West Fargo High School Debate Team Going Strong


Left to right: Aiden Shultz, Jama Jama, Aneesh Vegi, Dylan Vezner, Enslie Schwan, Karmella Splichal

Madeline Martinez, Staff Writer

On December 10th, the West Fargo High School’s Debate Team competed at the Grand Forks Central Crosstown Debate tournament continuing their progress towards the North Dakota State Debate tournament in early February.  

Debate offers two programs: Lincoln Douglas, “…one-on-one debate and is primarily focused on competing values,” and Public Forum, “a team event that advocates or rejects a position posed by the monthly resolution topic…. The clash of ideas must be communicated in a manner persuasive to the non-specialist or ‘citizen judge’, i.e., a member of the American jury.” The results for said competition are as follows: In Lincoln Douglas II, Aneesh Vegi came in 1st, Aiden Shultz in 2nd, and Jama Jama in 4th. As for Public Forum, Karmella Splichal and Enslie Schwan tied for 4th. 

Second-year Lincoln Douglas debater, Aneesh Vegi, notes his improvement from last year’s season. “With my experience, I’m able to understand things a lot better,” says Vegi, referring to case writing and mock debates. “And the flow of how things work.” Vegi continues, “It was very individualized the way things were running. …So, I think that’s a good thing where you can learn how to be an individual debater and learn to do your own work.” 

Speaking with a few first-year debaters, they’ve all expressed the intimidation they first felt and how that just wasn’t the case with debate.  

First-year Public Forum debaters, Akasia Houser and Brooklyn Anderson, specifically discuss their first impressions of the activity. “I expected it to be really boring,” Houser began. “But, I mean, we have fun during the meetings.” Anderson pitched in saying, “I expected to have to do it by myself.” Even Vegi gives some advice, “Just try it out. It might be intimidating at first, but once you get the first couple things down, which includes your case writing, going through a mock for the first time. You start to feel a lot more comfortable as you go. It’s just going to keep getting easier the more you stick with it.” 

As for first-year Lincoln Douglas member, Sienna Newland, debate was more of an easy coming for her. Newland says, “I really like to state my opinion and argue for what I believe in.” Debate is centered around already picked topics for the season, making it difficult for a debater to speak on specific topics they’re interested in. “I didn’t think it would be that interesting in the beginning because I’m not super into politics,” Newland states, talking about their current topic. “The more I got into it and started researching it, I found that there’s actually a lot of interesting stuff that goes along with it that I actually care about.” 

More information on debate can be found in the Fine Arts section of activates on the school website. Otherwise, you can contact Mr. Strom in room 123G or Snyder in room 214H. “At first, you might think it’s bad, but it’s really not that bad,” Jama positively reports. “It’s actually kind of fun once you start to get the hang of it. Like actually arguing.”  

The debate topic for the season will change for competitors beginning in early January.