Glen Rock Policy Debate team hosts varsity tournament


by Naomi Bashan, Opinion Editor

    It’s certainly been a good season for the GRHS Varsity policy debate team.With two third-place wins and one second place win, the team was determined to keep their strong standing during the Jan. 13 tournament. For senior captains Kate Weyant, Olivia Pugliese, Mikayla Kim, and Jamie Luo, this was their last time hosting a debate tournament at Glen Rock. 

They’re bringing their dedication and energy to the plate! I have faith in them as debaters and judges to represent our school well. It’s a lot of work putting everything together, but it’s certainly a collaborative effort,” noted advisor Ms. Hathaway.

Students from Pascack Hills, Frisch, Pascack Valley, Ramapo, Indian Hills, Northern Highlands, Ramsey, and Paramus made their way to GRHS for four rounds of intense varsity debate. This year’s debate prompt, known as a resolve, was especially challenging, addressing the topic of whether the United States should increase security cooperation with NATO in areas of cybersecurity and biotechnology. 

This may have been their last time hosting a tournament, but efforts made by the debate team certainly paid off with Captains Weyant and Pugliese winning first place out of 20 teams with a 4-0 record. Out of 40 participants, Weyant won overall First place speaker!  

Policy debate is a two-versus-two debate where one team argues for a policy change while the other team argues against the proposal. This form of debate focuses on the organization of the argument and the quality of evidence. Students can either take the role of a judge, or the role of a debater. Judges assess which team of debaters wins the round.

Glen Rock’s policy debate team is especially close-knit, with varsity members serving as mentors for JV participants. Throughout the year, students work together to develop their debate skills.

“Each varsity member knows what it’s like to feel intimidated by debate at first, so they do an excellent job at supporting and helping their JV mentees. It’s very much a feeling of ‘we’re in this together.’” Hathaway.

GR students witnessed debates first-hand, with teachers graciously offering up their classrooms for the debate. As opposed to having general instruction, students were able to experience the tension of a debate.

“This tournament wouldn’t be possible without the generous teachers and supervisors that volunteer their classes as space for debates to occur in. We realize the value of even one period of instruction, so their contribution is highly valued and immensely appreciated,” stated Hathaway.