Romig wins first Anchorage Middle School Public Debate Program Invitational of season
by Michelle Saport |
The Seawolf Debate Program was proud to partner with Begich Middle School to host the first Anchorage Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP) tournament of the year. A team from Romig Middle School won the invitational, prevailing over 23 teams in their first appearance on the Anchorage middle school debate circuit.
The Seawolf Debate Program piloted the Anchorage MSPDP in 2011 with only three middle schools. Since then the initiative has grown to include nine participating schools with roughly 60 middle school students at each tournament. New to the program this year are Romig Middle School, Colony Middle School and Wendler Middle School. Each invitational features four preliminary rounds of competition that lead up to a semifinal and final round. Students tackle tough subjects such as right-to-die legislation, the morality of sports hunting and jus soli citizenship. Representatives from the participating middle schools will be invited to UAA for a one-day competition that will crown the inaugural Anchorage MSPDP Champions in late April. The next invitational will be hosted by Goldenview Middle School Dec. 12.
To facilitate the development of middle school debate, Seawolf Debate provides tournament administration support, volunteer judges and curriculum support for middle school teachers interested in coaching a team. Assistant Coach John Schultz hosted a judge training workshop prior to the competition that drew in a plethora of community volunteers and high school debate students who gave their Saturday over to mentoring the next generation of great debaters through judging the debates and providing feedback. The experience was rewarding for all involved.
"It was so incredible to see all of the debate enthusiasm from middle schoolers," remarked West High debater Kira Hamilton.
This initiative fits well with the Seawolf Debate Program's other efforts to promote academic debating. With programs like the Alaska High School Drama, Debate and Forensics Championships hosted each year by UAA and the Cabin Fever Debates, an intramural debating tournament for UAA students not active on the Seawolf competitive debating team, the middle school initiative will provide a continuous track for students interested in debating from sixth grade through their graduation from UAA.