Debate During COVID-19

Debate team members describe the changes during the pandemic

Ava Gilbert, Staff Writer

Before COVID-19, debaters would go to practices after school to prepare for tournaments. Members of the debate team would then travel for these tournaments to places such as Iowa or even California. Elizabeth Terveen ‘21 qualified for national qualifiers. She describes the process as very stressful and intense. Despite this, she explained that it felt good to qualify and be able to represent Blake. She also explained how it was great to meet other teams from Minnesota and even some teams from different states. She explained that the community at the tournaments were great because you get to talk to and meet other people from different schools. Due to Covid students are not able to travel, so tournaments have been changed to all online. Terveen Explained how it was a lot easier and a lot more accessible, she also says, “When you do online debate you can learn so much more even if there is less sense of community you can do so many more tournaments. More people who maybe don’t have the privilege like we do at Blake can go to tournaments. I do feel like it’s pretty positive but then again the traveling is great.”.

A lot more people were able to join these online tournaments because they didn’t need to pay for traveling. There are also some cons that come along with being all online such as not being able to be in that good community that Elizabeth Terveen talked about. Lola Palestrini ‘24, a new student this year, debated for medicare for all and no first use of nuclear weapons and says, “My favorite part about debate was becoming closer with new friends at a new school.” Debate team is a great community where students get to work together and make new connections with people from Blake or even from different schools around Minnesota.