No Rebuttal Necessary: Speech and Debate Club Has Entered a New Era


Selma Ulm

Pictured: Debate students at work at a weekly meeting.

Azusa Lippit, Around School Editor

The Speech and Debate Club at CRLS benefits students in need of extra academic stimulation, meeting every Friday in Room 3610. The club analyzes various possible perspectives on current social and political issues and participates in tournaments around the state.

Xi Yu, a CRLS math teacher as well as the team’s coach, has been working tirelessly for the duration of the past two years to establish the group as a legitimate extracurricular entity in need of funding. “Before I got here, it was just four people in a classroom who met up … and went and had an outside coach that they paid for,” Ms. Yu told the Register Forum. “[They] would go travel around the country doing competitions, but … I didn’t think if CRLS was this diverse that that would be equitable—we can’t demand that people spend five hundred dollars over a weekend for a competition.”

I am now able to better tailor my points to the audience

— Milan Singh '21

In addition to the financial restructuring that she has facilitated, Ms. Yu has ensured that the club “made meetings happen regularly … and started taking attendance at meetings.” She commented, “I think we’re in a challenging position as an academic club that also travels,” as it is somewhat unclear how much funding the club should receive from the school. Ms. Yu said that settling this uncertainty has been a large part of the club’s last year.

Milan Singh ’21 described the benefits he has reaped from his participation in the club, saying, “I feel like my writing has improved, especially in essays where I have to argue a point, since I can apply the skills I have developed to make sharper and more organized points.” In addition, Singh feels as though his public speaking has gotten better since he’s been part of Speech and Debate:  “In terms of public speaking, I’ve never been shy about speaking in front of a group, but I am now able to better tailor my points to the audience in front of me, as well as speak better in general.”

“The best part of being in debate is the community.”

— Roy Mazumder '21

Aritra Roy Mazumder ’21, co-captain of the club this year, reflected, “I would say the best part of being in debate is the community. On [the] one hand, I get to be around some really amazing people whom I’ve come to love. On the other, I’ve come across hundreds of people who debated me and have had some valuable contribution to who I am intellectually right now. Moreover, I also value the fact that I can be part of a community that gives voice to people who believe in what they say and gives me an opportunity to say what I believe in. I’ve made some of my best friends through debate.” 

New members need no prior experience, member Selma Ulm ’22 explained: “Everyone was always a beginner, and that’s my philosophy, too. Everyone has experience making their voices heard, having to stick up for themselves or people they support. Everyone has experience backing to their opinions. That’s all debate. People who join debate don’t need to have experience, but everyone has experience with the principles of debate.” Speech and Debate club meets every Friday in room 3610 from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM.

This piece also appears in our September 2019 print edition.