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Club Spotlight: Speech and Debate

Presidents+Ryan+Chao+%2811%29+and+Ninad+Moholkar+%2811%29+inform+the+Speech+and+Debate+club+about+details+regarding+their+upcoming+tournament%2C+the+first+of+many+to+come.
Laila Kumar
Presidents Ryan Chao (11) and Ninad Moholkar (11) inform the Speech and Debate club about details regarding their upcoming tournament, the first of many to come.

A vital skill that is necessary for almost all parts of life is communication. Whether it be speaking over the phone or face-to-face, ideas and innovations cannot be spread without contact through words. The Speech and Debate club meets every Friday in room B117 to exercise this skill. They provide students on campus with access to competitive tournaments and knowledge regarding public speaking.

This club teaches students about the different styles of debate by using the many different activities and exercises to put the skills learned into practice. An example of this is more formally known as a “mock debate.” 

In a mock debate session we would usually have around 12 to 15 people in a room and each person chooses a side on the topic,” Vice President Zachary Chang (11) said. “Then, we would debate and try to counter each other’s arguments.”

Not only does speech and debate allow students to improve their skills in specific fields of public speaking, but there are also numerous exterior benefits that can affect student’s study habits or future careers. This includes open-mindedness, flexibility, and quick thinking. 

Debate is good for teaching you how to research and think critically, and it forces you to see both sides so you’re not fixed on one opinion,” president Ryan Chao (11) remarked.

Although the club may seem formal and almost as if you need background knowledge before joining, it is open to all levels of public speakers and provides opportunities to everyone. Besides the basic rules and terminology, the club covers a simulation of the U.S. legislative process, an example of real-world debate, and others such as speech impromptus or extemporaneous. There are also advanced methods such as Lincoln Douglas debates that are one-on-one and focus on ethical values and philosophy. 

“Majority of what we teach is meant to teach you from scratch because we’re used to teaching elementary school to middle school debate. It’s more of a learning process,” said junior president Ninad Moholkar. “And to develop this skill, you need a bit more time and passion to invest in this.” he said.

In order to go in depth about the different styles of speech and debate, the club also hosts workshops that target certain methods so members can determine which type suits them best. Typically after school on Thursdays, students gather together and practice using the highlighted style after it is taught by the supervising student. Some that have already been hosted include Parliamentary Debate and Congressional Debate.

Members also have the opportunity to compete against other schools in tournaments using the skills they would have learned and developed through the guidance of the officer board. Additionally, this club provides opportunities for students to volunteer at elementary schools and teach younger students how to debate. This will allow members to act as advisors for the new generation of public speakers and improve their speaking skills as well. 

“When I joined debate in fifth grade, I immediately recognized that I would forever cherish it. It was enjoyable to debate other people and see how to respond to their arguments from various perspectives,” Chao said. “If you have previously debated, you would be able to understand that you get a rush when you’re in the process”

With the numerous learning opportunities and experiences this club provides, all students should consider joining this club to improve their speaking skills and benefit other aspects of their studies. Students may possibly develop a newfound interest in debate or speech that many members of the club have, as debate can be a skill, hobby, or something to take to a professional level. 

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Laila Kumar, Staff Member
Laila Kumar (9) is a first-year member and writer of the Bulldog Times who is hoping to share her creative ideas and passion for writing. Laila is looking forward to working with her peers to build a strong community within the classroom, as well as advertise using articles and flyers. Outside of the workspace, she enjoys playing the piano, dancing, and reading. As the Freshman Social Chair, she is looking forward to using her online experience to represent our Bulldogs. Her favorite aspect of Ayala is the campus life, and she wants to ensure that everybody’s perspective is represented and valued.

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    Ninad MoholkarMar 6, 2024 at 7:43 pm

    On behalf of the Ayala Speech and Debate Officer Board, I would like to thank you for coving our club and writing such an amazing article about our activities! We would love to have you cover any of our future events for Speech and Debate as well!
    Also, for those who want to join, we have transitioned to workshop meetings held on Tuesdays and Thursdays in S101.

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