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Georgia hears strength of Bob Jones Debate Team

In their first tournament of the year, Bob Jones High School Debate Team recently proved their verbal skills at the Peach State Classic in Carrollton, Ga.

“For most team members, it was their first tournament ever,” sponsor Kristen Bergeson said. She teaches English 9 and freshman composition at Bob Jones. “We were very pleased with our success at the tournament and know that, with more experience, we will only get better.”

Bob Jones competed in the novice category against 33 teams from 14 schools on Nov. 17.

“We compete in the public forum style of debate, which involves teams of two debating a topic, or resolution, that is pre-selected by the National Forensic League,” Bergeson said. November’s resolution was “Current U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East undermines national security.”

Immediately before their debate, teams learn if they will argue for or against the resolution. “They have to prepare cases for both sides,” Bergeson said. “This requires an incredible amount of research, not to mention the open-mindedness and critical-thinking skills needed to create arguments that students may disagree with personally.”

Bob Jones teams included junior Mugdha Mokashi and senior Chauncey Scales, winning three of five rounds; juniors Morgan Price and Rahul Gaini, also winning three; and freshmen Bradley Jones and Sammy Shin, who won one.

“These students showed that the Bob Jones … a force to be reckoned with,” principal Robby Parker said. Although they didn’t receive a ranking, “Bob Jones had a praiseworthy showing during the preliminary rounds,” Bergeson said.

Bob Jones and James Clemens High School debate teams plan a mock debate on Jan. 8. The topic will be “On balance, the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission harms the election process.”

“We … can work with our fellow debaters in Madison for valuable practice before Samford University’s High School Debate Tournament on Jan. 11-12,” she said.

“Debate tends to attract highly intelligent, very involved students. They ‘wow’ me on a daily basis,” Bergeson said.

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