Junior debater to compete in South Africa

By Mariel Brunman

Elle Wilson ’13 will travel to Cape Town, South Africa for 10 days in January to represent Team USA and compete in the World Championships of Debate.

“It is such an amazing opportunity to be able to go to a competition like this,” Wilson said. “I am so excited to meet all of the other debaters from other countries, and to visit South Africa, which seems like an incredible place.”

It took Wilson several years to get to the level she competes at today.

In seventh grade, Wilson competed on the middle school debate team and, in eighth grade, she competed in the middle school national debate competition. At the event, spokesmen for the U.S. National Debate Team were giving out information and recruiting members.

In 10th grade, Wilson joined Team USA as a member of the Development Program, a program to acclimate debaters to the intensity of international competition.

Her first international tournament was in New Zealand.

This summer Wilson auditioned for the World Championships debate team.

After the preliminary auditions, finalists were asked to re-audition for the team and were notified later in the summer if they had received a spot.

A third round of auditions took place to select the team that would represent the United States in South Africa.

Members practice face-to-face throughout the year at workshops held for members on all levels of Team USA. However, as debaters from Team USA live across the country, preparation for tournaments takes place via email, phone or Skype.

Half of the topics that will be debated at the championships will be announced a month in advance, while the second half of the debates topics are and announced immediately before each the round.

“I haven’t been to a competition of this level before, so I am a little nervous to see what it will be like,” Wilson said. “There will be so many incredible debaters in South Africa this year, but it is also very exciting to have the opportunity to compete against them.”