Pacific Coast Debate League is an elite group of competitive debate schools in West Los Angeles, including Harvard-Westlake, Brentwood, Marlborough, John Thomas Dye, St. Paul the Apostle, and Ridgecrest Intermediate School in Palos Verdes. The league follows the rules of the Middle School Public Debate Program of Claremont McKenna University (http://middleschooldebate.com), and hosts 4-5 weekend tournaments per year.
At these tournaments, teams of 3 debaters compete against teams of 3 from other league schools. A team consists of two proposition speakers and one rebuttalist. While the league-determined topics are all stated in the affirmative, each competing team is responsible for preparing proposition and opposition arguments; there are four different debate topics per tournament. Every team will debate on all four topics; only on the day of the tournament do the competitors find out whether they are arguing the proposition or opposition side of the debate. Thus, the level of research and preparation required is quite daunting, and we commend our Horace Mann debaters for putting forth this effort.
Practices are planned by the coaches, with great assistance coming from HM parents. Some practices focus on general skills, such as research analysis, argumentation, public speaking, and refutation, while other practices provide the debaters with an opportunity to craft their arguments and prepare notes in advance of competition. It is not an exaggeration to say that each competing debater invests about 20 hours preparing for the 6 hour tournament.
Front row: Jamie Kim, Sophia Goldberg, Evan Pizzurro, Horace Mann alumnus debater and volunteer league judge Sam Schwartz, Taeyoung Ryu, volunteer league judge Jeffrey Kaplan
Second row: Willa Ziegenfuss, Jimin Son, Deborah Yi, Nikki Ovaisi, Maxbryan Cosmosse, Dayeon Jeong, Samantha Boudaie
Back row: Coach David Foldvary, Ari Soufer, Wesley Wu, Josh Galst, Sasha Kubichka, Amit Geffner, Daniel Wiener, Michael Huang, Brian Yoon
Standing at rear right: Ryan Biehl, Seth Pizzurro
Not pictured: Seo Lin Kook, Millie Marshall, Jenny Kim