Diving Into Debate: Club Spotlight

By Jaya Kolluri and Camille Eckert

Since 1895, Speech and Debate has been one of the most well known and successful Winsor clubs. In this Banner issue, we want to spotlight the Speech and Debate Club, led by Raina Sohur ‘23, Grace Destefano ’24, and Yuyuan Huang ’24, and advised by Ms. Berg. Speech and Debate is one of Winsor’s high-commitment clubs where members spend two-to-three hours per week practicing their skills. In the lunch and weekend meetings, debaters practice techniques to structure their arguments and refine their public speaking.

Reflecting on the beginning few weeks, the captains mention that the best part of the new year has been being able to debate in person again, as these meetings give a different energy: “It can be stale to be on camera, but, when you’re in the same room, there is this exciting tension and feeling,” said Sohur. 

Looking to the future, the Club’s goals are to create a consistent tournament schedule and to have every student leave a debate “feeling confident in themselves and comfortable with the skills they learned.” Getting new members is always a difficult task, as incoming students are introduced to many clubs during the club fair. In order to get and retain new members, the club heads want to “emphasize the skills debate could give each student,” since, at “every point in a student’s life, they have needed debate skills.” 

On October 9, the Speech and Debate Club had a novice parliamentary tournament with St. Sebastian’s School. Looking forward, they have the Deerfield International Debate on October 22 and a novice debate with the Roxbury Latin Debate Club in early November. They are not putting too much stress on the novice debate, saying that it is “messy and just overall fun to watch, and [it] gives novice debaters a chance to try a new thing.”