Debate Conference at Northwest

Debate teams from the greater Wichita area convened at Northwest after school on Aug. 22 to attend a conference prepared by Bill English of Baylor University to start the debate season.

Over the course of four hours, debaters took notes with laptops and good old fashioned legal pads and pencils hoping to get a jump start into the new year and discuss topic ideas.

Every year the topic changes, this year features Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba, and ways to economically engage them.

English went to many summer debate camps to find out which cases were going to be used most, and then presented arguments and extra evidence for the affirmative side.

“I’m going to make the affirmative cases seem like the best thing since sliced bread, then I’ll make it seem like it will never win,” said English as he explained how the night would go.

This isn’t the first time that such a conference has been held for Wichita debaters, nor is it the first time Northwest has been the host.

Shawn Wingfield, the current coach, mentioned that it has been held here every year since he became coach, and even before he became coach.

“We are always delighted Baylor University chooses Wichita Northwest as the school to kick off the debate season,” he said.

Despite this, due to every seat being 25 dollars, in the past, Northwest students have not been able to attend, so the debate team was excited to be able to attend this year.

“I’m very interested to see what he has to say,” sophomore Megan Harvey said. “I don’t really understand the topic, and this guy has stuff that will get us ahead.”

In addition to the notes that were taken on the ideas and evidence presented, each debater received a packet of information that otherwise would have taken debaters hours to find and write into debate format.

Not everyone felt that the experience was entirely positive.

After the conference took a break for dinner, Senior Daniel Wise felt that “It was interesting, and I’m getting some new stuff, but I already know some of this and a lot of it feels rehearsed.”

However people felt about the conference itself, it did not change the fact that Northwest is looking forward to another great year-and THAT is something not up for debate.