Debaters win top speaker awards at Glenbrooks tournament

Ethan Lachman

Four members of the debate team won top speaker awards at the Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament hosted by Glenbrooks High School in Chicago from Nov. 23 to 25. Debater Olivia Feldman ’22 said she felt the squad was successful in presenting convincing arguments regarding the elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels at the Lincoln-Douglas style tournament.

Debaters earn individual awards at tournament

In the competition, Samantha McLoughlin ’21 and Chronicle Broadcast Director Alexandra Mork ’20 placed in the top eight, Presentations Editor Spencer Klink ’20 in the top 16 and Andrew Gong ’21 in the top 32. In addition to these achievements, Mork placed as the fifth speaker, Klink as the eighth, Gong as the 10th and McLoughlin as the 18th.

Gong said that besides participating in two-hour team practices every week, debaters were required to conduct individual research on each topic, prewrite their arguments and rebuttals and practice their speeches. He also said that the Glenbrooks tournament provided him with the opportunity to learn from his mistakes in order to improve his oratory skills.

“It sounds cliché, but every mistake you make is truly a learning experience, and I think that applies to debate more than many other activities,” Gong said. “Whenever I lose a debate round, I make sure the ask the judges for detailed feedback and try to improve myself so that I can avoid those losses in the future. Every loss I had this tournament made me a better debater, and these experiences will help me a lot in the future.”

Debate team looks forward to future competitions

Similarly to Gong, Mork said she found that the tournament was useful as preparation for the team’s long road of competitions ahead, especially the Tournament of Champions in the spring.

“All of the best debaters in the country are [at the Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament],” Mork said. “It’s a good experience because it allows our team to learn to adapt to different styles of argumentation and judging that we don’t usually encounter when we attend tournaments on the West Coast.”

Although he wishes he performed better, Gong said that the experience was worthwhile due to the time he spent with his teammates.

“The debate team is not only a group of teammates competing alongside one other but also a really close-knit friend group,” Gong said. “My favorite memory from these tournaments is almost never the debates themselves but the fun moments we spend together in the downtime between rounds.”