Debate competes at Rolling Meadows

By Nabi Dressler
News Editor 
The debate team competed in their fourth competition of the season at Rolling Meadows last Saturday, Dec. 10.
About 23-25 competitors from Prospect competed as a team against about a dozen other large school teams. Competing as a large school or a small school depends on how many people are brought to the tournament from the school.
Though the team didn’t place as a whole, there were individual victories. Junior David Roznovjak was Best Presiding Officer in his chamber. Senior Mike Grossman won First Place Speaker. Senior and team captain Owen Hoepfner received Critic’s Choice, being the highest-scoring competitor in the chamber, and, in his chamber, won Best Presiding Officer.
Points are awarded differently for those giving speeches and those acting as presiding officers. A presiding officer runs the chamber, choosing on people to speak and choosing on questions. According to Hoepfner, presiding officers control everything for two hours.
As for scoring, presiding officers “get a percentage either from zero to 100 and, depending on that number, that’s the percentage of points [he or she gets] from the top person in [his or her] chamber,” Hoepfner said.
Students who deliver speeches get a score of one to six, with six being the best.
According to junior and team captain Carolyn De Salvo, a speech that earns a six is “perfectly timed, has extremely good organization, [is] easy to follow, and [is] very convincing.” The competitor’s voice is not monotonous and they do not stumble.
A speech scored as one, according to De Salvo, is a very short speech or a very long speech that goes overtime, and the speaker doesn’t know what he or she is rambling about.
Along with a score, judges give feedback to competitors as to what they could improve on, such as voice consistency and if what they say is relevant to the topic.
According to Hoepfner, there are two ways to earn points in debate. The majority of points come from the number and quality of speeches given, but points are also earned based on participation through asking questions.
Both freshman Vishwas Hogirala and Hoepfner agree team members are good speakers who need to get more speeches, which would result in a better chance for the team as a whole to rank higher. Hogirala wants to increase his participation in order to accumulate more points.
In order to improve over the course of the season, Hoepfner wants the team to stay aggressive to get more speeches.
Hogirala also believes the way to win in debate is “mainly just standing up and getting more speeches in.”
De Salvo believes the team has already grown and improved greatly so far this season since the team is composed largely of novices.
Hoepner believes team members have what it takes to win at competitions and need to step up.
“We have a lot of good individual people, we have good people in practice, but that needs to translate better into tournaments,” Hoepfner said.