Taking lessons from the ancient Greeks, students from the Vicenza Middle School verbally battled in a speech and debate competition May 13. The extracurricular activity has taken off in the last few years, nearly doubling in participation every year.
"These kids come in during lunch, after school, just to learn and get a chance to practice," said Angela Wilson, speech and debate coach.
Nearly 50 youths from each grade participated in the individual, team and humorous interpretation categories. Before heading into the round the students were told the topics they would be debating. They were then given five minutes to prepare their three main points in support of their positions.
AFF or affirmative side went first, showing their support of the topic within a minute and half. Then the NEG or negative side got a chance to question them on their statement for a minute before they had a minute to refute the original statement for a minute.
The NEG side then had a minute and half to highlight their three points of rebuttal before the sides were switched, giving the AFF side a chance to argue its points. Both sides finished with a one-minute conclusion. Additionally both teams are given two minutes to prepare between rounds.
Topics the youths were given to debate about included whether gum should be allowed at VMS, cell phone usage and uniforms. At the end of the rounds, certificates were given to all participants and the highest scorers moved on to the finals.
"The skills learned from speech and debate will be invaluable in each student's future," said Wilson.
The overall winners, taking first place in their event were: Abigail Matheson and Kaely Wilson in team debate; Kiki Sibilla in individual debate; and Alex May in humorous interpretation.
Other finalists in team debate were Keyshawn Nunley, Zach Borja, Kyla Hinton, Emily Pena, Alex Decaro and Shakil Hossain. Finalists in individual debate were Hakeem Smilth, Dylan McDonald and Victoria Jackson.
Finalists in humorous interpretation were Tara Padilla, Virginia Pardew and Katelyn Profitt.