The Debate Team Participates in Clemson Tournament

Christ Church Upper School is very privileged to have a large variety of clubs and organizations that students can participate in. They range from language clubs to the Thespian Society to Model UN, just to name a few. One of the clubs that is not as well known is Speech and Debate.

On Saturday, November 16, ten students from this team arrived at school at 6:15 in the morning to travel to a tournament hosted by Clemson University. The day consisted of five rounds where students competed against each other and were judged and scored based on their performance and skill. Before the awards were presented, students from all over the state and even other states were given a demonstration of a British Parliamentary style of debate that will be featured in many upcoming tournaments in the next year. Junior Michael Stone commented, “It was an interesting form of debate that was exciting to be a part of, and I can’t wait to start next year!” The day ended well with the team of seniors Caroline Andrews and Jim Pennell finishing in 6th place in the Public Forum category.

Speech and Debate is part of the National Forensics League, the second largest debate group for middle and secondary school students. The league aims to, “to help [students] become effective communicators, critical thinkers and engaged, ethical members of our democratic society” ( Through this league, students are able to improve their public speaking skills while becoming more knowledgeable about important current issues.

The Speech and Debate team at Christ Church meets every Tuesday and Wednesday morning to discuss tournaments, research topics, and practice their skills. There are many different types of speech and debate competition. The most popular for Christ Church students are Public Forum style debate, children’s literature, Lincoln-Douglas debate, SPAR debate, impromptu, and humorous interpretation.

Speech and Debate is a very beneficial opportunity for high school students. It allows them to improve their public speaking, learn new skills, become more knowledgeable, and form opinions on important issues that we are faced with today. Even with all the additional skills that are gained from speech and debate, it is also just a fun experience with benefits that cannot be replaced by anything else. “Debate is a fantastic way for us students to hone our debate skills and provide us with techniques to win any argument and back it up with evidence. Not only is debate helpful, but it is also a way to allow debaters to explore their beliefs and ideas in a realistic and competitive fashion,” Sam Erwin, a Christ Church junior commented. Though the Christ Church team is smaller than most schools, it is continuing to grow and improve. The next tournament will be next semester, and the team will continue to compete in many tournaments throughout the year.