The first week of August indicates the beginning of school for many on the Jesuit Dallas campus, but for Jesuit’s Debate team it also marks the beginning of a yearlong debate season that ends in May with the culmination of a state wide tournament; however, many on the team have been preparing all summer long.
Jesuit’s Varsity Debate squad had fifteen of its sixteen members participate in 5 -7 week long programs across the country at universities such as Gonzaga, the University of Kansas, Emory University, and Dartmouth to help fine tune their debate skills. On top of that, both head coaches, Dr. McFarland and Mr. Lingel, spent time over the summer teaching at Gonzaga in order to help prepare for the upcoming year. Mr. Lingel believes that these workshops are a “great opportunity for the debaters to get a head start on the topic and learn you know strategies and techniques” that can be used in the season’s debates and only adds to the bag of tricks the debaters need to win.
Not only did the debaters attend these summer workshops, but at the end of their programs, many earned accolades in their respective divisions. Juniors Ryler Holcom ’19 took first place in the tournament at the end of the 4-week program at Gonzaga and Giovannie Ferrer Falto ’19 made it to the finals in the 5-week program at Gonzaga. Juniors Jack Moore, Jack Madden, Pete Weigman, and Chris Tran all placed top 10 in their respective divisions at Gonzaga. Overall, Mr. Lingel had nothing but praise for everyone in the program who really “had crazy exceptional summers” with so much success that they hope to carry into the season. On top of the summer programs abroad, Jesuit hosted it’s own pre-season camp in August in which the debaters gathered to share what they learned over the summer. Mr. Lingel really values the week long camp because it gives his debaters an opportunity to “fine-tune some of our early-season arguments and brainstorm and prepare and practice” for what they’re expecting to encounter once the season starts.
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once commented on how the most powerful people in the country where the people that created the national debate topic because it got millions of students and their parents and people you know talking about important issues. This year’s warrant is that the federal government should substantially increase its funding and or regulation of elementary and secondary education, an exciting topic because of it’s prevalence in many of the debater’s own lives. Chris Tran is really looking forward to debating this season’s topic because “we [the debaters] are learning about education policies that affect us and our peers around the country each and every day.” Ashik Amar ’19 echoed similar views on the impact that this topic has on his own life but voiced “concerns on debating the negative for this topic, but after the summer camp I realized there’s a lot of strategic plays I could make when debating the negative.” Overall, the debaters seem eager and excited to debate a topic so close to home.
Armed with plenty of firepower and plenty of experience debating, the team’s eyes fall on May as they once again prepare to qualify multiple teams for the state tournament. Last year, Jesuit was one of three schools to send at least six teams to state, and the other two schools were 6A powerhouse schools with over 6,000 students. According to the Mr. Lingel, the ability to qualify that many teams with a team of their size “speaks volumes on the depth of our team and the talent of the kids we have here” as many returning debaters hope to return to the tournament in the Spring. Ethan Jackson ’19 reiterates the team goal “of making it to the state tournament and having success in the elimination rounds, but I also hope to succeed in some national level tournaments as well.” As the debate season gets ready to start, Jesuit once again looks like an early favorite to once again take the Texas Debate Circuit by storm.