Fargo North Debate finishes season strong

Sienna Voglewede, Ad Editor

The Fargo North Forensics team just finished their winter season (and second out of three) with national qualifiers and the state debate tournament that took place at the Ramada Inn & Suites and Fargo Davies respectively January 31 through February 2.
Debate in North Dakota is characterized by two main debate styles: Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum. Each differs in speech format, case development, and the amount of competitors but the goal of both is the same: convincing the judge of your side being more worthwhile of a vote than your opponent’s.
Lincoln-Douglas (LD) is a single person style of debate that places emphasis on values and philosophy. “Our LD team is small but mighty,” said a junior LD debater Tasha Branden. The clash between values alongside criterion and evidence that support a debater’s chosen value are essential for productive and dynamic debates in this style. Logical analysis is key.
On the other hand, Public Forum (PF) is about current events and involves a team of two people. With this season’s PF topics, up-to-date evidence as well as a comprehensive knowledge base in economics proved to be vital. “Although partners have been switched around, PF debate is going strong and there is a great sense of camaraderie and family,” said junior Erica Flores. Because of other activities often causing conflict, PF debaters have to maintain flexibility to work with whoever is necessary.
Before state, several teams and individuals from the debate team competed in the national qualifying tournament which allows debaters the chance at going to The National Speech & Debate Tournament. This year the tournament will take place in Dallas, Tex. from June 16 to the 21. Martha Denton and Erica Flores, PF partners who are captains, showed tenacity through a grueling day of rounds and qualified for the national conference. Only two teams or individuals from North Dakota can qualify for the respective styles along with a couple alternates each. Denton said, “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to compete with some of the top debaters in the country. I can’t imagine a better way to end my debate career at FNH.”
Fargo North also had a strong showing overall at the North Dakota State Debate Tournament even with many debaters missing due to other conflicts. The two day tournament involved four preliminary rounds as well as quarters, semis, and finals. Senior captain Kristie Qiu won state by placing first in varsity LD. Junior Cindy Wang and freshman Anika Arifin made it to quarter finals in their respective divisions of LD. Philip Dowdell, a junior and first year debater, placed first in novice LD. Senior Sienna Voglewede and junior Teegan Nordstrom made it to the semi-finals in varsity PF. Freshmen Aarya Panwalker and Erika Spanjer made it to the semis in junior-varsity PF. And last but not least, superior speaker awards went out to Abbey Rudd, Laura Simmons, Erica Flores, and Martha Denton.
The end of the debate season usually means a substantially lighter workload for participants and more sleep (unless they continue onto speech that is). “Debate is a very large time commitment but I think I have learned a lot that will help me in the future,” sophomore and first-year debater Laura Simmons said. Public speaking, time management, argumentation, and enhanced writing skills are all likely improvements of being in debate, but a person will get out what they put in. Debate and the other forensic activities don’t get a lot of attention, but they certainly mean a lot to those who are in them.