Freshman debaters organize summer program


inspireDebate Registration Form

With the goal of teaching younger students public speaking and debating skills, freshman Alicia Wang, along with fellow varsity debaters Gulnaz Sayed, Lulu Lin and Rachel Ma, plans to start a week-long program over the summer instructing others on the art of debate. The program, named inspireDebate, is an opportunity for students of interest to receive advice from experienced, nationally-ranked debaters for small cost.

“Our camp is actually running for charity, which is to say our main goal is to help others,” founder Alicia Wang said. Wang’s inspiration for the debate program came a month ago, stemming from her own love for the art of public speech. “I thought about what I could do to raise money, and I thought debate would be a great way to do that.”

Once the idea had been set, Wang worked with fellow debaters as well as her family to make the dream a reality.

“Essentially I started everything off by myself with my sister and my mom,” Wang said. “We made excels of deadlines and an action plans to see what needed to be done. I’d have to say my parents have been really good about sending the word around. My dad has been taking a journey around the schools and internet to see who we could find.”

The inspireDebate program is targeted towards rising 6th to 9th graders, instructing them in the basics of debate as well as its different forms: Parliamentary, Policy, Lincoln Douglass, and Public Forum. It will  take place in two week-long sessions, the first running from June 22. to June 27, the second from August 17. to August 22. The registration fee is at $180 dollars, with about $30 dollars per day. All fundings will be donated to charity organizations and local high schools.  Varsity-level TJHSST debaters and RCMS Debate alumni teach aspiring debaters in eight-hour classes with topics such as research preparation, logical argument, refutation, and improvisational thinking: a crucial asset beyond high school, in college and in future careers. The lessons learned in debate are useful throughout life.

“First, it teaches you to lose, and sometimes very badly,” Wang said. “It teaches you how to pick up from your mistakes. Most importantly, it teaches you how to think and argue accordingly, which is very important in later years.”

Wang hopes to share her passion for public speech with younger students who might be interested in the subject.

“I enjoy the adrenaline of the debate when I’m up there in front of a judge,” Wang explained. “Mostly, I love thinking on the spot and successfully refuting my opponent with points I memorized and organized into a bank in my head.”