high school level.

Debate encourages people to distinguish and appreciate both sides of an argument. Even if one’s personal views conflict with the debate topic, s/he learns to set aside his or her individual beliefs and argue on behalf of the delegated position. Jason Kwon, a varsity debater, remarked that “the truth is irreverent in the pursuit of finding a resolution.” Experts contend high school debate promotes the development of a more understanding person and one that will be open to new ideas in the future.

Public speaking is seen as a necessity for almost any career path. Whether one desires to become a teacher, business executive, or medical personnel, speaking to an audience is a fundamental aspect in one’s future career. The top universities recognize this and consistently seek students that demonstrate prowess in public speaking. Even in college, public speaking employs an imperative role in determining one’s academic achievement at the college level.

Meagan Wansong, a former graduate of Glen Rock High School and retired debate captain, commented that debate at the high school level contributed to her accomplishments in college. “At New York University, nearly all of my classes are discussion based and the majority of our grade is based off of our contribution to these discussions. Glen Rock High School Debate Team helped me learn how to articulate points that I have to form on the spot and convey my opinion. Debate also empowered me with the confidence to speak up and genuinely want to be heard,” Wansong stated.

With nearly endless academic and professional benefits, the debate team is currently recruiting all underclassmen interested in becoming a debater or judge. Please see Mr. Ecochard or Ms. Maasarani if you are interested in joining.