Speyer Debate Continues to Take Top Spots Across The City!

Quick: state a few reasons to close Rikers Island. Now, come up with many to support it remaining open. Now, do the same exercise with the topic of safe injection sites or significantly increase funding for space exploration. This gives you a little glimpse into the life of a Speyer Debater. In two recent tournaments, the Speyer Debate Team took on teams from schools around the city and with all of the fabulous results, we have guest writer Debate Coach Mr. Glasser!

The Speyer Debate Team has had a busy schedule since returning from Winter Break! Students competed in tournaments through the Urban Debate League of NYC and the New York Debate League, featuring multiple rounds of academic debate with students from all over the city. In fact, even other states are getting in on the action this month, as the league welcomed new teams from Hoboken and Jersey City. Topics spanned the gauntlet from local to international and philosophical to economic. Some examples of recent topics include: 

  • John Brown was morally justified 

  • The United States should significantly increase funding for space exploration 

  • Close Rikers Island 

  • NYC should open safe injection sites 

  • and several more! 

As you can see, our topics challenge students to think through complex real world issues. Remember, the debaters do not know what side of the round they will be on until only twenty minutes before the first speech! Middle Schoolers can really raise the tenor of discourse when given the chance, and, of course, our Dragon Debaters made their presence known at both tournaments. To say they placed very well would be an understatement!

At the Urban Debate League tournament, Speyer 6th grader Dev A. won First Place Speaker and took home the highly coveted Speaker's Gavel! At the same event, 7th graders Alex V., Brynn M., and Caitlin M. went undefeated and won First Place Team overall! In fact, every Speyer team ended the day with a winning record, and several students walked away with additional awards for individual speaking skill. 

At the New York Debate League tournament, Caitlin M. won Second Place Overall Speaker – missing the gavel by just one single point (out of 408 of them)! Our 5th grade team of Nathan G., Zach V., and Mikaela G. won Second Place Team overall, an amazing accomplishment especially considering they faced top 8th grade teams along the way!   

Speyer Debate has been operating without out 8th graders for the past few events, so our younger debaters have really had a chance to shine! We have only a few more events before we start gearing up for City Championships…stay tuned! Go Dragons!