The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) sent two teams to demonstrate parliamentary debate for Point Pleasant Borough High School in Point Pleasant, New Jersey earlier today. The debates were attended by students of Ms. Stefanie Garguilo’s two sections of debate class, newly offered this year at the high school on the shore. Stephen Yellin, Sean Leonard, Kurt Falk, and Russell Potter represented Rutgers in introducing parliamentary debate to the high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
In the first round, Yellin and Leonard proposed paying students for better grades on a means-tested basis, with Falk and Potter opposing. In the latter round, Falk and Potter proposed that the state ought mandate voting against the other pair.
The students seemed engaged by the rounds and impressed by the format of the debate, asking many questions about the preparation for the debates and the fluidity of participants’ speaking. Parliamentary debate differs largely from most formats they had prior studied in that it relies less on research and statistics, while depending more on logic and rhetoric.
Point Pleasant Borough High School may be starting a competitive debate team later this year or sometime next year.
RUDU is currently ranked sixth in the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA), with tournaments at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and Brown University upcoming this weekend.