The St. Michael-Albertville High School Debate Team kicked off the competitive schedule with big wins at two invitational tournaments in November.
On November 8, the team competed at the Minneapple Tournament at Apple Valley, Minnesota. The Minneapple is one of the largest debate tournaments in the mid-west consisting of teams from over 20 states and 70 schools from some of the most renowned academic high schools in the United States.
The Public Forum two-person debate team of Brianna Goodchild and Michael Wettschreck won the Novice division while the two-person debate Public Forum team of Alyson Astleford and Anastasia Pohl reached the semi-finals in the same division. STMA’s other two-person debate team of Sam Amos and Meghan Florip also competed.
STMA’s Debate team started competing in 2013 and includes 13 students in grades 9-12. Public Forum debate requires competitors to address an important public policy issue for over thirty minutes while utilizing evidence to support their arguments and working as a two-person team. Competitors must be simultaneously prepared to speak for or against the tournament topic.
“The Minneapple is a very competitive tournament. Our teams went up against preparatory academies and schools from as far away as New York and Florida,” first-year STMA Debate Coach Doug Birk said. “Having two of our Public Forum teams reach the semi-finals in this type of tournament at this stage of our program was a real accomplishment.”
The STMA Debate Team also traveled to the Forest Lake Debate Invitational on November 15 and competed against a field of over 10 schools throughout Minnesota. Again, the Public Forum two-person debate team of Briana Goodchild and Michael Wettschreck finished first in the Novice Class A division. Goodchild also received third place individual speaking honors.
Other STMA competitors included Alyson Astleford, Anastasia Pohl, Lillian Roberts, and Carylnne Folkestad in two-person Public Forum, Allison Birk in one-person Lincoln-Douglas, and Payton Anderson in Student Congress.
Student Congress imitates a model session of the legislature and requires students to advocate for various public policy positions and win support from their peers. Lincoln-Douglas is 1:1 debate focusing on values and ethics. This year’s Lincoln-Douglas topic focuses on the right to be forgotten on the internet.
“The entire team did really well these last two weeks. Debate is a tough activity which requires a lot of commitment and courage. It’s not easy for a young student to stand up and make strong arguments about complicated public issues in front of
strangers,” Birk said. “Each of these competitors worked hard to prepare for these
tournaments. I’m excited about the future of this program.”