After Harvard summer camp, debater brings experience to season

Lauren+Wiegand

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Lauren Wiegand

Over the summer while some students were avoiding AP homework, marching for hours under the gruelling sun, or conditioning for a fall sport, junior Lauren Wiegand and sophomore Jackie Alexander were at debate camp.

Wiegand stayed in Boston for two weeks and learned new techniques at the Harvard Debate Council Summer Workshops. As well as learning more about debate, campers got three days to experience Boston, Cambridge, and the school itself.

“Going to Harvard debate camp was a fabulous experience. I got to learn techniques from national champions, and that’s what everyone aspires to be,” Wiegand said.

In addition to learning argumentation techniques, Weigand also learned different speaking skills such as hand gestures, speech writing, and presentation. Weigand admitted that it was a change of environment but not different than a debate class.

“Class is where you acquire your skills and camp is fine tuning those skills, making [you] the best debater you can be,” Weigand said.

Sophomore Jackie Alexander also went to a debate camp this summer. Nebraska Debate Institute (NDI) was hosted by Millard North high school in Omaha, and students from around the Midwest came to participate.

“It helped me excel, as someone who is very afraid of public speaking, and I became more confident in myself,” Alexander said. “Everyone in my class and the teacher, they could see a huge improvement.”

NDI taught Alexander how to debate, write cases, and present. Alexander said that they taught her different elements to add, and to put emphasis on humor or human interest rather than economic impacts.

Debate coach Jamie McCaw recommends the camps to her debate students because it shows them “the flow of how rounds work, and how research works and working with other people even works.” McCaw said that the camps are helpful when it comes to teaching students what good research and case writing looks like.

“It’s just a really good experience, it helps [them] be advanced on everything because it gives you extra practice,” McCaw said. “And extra practice with debate makes you so much better.”

Both girls are bringing back techniques and information for this debate season. Alexander hopes to improve herself, and implement more confidence and wins. Wiegand wants to try to implement a framework on different things such as introduction techniques and using strategies to appeal to judges.

The Bellevue West debate team will compete at Millard West on Dec. 5-6.

Rae Rangel
Features Editor