Debate team looks to continue success
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 18:09
After winning its second state championship in three years, the Parkland speech team hopes to continue their winning ways into the fall semester.
“Our team thrives on desire; speech and debate is all about individual effort,” said Head Coach Brian Cafarelli. “That’s exactly what our students have, I’m proud of them.”
Sophomores Jason Gordon and Muhammad Manasara come into the new semester looking to defend their title.
The two students won the state title for Parliamentary Debate in the two year college division as freshmen during the spring semester this year. This was the second time in three years Parkland’s Speech team won in that category.
“The whole experience was awesome,” Gordon said. “It was very exciting in the last match to know we were either going to be second or first in state.”
Parliamentary debate, Gordon and Manasara’s category, consists of two teams debating over socially relevant issues, hypothetical policy, or value.
Three topics are given during one preliminary round and one elimination round. Each team is given 15 minutes to prepare, and eight minutes to argue back and forth.
Regarding parliamentary debate, Cafarelli had this to say, “I call it common knowledge debate. It’s like a game of tag.”
State wasn’t the only tournament in which Parkland showed dominance in debate last semester. Prior to the state championship, Parkland’s speech team competed in the Tournament of the Walking Dead, a competition in Ohio for four-year universities.
There, Gordon and Manasara took first place in every match they had.
“It was funny because when the announcers stated Parkland won, these big colleges were like ‘Huh? Who’s that?’” Gordon commented. “It felt great to represent Parkland like that.”
Gordon is no rookie when it comes to competing in speech events. At Heyworth High School, an Illinois school famous for their dominant speech team, Gordon took the stage and competed on the team for four years, making it to state in his senior year.
“I like to speak in front of people, and I love to be right,” Gordon said with a chuckle. “It’s great experience and its fun to travel around to tournaments, as well.”
In addition to parliamentary debate, Parkland’s speech team competes in events such as: impromptu speaking, informative speaking, prose interpretation, dramatic duo, extemporaneous speaking, persuasive speaking, oral interpretation, after dinner speaking, communication analysis, drama interpretation and poetry interpretation.
“We call our sport competition of the mind,” Cafarelli said. “Speech offers a unique equal playing field. It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or girl, black or white. There is no discrimination for the players.”
Cafarelli has been involved with speech most of his life. At Eastern New Mexico University, while in grad school, he coached his college team to a national title.
“I love to compete in debate and speech, coaching is my favorite though,” Cafarelli said. “I think Parkland will get a big one in the near future.”
Upcoming tournaments for the team include a tournament on September 7-8 at Butler University, with four more scheduled during the fall semester.
Since the season still hasn’t started, Cafarelli explained that the team is still in recruiting stage, seeking out new students to further strengthen their team’s ability.
“The benefits are tremendous,” Gordon commented. “It is great on resumes to show that you have experience in public speaking.”
After hearing about the recent success of the team, freshman Ryan Wright is considering the benefits of this competition of the mind, and of enhancing his ability to speak publicly.
“I’m terrified of public speaking, but I would love to be able to have an edge on people when competing for jobs,” Wright said.
In addition to resume building, benefits of being on the speech team include college credit, travel opportunities, scholarship opportunities and cultural and social activism.