Debate team member takes first at novice tournament


Freshman Michael McNamara poses for a picture after the award ceremony, McNamara took first place in the Student Congress event.

Freshman Michael McNamara spent his day going from student to student, attempting to convince them to pass his bill at Apopka High School and not only was he successful, but his day ended in victory.  On Saturday, Oct. 17, McNamara placed first in the Student Congress event at the novice-only debate tournament, also attended by sophomores Jackson Scott, Isabella Howe and Gabby Valdez.

The team arrived at Apopka around 8 a.m. and stayed until the awards ceremony concluded at 6 p.m.

At the beginning of the day, participants had to work out what order they would speak in and elect a presiding officer. Students participating in the Congress event were allowed several breaks from debating and a lunch break.  McNamara checked in with the rest of the team when he could, but spent the majority of his break time lobbying for the bill he had written for the event.  At the awards ceremony at the end of the day, it was announced that he had won.

The Apopka tournament was the only novice-only tournament of the year and gives novice debaters a chance to compete with people at their own skill level, instead of against those with much more experience.

“It actually gives our novices a boost in confidence just because they don’t have to go up against varsity,” debate coach Julie Love said.

McNamara felt more confident going into this tournament after learning from his experience at his first tournament at Timber Creek, where he also placed first. The session did not differ in the processes and motions used.

McNamara plans to continue to keep his perfect Student Congress record.

“I’m working as hard as I can to do as best as I can in it, and I just love it,” McNamara said.

The team did particularly well overall, having only four participants against entire teams of debaters.  In addition to McNamara’s win, sophomore Gabby Valdez also placed second in Original Oratory.

The next tournament the team participates in will be the Blue Key tournament in Gainesville on Saturday, Oct. 31.