Local debate teams will have the chance to demonstrate their argumentative flair Jan. 20 at Indiana University Northwest. Students from at least six area high schools will visit campus to participate in a series of competitive debate events. Participating schools include Chesterton, Crown Point, Hammond, LaPorte, Munster and Valparaiso High Schools.
The day-long event will consist of four separate debate categories. These include Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas, Congress, and Public Forum. The Policy Debate and Public Forum contests feature two-person debate teams who argue different sides of an issue. The Lincoln-Douglas event seeks to emulate the historic slavery debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, taking as their focus various national questions of current interest. The Congress event simulates a Congressional debate, with students arguing over four different bills and trying to persuade fellow participants to vote their way.
Area attorney Steve Kennedy is in his ninth year as coordinator for the debate tournament. He said these events not only give students a chance to develop skills such as public speaking, analytical thinking and argumentation, but that they also allow the young participants to make themselves heard on important issues that affect their lives.
“I think debate is an invaluable program for high school students in terms of the kids’ speaking abilities,” Kennedy said. “It’s also a chance for them to speak out on some national issues. They have opinions on issues of importance, and those opinions are taken seriously.”
The RedHawk Debate Tournament at IU Northwest will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Savannah Center, with debate events taking place in various classrooms across campus. The debate events are expected to conclude at approximately 3 p.m., with an awards ceremony to follow in the Savannah Center Auditorium. The Savannah Center is located at 33rd Ave. and Broadway in Gary, Ind.
IU Northwest is pleased to host this significant academic event. We welcome all participating high schools to campus and wish the competitors the best of luck as they debate the most crucial issues of the day.