The Perkins debate team met last Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether or not enhanced interrogation techniques are effective and should be allowed for use with enemy combatants. Each week the group is given four or five resolutions to choose from, and then debates the favored topic among the group members. This week they choose interrogation techniques out of the following topics: Homework should be banned, Donald Trump is the best candidate for President, and a college education should be free for all Americans who want one. It was, after all, Super Tuesday, so the political flavor made sense.
Each week the group presents both sides of an argument. There are two people on each side – pro and con – and the arguments are made based on a two minute time frame. The opening speaker on the pro side presents the topic and his/her position and then backs it up with two or three points. The opposing team does the same. The second speaker on each side is the rebuttal speaker. “Our goal is to get good enough to debate in front of a larger audience,” Assistant Executive Director of Programs Tim Hammond said. “Regardless of whether or not that happens, the skills the students are learning are important. Public speaking successfully is always a plus.”
The winning team is chosen based on the value of what they say about their position, their speaking style, their passion and their organization. The winning team, in this case, was opposed to waterboarding. The argument was won based on the passion of the final rebuttal speaker. “Although both sides made excellent points, the passion that came at the end was hard to beat,” Tim said. “The use of the phrase have we not evolved over and over in her impassioned plea to the audience swayed me.”
Last week the team debated if motorists should be allowed to use hand-held devices while driving. Again, the team against hand-held devices while driving reigned victorious due to the passion the final rebuttal speaker presented in his case. The acting out of a crash in this particular scenario also proved effective. The Perkins debate team meets once a week for an hour and is open to all residential students.