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World Schools Debating Academy 2019
Written by Justin An | Published. 2019.07.19 13:35 | Count : 140

Over the past few decades, the popularity of debating has increased tremendously between students for all ages. It has become so popular that it seems almost weird to be unknowledgeable about it. There are so many programs, camps, competitions, and championships around the world. 

Debating is a type of team sport or activity; there is a motion that states the topic of the debate. The number of debaters varies on the type of format, typically from one to three. In World Schools Debating Format, there are three speakers on each side. There is proposition, where you support the motion, and opposition where you disagree. Each side presents three arguments and refutes against the opponents’ arguments. 

From June 24th to June 30th, I participated in the 2019 World Schools Debating Academy in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. It consisted of extremely rigorous programs and schedules with 200 debaters from around the world, but it had its own fun and interesting aspects such as treasure hunts and kitsch parties. 

It was a rather new experience because I had to manage and keep track of all my schedules myself with zero assistance from anyone. I personally think that I am an independent student, but sometimes I forget things. To be honest, I had no privacy whatsoever, as I was with students wherever I went. Overall, it was pretty tiring. 

Throughout the week, we had a big debating tournament composed of over 50 teams. Although I was teamed up with random people I could find, we resulted in 10th place, which was not bad. Also, we had various electives and lectures on such as argumentations, logical fallacies, refutations, and more. I tend to speak as the third speaker, whose job is to refute and disagree with the opponents’ claims. Nonetheless, I wanted to try out different positions, so I tried other positions during the debates, such as the first proposition speaker, where one claims two strong arguments and pre-emptive response to possible arguments of the opponents. In the picture below, I am speaking as the reply speaker, where one summarizes the debate and persuade(s) the judge why his or her side should win.

[Me speaking as the reply speaker in a debate (Photo Credits: Ramil)]

 After the camp, I interviewed one of my teammates Nikita. 

Why did you start debating?
"I found it interesting. So at the start of the school year, I saw a presentation about the debate club. I wanted to try it out, and the members were nice there, so I decided to stay there, and here I am."

What is debating to you?
"For me, debating is a part of life. Because whenever I don’t debate, I get frustrated and start debating against my parents. I know it’s a bad habit, but it just happens for whatever reason."

What is your role in debating?
"
When I have weak debaters, I usually do 2nd proposition, where I present my side’s third argument and refutation against the opposition. I also do 1st opposition, where I refute the proposition and present my side’s two arguments and the reply speech as well. If my teammates are good, I often let them do whatever they want."

What did you think of WSDA 2019?
"
I have met wonderful people, and without my team members, I do not know if we could have gotten this far. Our team’s result was 4 wins out of 6 rounds, but sometimes I felt the judging was unfair because the judges preferred Slovenian teams."

Will you come next year?
"
It depends. Because I moved to another country, I'll have to find a debate club. I hope I will be able to find a debate club and get better results next year."

[Me interviewing my teammate, Nikita (Photo Credits: Soobin Lee)]

Overall, 2019 World Schools Debating Academy was an internationally intense camp for inspired debaters. It truly felt as a meaningful experience to widen my knowledge in debating and meet new people from around the world. Personally, I would like to revisit this camp for the third time; and this time, as a better and a skilled debater.

 











Justin An
9th grade
Mercersburg Academy

Justin An  student_reporter@dherald.com

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