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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Lincoln Douglas team joins ranks of events offered by Speech and Debate

In recent years, the school’s debate team has only offered Public Forum, Congress and Parliamentary debate for its students to exercise their argumentative skills. This year, coach Erick Rector has decided to reinstate the much requested Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate to the team’s events.

LD, named after the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, challenges its participants to consider logic, ethics and philosophy. Unlike Public Forum or Parliamentary debate, students do not require a partner to participate.

“I believe in only relying on myself, with a partner they may get mad at you or you may be inclined to blame them for losing, so I think being an individual is better,” freshman Anshul Aggarwal said.

Aggarwal tried LD at a summer camp and was inspired to join because he loves to argue. “I argue with my brother, my parents, and pretty much everyone so joining LD was a natural step for me,” Aggarwal said.

There has not been a LD team at Saratoga in several years, according to LD coach, Steve Clemmons, but it was re-established this year to give the speech and debate team a more competitive edge. Clemmons looks forward to coaching the renewed LD team.

“It was an idea that grew organically from the students,” Clemmons said.

The LD team currently consists of 10 regular members who meet on Wednesdays from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. with Clemmons.

“Coaching LD is challenging. It’s a terrific program and there’s a bunch of talented freshmen, but it is a lot like farming; you see it in the beginning but then you watch it grow into a large tree or plant,” Clemmons said.

Senior Danielle Savage made the switch from Public Forum to LD after she was unable to find a partner.

“It gets pretty rowdy sometimes because I’m the only senior and the only girl. There’s really no one else at my level on the team, so I’ve almost become the unofficial student coach in a way,” Savage said.

LD debaters must research a topic and formulate a case which presents their arguments. The topic usually concerns a moral dilemma and students must research both the positive and negatives of the topic, Savage said.

At tournaments students give speeches up to seven minutes long to convince the judge of their viewpoint.

Some reporting for this story was done by Nelson Wang and Allison Chang.

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