Paulina Song '18
Guns N'ukes: Why Everyone Should Join Debate (so we don't all get annihilated)
Is a nuclear war between the United States and North Korea imminent? How do we weigh background checks for gun sales against 2nd amendment rights? Which is better (or worse): the current electoral college system or a direct national popular vote? If any of these issues sound remotely interesting or thought provoking to you, there is one extracurricular you cannot afford to miss out on: debate.
If you love proving people wrong, debate is the perfect activity for you. We focus on timely and controversial issues that affect our everyday lives and the long-term future of the world as a whole. From the rising threat of North Korea to the rising threat of gun violence, debate is a gateway to the world of current events.
Debate teaches you to think. I know, at a school like NCS or STA, we do enough thinking as it is. But debate is unique in that it teaches you how to delve deeply into both sides of an issue to gain a holistic understanding of a particular topic.
For example, here's a fun (more like morbid) fact: a 15 kiloton nuke would lead to 1.25 million casualties. North Korea tested a 35 kiloton bomb last year. Hmm...
On the flip side, if the US launches a preemptive strike on North Korea, that would literally be the catalyst for a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula, and nuclear war would also kill millions. Could diplomacy work? If we force Kim Jong Un into a corner, will he come to the table or lash out and fire nukes? Is Kim Jong Un even rational?
These are the kinds of cool (and scary) ideas we think and argue about in debate. They say ignorance is bliss, but I'd argue that it's probably scarier to not understand these threats. Plus, you get to show off how informed you are to your friends.
While debate topics switch around depending on the most current or urgent issue, debate does leave you with several enduring skills that are instrumental in any setting, whether that's school, the workplace, or even just a gathering among friends.
It's commonly accepted that public speaking is the number one fear in America. Fear can't be overcome if it's never confronted. Debate teaches you how to speak confidently and persuasively with sound logic and clear assertions. It also helps you see multiple perspectives as you often have to debate both sides of an issue, even the side you don't agree with. In this sense, you learn to be more open to different opinions and understand the perfectly sound reasons why someone would believe something that you think is completely ludicrous.
Effective communication is the door to innumerable future opportunities, and debate is like a nuke that blows it wide open, because, obviously, when you're a debater, you're the bomb.
The NCS Debate Team debates in the public forum style, in which teams of two face off against teams from other schools at monthly tournaments. We debate a new topic every month so you'll never be bored. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday during office hours in Dr. DiQuinzio's room (W202). Even if you've never debated before, feel free to drop by one of our meetings if you're interested! Debate is a great extracurricular that is both fun and essential in all disciplines!