Junior High Debaters Take on High School Opponents

Fairmont Historic Anaheim Campus junior high students Jake Palmer and Kyle Kishimoto are making a splash in student debate circles across the nation. This two-member team competes in the public forum category of national high school level debate tournaments. Despite their opponents having more experience, Jake and Kyle often come home with awards, top rankings, and accolades. They thrive in these rigorous two-to-three day competitions where every word makes a difference in an argument, rebuttal, and summary. The opportunity to compete at the high school level came from advancing in middle school competitions that led to invitations to upper-grade tournaments.

Jake and Kyle devote at least two hours a day researching and developing arguments for upcoming events. The National Speech & Debate Association sends a debate topic each month to high school teams. The topic will be the focus of upcoming tournaments. In April, the topic for debate is determining whether committing United States ground combat troops to fight ISIS is in the best interest of the United States.

How Their Interest In Debate Began

After attending a summer debate camp, Kyle added a new activity to his growing list of interests that include physics, math, science, piano, and basketball. He discovered how his strength in science and math also works well in the arena of debate.

“It’s exciting when you uncover the evidence that is necessary to build a strong argument,” said Kyle. “Through debate, I quickly appreciated how the mathematical and scientific approaches to problem-solving work just as well in addressing political and social issues.”

Jake’s interest in debate came from watching his older brother Nick compete in tournaments. By engaging in debates, Jake discovered how his confidence grew after the many instances of “thinking on his feet.” Besides debate, Jake also participates in soccer, football, yearbook, pentathlon, and ASB.

“Debate competitions enable you to see how verifiable numbers and facts outweigh emotional appeals,” said Jake. “Whether it’s responding to an opponent’s argument or explaining data to a debate judge, the answer is only as good as the research you have conducted.”

Fairmont congratulates its junior high and high school debate teams as they achieve impressive scores in tournaments regionally and nationwide.

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