DOBSON — The number of students involved in the second annual Surry County Schools district debate tournament has increased, according to school officials. The tournament was held at Dobson First Baptist Church Thursday with four middle school teams verbally sparring in a variety of events.
“Some of our debaters are returning this year,” commented Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Jill Reinhardt. “We’ve had an increase in participants this year (45 students ) over last year and we’re proud to be able to offer more students this opportunity to learn. We have been able to grow this program.”
In an early morning judges training meeting, spokesperson Arysta Brick explained procedures and standards to some of the 28 volunteer judges for this year’s tournament. The middle school teams in the debate this year were from Central Middle, Pilot Mountain, Gentry and Meadowview.
“I think they (students) know what to expect this year,” said Brick. She explained to judges how a coin toss would be used to determine if a team would argue for or against a topic. Judges were told they would grade debates on a 20- to 30-point scale with 30 points being the highest score given. The debate categories for this year’s tournament included congressional policy debate on proposed legislation.
Legislation proposals students argued included bills to allow teachers to have a concealed weapon and carry a weapon on school property to enhance school safety and to ban the sale of assault weapons in the state. The two other bills debated in congressional format with representatives voting on the measures were a ban on assault weapons to decrease gun violence in the United States and a bill requiring K-12 students to wear school uniforms.
This year the competition also included a pair debate resolution format that would argue social networking websites have a positive impact on the nation. Individual debate competition was set to argue secondary education in America should value the fine arts over athletics.
“I’m very proud of you and and you’re work,” Reinhardt told the participants as she welcomed them Thursday morning. “Jennifer Scott helped give birth to this event last year and has helped me with the debate as we transition our roles.”
Scott appeared excited about the upcoming debates when interviewed earlier Thursday morning. “The level of competition last year was excellent,” said Scott. “The numbers of students have increased this year, and we expect the competition to be greater. The students’ research skills have improved and that will help them. They take this very seriously.” She said students had three weeks to prepare arguments for the debates.
Winners and recognitions announced by the judges are:
•Presiding officer: Cassidy Willard of Meadowview Middle School
•Winner: Caroline Willard of Pilot Mountain Middle
•Runner-up: Blake Flinchum of Central Middle School
Public Forum debate:
•Winner: Kaylie Jessup and Cameron Sloop of Pilot Mountain Middle School
•Runner-up: Hannah Button and Anna Beth Flippin of Gentry Middle School
Lincoln-Douglas (Individual debate):
•Winner: Haley Keck of Gentry Middle
•Runner-up: Sarah Wyble of Central Middle
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.