What is policy debate and why do so many successful leaders in the medical field, the law, the business world and government credit their success to being involved in policy debate?
That question can be easily answered by Niles West and Niles North Debate teams, who had exceptional competitive seasons last year and now look forward to opening the 2012-13 season by hosting the Third annual Niles Township Invitational Debate Tournament.
The tournament is a Finals Tournament of Champions (TOC) Bid in Policy Debate, which means that in order to qualify for the national policy debate championship, debate teams must receive two TOC bids. The Niles Township Invitational Debate Tournament can be considered one of those bids.
In the fall of 2010, Niles West teacher Eric Oddo started a debate team at Niles West High School after years without one. The team immediately met with success.
In the fall of 2011, Niles North got its own debate team under the leadership of Katie Gjerpen.
Now, all incoming freshmen will have to take a public speaking course during their high school careers, and an “Intro to Debate” class will be one of several possibilities that meet the requirement, as well as an honors-level debate course for members of the debate teams. The district also will host a tournament this fall that will help winning teams qualify for the national Tournament of Champions.
The community is invited to attend the tournament to view the fascinating world of policy debate and watch top high school teams in action on Sept. 14 through 16 at Niles West, 5701 W. Oakton St.
This year’s policy debate topic is: “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States.” Close to 20 schools from five states will participate in the tournament. Round 1 begins at 5 p.m. on Friday. The Final round will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16. The tournament schedule can be viewed at www.joyoftournaments.com under Niles Township Invitational.
Niles West Head Debate Coach Eric Oddo encourages the public to watch a few of the debates, not only because the tournament will bring competitive teams but because, “I think it’s important that the community realizes what policy debate is and why it increases academic achievement.”