The Status of Debate is Debatable


Dylan Gaynor, Reporter

48 hours before West Boca High’s annual Club Rush, the Debate Team didn’t have a coach.

For years, Mr. Gutierrez, a former teacher, had always been the man to manage the Debate-a-Bulls, but at the end of last year he departed the school for Wesley Chapel, Florida. The obvious question that came to everyone’s mind was who would run the team? Or would the West Boca Debate-a-bulls fade away into non-existence.

If it would’ve been any other group of people, the team most likely would have fallen apart. Luckily, West Boca Debate team members have a reputation for not backing down from a fight, and they proved that rhetoric by willing the team into re-existence. Co-presidents Ashley Sorato and Simone Mikulinsky, Vice President, and yours truly, Dylan Gaynor, and other varsity members went teacher-to-teacher to try and find someone up for the job. After days of non-stop work, and with the help of Mrs. Schneider, Mrs. Steel, and other supporting figures, the Debate-a-Bulls were able to find a new sponsor: Mrs. Sawford.

What even is the Debate team? The Debate team is a club/team at West Boca that competes in local, state, and national events that focus on the preparing and delivering of speeches. There are a number of different competitions within the scope of debate to choose from, from Congressional Debate (mock congress), to dramatic events like Duo Interpretation.

Unlike the name debate implies, most competitions consist of competitors giving speeches in front of their peers and judges, then getting scored on the validity of their argument. Weirdly enough, there is usually no debating involved. In the most popular debate competition, Congressional Debate, the speech is followed by a one minute questioning period, in which the audience is allowed to ask questions about the speech to disprove the argument, and the Speech-giver has to defend their statements.

Debate can get complicated, which is why it is so important to have a committed coach to lead the squad. Mrs. Sawford, a second year English teacher at West Boca, is “…excited to work with the team and proud to lead the West Boca Debate-a-Bulls!”

Even though Mrs. Sawford has never competed in a speech or debate competition, her expertise in rhetoric and creative writing will surely bring a new level of experience to the team, who aims to build off of an impressive season last year. The ever-improving team had multiple members qualify for states, and Ashley Sorato, as mentioned above, qualified for the NSDA Nationals competition, which is a rarity for the Debate-a-Bulls. When asked about her hopes for the club this year, Mrs. Sawford said, “I am hoping to serve the team well and provide what students want in a coach. I will be learning with them along the way and hope to bring home some trophies! I know the Debate-a-bulls can do it, and I can’t wait to celebrate the wins!!!”

While Mrs. Sawford might have some “big shoes to fill” with the absence of Mr. Gutierrez, the West Boca Debate team is ready to argue their way to victory!