This past year, the Jesuit Debate Team has seen its share of successes and downfalls. Despite having a “rough” experience, as coach Dr. Tracy McFarland says, at the National Debate Coaches Association Tournament, this young team is looking forward to next year’s debate season.
Coaching a team with only three graduating seniors this year, Dr. McFarland expressed her optimism for the rising stars of the debate squad, such as juniors Jackson Pyke, James Ferrara, and Jeff Melsheimer, who “look to be really promising [next year].”
The upcoming debate topic, regarding economic engagement with Venezuela, Cuba, and Mexico, will surely be an advantageous subject for Jesuit. Dr. McFarland, who did her graduate work in international relations and comparative politics, looks forward to having insightful discussions about foreign policy.
In addition to brainstorming done at Jesuit, debate workshops will be held at many prestigious colleges over the summer, further preparing Jesuit students for next year’s tournaments. Jackson Pyke and James Ferrara will both be attending a four-week workshop at Dartmouth during the summer to learn from the debate coaches and prepare cohesive arguments before the season starts.
Workshops will also be held at such schools as Michigan State, the University of Texas, and the University of North Texas, where Dr. McFarland herself runs the program. “In order to become nationally competitive,” Dr. McFarland says, “debaters go to the workshops and get a head-start on the topic and also do technical skill development.”
The team just ended their season at St. Mark’s this past weekend. Jeff Melsheimer spoke of the knowledge that he has gained from debate this year, such as learning “how to do research more effectively as well as formulate better arguments.” According to Dr. McFarland, “we are lucky that the school is very supportive of the debate team, and we are excited about next year’s topic.”
To stay up-to-date with all things debate-related, make sure to visit the debate team’s homepage.