Debate team looks forward to tournament

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BayLeaf Wilson practices for debate tournament.

Charles Reed, Staff Writer

The Los Medanos College Debate Team is headed to their next tournament set to be held Thursday, March 12 through Sunday, March 15 in Fresno Calif. The tournament, called the California Community College Forensic Association State Championship, is an annual event that the team often participates in.

The debate team has been winning awards since 2011, the very first year that they were created. When they first established themselves as an official team, they followed a debate style known as the National Parliamentary Debate Association style.

From that style, they  moved into a British Parliamentary Debate style over time. However in 2019, the debate team switched over to a style known worldwide as Individual Parliamentary Debate. 

The new co-director of the team, Marie Arcidiacono Kaufman, leads the award winning team with assistant instructor Star Streers. Kaufman commented on the policy for those interested in joining the team, stating that in order “to join the team proper, we have an open arms policy.”

Kaufman describes the process to choose the students that compete in the tournaments explaining the students during class are evaluated by herself and Star and sometimes guest speakers to see who shows the greatest strengths in that certain debate style and then makes their choices. 

“Having the ability to think on your feet and be able to think critically through something, especially if you don’t agree with the topic, is going to serve you well in any field you go into and then life in general,” said Kaufman to inspire potential students interested in debate about joining the team. 

 Steers comments that the group of students she’s taking with her to the upcoming tournament is split into three veteran debaters and three novice debaters.

One of the students in the debate class that helps his peers practice is Christian Ortiz. The prompt that he has been practicing in class with states ‘it is just to deny refugees asylum in the interest of public safety.’ But during an actual competition, those participating won’t know what position they are on, affirmative or negative, before the debate begins.

“I’m excited and anxious for [this], it is my first time debating outside the classroom,” said Ortiz.

Students who are interested in public speaking or debating should consider looking into the class as some would describe the joy from it to be addictive.

“I’ve been debating for a long time and I love public speaking,” said debate student Gadai Bulgac. “It’s almost to an addiction level.”

Bulgac will be attending the upcoming tournament in Fresno and a later one in Albuquerque. 

 “[I’m] really nervous and excited for the Fresno tournament,” said BayLeaf Wilson, a novice debate student attending the tournament.“The best thing about debate is it also cultivates a language or vernacular for a better day to day life.” 

For more information about the Debate Team or any of their upcoming events, please email Marie Arcidiacono-Kaufman at marcidiacono@losmedanos.edu.