Columbia High School Debate Team Has Great Success at NJ State Championship

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From Columbia High School Debate Team Manager Brian Nesin:

Columbia High School’s newly founded debate team had two entries in the New Jersey Speech and Debate League State Championship recently and both debaters — Claudia Nesin and Rachel Goldsmith — reached the finals rounds.  Nesin, JV Lincoln Douglas Debate, was a semi-finalist and Goldsmith, novice Lincoln Douglas Debate, was a quarter-finalist.) This was very impressive for a new team, which is competing against much larger and established high school programs.

The team, started by students last year, has been doing a form of debate called Lincoln-Douglas, which is a one-on-one event that focuses on values more than specific policies. The team has been having training sessions over Zoom with a debate coach from Texas, and has entered tournaments sponsored by the NJ Speech and Debate League and the Newark Forensic League.

The topic the team debated last weekend was “Resolved: In a democracy, a free press should prioritize objectivity over advocacy.” Debate is a great training in research, critical thinking, and public speaking, and it was a formative experience for public figures like [South Orange Village President] Sheena Collum and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The debate was a two-day event held at Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, NJ. Each debater had to do five debates, assigned either the affirmative or negative position, before qualifying for finals.

Rachel Goldsmith

Claudia Nesin

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