How refreshing to find orderly, fact-based discussions about critical world issues occurring in high schools. Sure there’s tension, disagreement and point-by-point maneuvering. But when done, the students shake hands. Somebody wins, but no one truly loses in these verbal matches.
The Platte County R-3 High School hosted a forensics tournament this past Friday and Saturday. Or to be more specific, the school’s forensic team coordinated various contests related to debate or oral presentations. Schools from around the Kansas City area sent teams. The R-3 team has been attending tournaments at other schools in recent weeks and it was their turn to host.
Values are emphasized in debate formats. Well I value thinking. I helped judge some debates at the tourney, and it’s a beautiful thing to see young people thinking hard, concentrating, jotting down notes and looking up information on their laptops. They’re thinking about both sides of the issue, some argue both sides in the course of the tourney. The ability to sort big facts from little ones can win or lose a debate. As importantly, they must speak clearly about what they’re thinking about.
I enjoy watching a talented young woman spike a volleyball in a high school match, or seeing a young man dribble the length of the basketball court and smoothly lift a layup against the backboard. But it’s just as delightful to observe a debater asking an opponent a question that helps common sense overpower weak theory.