BLHS Hosts Annual Debate Tournament

Senior+Claire+Walsh+paints+a+sign+to+hang+outside+the+tab+room.+Inside+the+tab+room%2C+host+debaters+work+with+coach+Rebecca+Knowles+to+tabulate+scores.
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BLHS Hosts Annual Debate Tournament

Senior Claire Walsh paints a sign to hang outside the tab room. Inside the tab room, host debaters work with coach Rebecca Knowles to tabulate scores.

Senior Claire Walsh paints a sign to hang outside the tab room. Inside the tab room, host debaters work with coach Rebecca Knowles to tabulate scores.

Photo by: Calder Hollond

Senior Claire Walsh paints a sign to hang outside the tab room. Inside the tab room, host debaters work with coach Rebecca Knowles to tabulate scores.

Photo by: Calder Hollond

Photo by: Calder Hollond

Senior Claire Walsh paints a sign to hang outside the tab room. Inside the tab room, host debaters work with coach Rebecca Knowles to tabulate scores.

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On Saturday Nov. 19, students from all around Kansas came to Basehor to argue for fun. Using her past experience, coach Rebecca Knowles helped make the guests feel welcomed at the home hosted debate tournament.

“This is the ninth year that I’ve been in charge of the home debate tournament,” Knowles said. “And fourteen schools showed up for our tournament today.”

The tournament started at 8 a.m. and ended around 4 p.m. Not every tournament ends at the same time because of the different debaters and cases. Each round is approximately an hour, and there are five rounds in a tournament.

In class two days before the tournament, host debaters work to get things ready. They write out slips of paper with the name of each debate team on them.

Photo by: Calder Hollond
In class two days before the tournament, host debaters work to get things ready. They write out slips of paper with the name of each debate team on them.

“You have an affirmative side and a negative side. The affirmative side presents a case over the resolution, and the negative side tries to discredit that case,” Knowles said. “It goes back and forth through arguments, evidence, and cross examinations. Rebuttals will happen towards the end.”

Unfortunately for the host debaters, they don’t get to participate in the home tournament.

It is a KSHSAA rule that schools that host don’t compete in their home tournament,” Knowles said. “It wouldn’t be fair if the judges knew the debater(s).”

Even though the host debaters don’t get to participate by debating, they still get the chance to be involved. They help run the tournament by being timekeepers, hallway monitors, front desk workers, hospitality room monitors. The judges were volunteers recruited by the host debaters. They were members of the community, teachers, family members, and friends.

“I was a ballot collector,” senior Hunter Small said. “I made sure everything is graded correctly, then I take it to the tab room.”

During the awards ceremony, coaches and debaters held their breaths as the final scores were revealed. There were three overall team winners in the tournament. In first place was DeSoto, in second was Piper, and in third was Tonganoxie. First place for a pair of debaters went to two DeSoto students.

“Today was a pretty fun and overall good day,” junior Pierce Allen said.

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