Northside Debate Takes On State
By Karina Rodriguez
When it comes to springtime, many students immediately think of all the different spring sports that Northside has to offer, such as Women’s soccer or lacrosse. The Debate Team, however, is often overlooked. There are three different levels that make up the debate team: Novice, JV, and Varsity. However, the levels are not structured like traditional sports teams: placement is based on experience rather than skill level. The Debate Team is coached by Mr. Adam Hausman, English department; Mr. Robert Berry, English department; and Mr. Wayne Tang, a lawyer who volunteers in his free time.
Northside debaters compete in several tournaments over the course of their season. On March 14, the team competed in the Illinois High School Association, which is one of their most competitive tournaments of the season. The team spends colloquiums practicing rounds, talking over team strategies, and doing research on this year’s topic: immigration. The official prompt reads, “The United States federal government should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration to the United States.” During an actual debate, there are two sides called the affirmative and negative. The affirmative’s objective is to argue in support of the resolution and advocate for a specific policy. On the other hand, the negative must argue against the resolution. Each round alternates between affirmative and negative, and as a result, teams must be prepared to argue for either side. Whichever team persuades the judge that their stance is the most beneficial is crowned the winner of the debate. Northside’s team does policy debate where they compete in teams of two called partnerships. These partnerships usually stay the same throughout the entirety of their high school debate careers.
Samir Rahaman, Adv. 108, competed in the Novice/Junior Varsity States. In JV, one Northside team made it to finals and Rahaman said that in novice, “two teams broke but lost in octas.” Julia Torres, Adv. 103, competes on junior varsity and attended JV States. Torres said that one JV team “made preliminary rounds and made it all the way to the finals.” Torres added, “we did well collectively as a team since Illinois is one of the most competitive policy debate states in the country.” Kathy Martinez, Adv. 910, competed in the state championships for varsity and said, “It was a decent tournament overall but we fell a little short and didn't end where we wanted to. To be fair, it's one of our most competitive tournaments of the year so, with that in mind, I think we did pretty well.”
The season is almost over, but there are still a handful of upcoming events for the team. Torres said she is looking forward to “summer debate camp with friends and debating next year.” Matthew Sung, Adv. 105, is looking forward to attending the Tournament of Champions in Kentucky. Torres said, “[debate is] like another class. It’s a lot of work but very rewarding. If you like talking and arguing I would recommend trying it out next year. It's a lot of fun and you meet great people from all over the city and state.”