As it is passing the one-year mark of the Covid-19 outbreak, many people are getting used to the lifestyle of wearing masks around and sanitizing. Rosemont Middle School is starting new clubs even during the situation, which they are advertising to parents and students through emails each week. A new program that was introduced before the start of 2021 was the Speech and Debate Club. A few years ago, there was another speech and debate class, but it was canceled for personal reasons. However, now there is a better, renovated class that is being introduced to students.
The Speech and Debate class is taught by a professional and experienced teacher, Trenton Cressey. This club is for students who want to get better at public speaking or have a future career in speaking and debating. The program goes on for eight total weeks, and there is even a chance for students to go to a virtual debate tournament. This tournament was held on March 21, and students at the same level competed against each other. As a result, the new coach is pushing those who are scared to at least give it a shot because it will be a great learning experience for them.
The March 21 tournament will be held online this year. The students who are participating are all beginners who the “Mayer Cressy Speech” teachers have been coaching for the past 8 weeks. During the actual event, everyone will be paired up and will debate on the same topic: “The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce its military commitments.” The basic rules of the tournament are that two teams will be against each other, and each side will debate on the same topic for a total of four rounds. During the four rounds, two teams affirm the topic, and two negate it. After all four rounds are finished, there will be an awards ceremony where the top teams and debaters will be recognized. The students will also be able to view their ballots to see their performance.
The teacher of this club, Trenton Cressy, states, “On the one hand, I‘ve seen my students quickly adapt to and master the challenges of distance learning, allowing us to get the most out of the online format. On the other, I can’t wait to return to in-person classes after the pandemic, because it will add a whole new level to what students have been learning from debating online, and meetings will generally run more smoothly. In the meantime, it‘s been great for students to have an opportunity to compete in virtual tournaments while sports and other group activities have been on hold.”