Wang '19 Wins Grand Debate Tournament

News  /  by Linda Li '19  /  November 11, 2017

This past Thursday during school meeting, the Lawrenceville Speech and Debate Club hosted the finals of the annual Inter-House Grand Debate Tournament for house points.

The two finalists were Elaine Wang ’20 of the Carter House and Cameron Desnoes ’19 of the Hamill House. History Master David Figueroa Ortiz P’18, Religion and Philosophy Master Jason VonWachenfeldt, and Speech and Debate Coach Carolyn Beard served as judges for the tournament.

The topic, “School Meeting Should Be Mandatory,” was presented to the two debaters at the beginning of the debate, with Wang arguing the affirmative side and Desnoes arguing the negative side.

Each contestant was given a minute to prepare his or her opening remarks followed by a brief crossfire and closing speeches.

Wang argued that school meeting was an opportunity for students who “often get caught up in their own lives” to stay up-to-date School news and events and as well as being a “fun way to bring [the School community] together.”

Wang also added that no one would voluntarily attend school meeting if it were optional, thus missing out on the opportunity to see showcases of student talent or hear from outside speakers.

Desnoes focused primarily on countering Wang’s arguments, declaring that the extra 40 minutes provided by an optional school meeting would help “bring students together even more” by giving them more free time to spend with friends. Desnoes also argued that during school meeting, students typically do not interact with those around them.

Furthermore, Desnoes added that students could also spend the time during school meeting to do their work, and that there were means other than school meeting that allowed students to stay up-to-date with school events.

After deliberation from the judges, Wang ultimately won by a 3-0 vote, earning Carter House house points.

Jonny Yue ’19 said, “I thought it wasn't very fair that one of the sides for the debate was already in place—school meeting—and it is really hard to argue against something that already exists.”