No Debating It: Sayville High School Debate Team in Great Form!
“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress” – Mahatma Gandhi
At the recent Long Island Forensic Association Debate Tournament hosted by Schreiber High School in Port Washington, Sayville’s Eric Stenzel won second place Varsity LD, and qualified for States.
“We started the Debate team last year,” explains Debate Team Club Advisor Ms. Eileen Walsh-Ahrens, “so this is Sayville's second year competing at LIFA. Eric Stenzel is the Captain and leader extraordinaire who has grown this team. He began debating as a Novice in his sophomore year and jumped straight to Varsity level this year as a junior—skipping JV! After placing twice in LIFA tournaments at the Varsity level, he has qualified to compete at States for Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate. His story is very inspiring.”
Ms. Walsh-Ahrens had more good news to share about a recent competition at Schreiber: “Alex Petruzelli also won fourth place Novice LD, earning half the qualification to compete in States. In the most recent tournament on February 10th at Jericho High School, three Sayville debaters competed. Jordan Ramsaywak and Ben Scapellati both competed at Junior Varsity level despite only beginning debate this year. Lindsey Yoder, a freshman, competed at the Novice level. Although Eric already qualified for States, he attended the tournament to support the team's efforts. Jordan went 2-2, Ben went 1-3 and Lindsey went 2-2.
The Sayville High School Debate club has made significant progress thanks to its hard working, critical-thinking, and dedicated students. The members research, write and practice public speaking with one another to acquire the necessary skills before the competitions. As a team, they collectively research issues and must be prepared to debate both sides throughout multiple rounds at the tournaments.
The Long Island Forensics Association (LIFA) debate season runs September through February. Students compete once a month on Saturdays. Teams can also compete on the National Circuit (NatCir), and students who qualify will compete at the New York State Championship Tournament in April and at the National Championship Tournament in June.
In addition to the excitement of the competitions, there are many academic and personal benefits from participating in the Debate club, including the potential to win scholarship money and prizes at the tournaments. “Debate is an incredible activity to have on a college application,” the Sayville Debate Club Handbook reads, “as it demonstrates dedication, critical thinking skills, and superior writing and speaking skills.”
There is good reason to be proud thus far of the Sayville students and excited about their accomplishments. “Although new, the Sayville High School team has a strong record of fantastic debaters who on the whole win more rounds than they lose, “ Ms. Walsh-Ahrens says. “They’ve competed against teams from many very highly ranked schools on Long Island, including: Jericho, Roslyn, Syosset, Half Hollow Hills, Chaminade, and Kellenberg Memorial!”
No debating it, Sayville’s Debate Team Club has exciting times ahead--good luck!