Debate Students Qualify for Nationals in Fort Lauderdale


Miranda Grayzel-Ward

Four Oxford High School Students will be competing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, later this spring at the National Catholic Forensic League Tournament.

Senior Peyton Farmer and sophomore William Solomon qualified in the Lincoln Douglas debate category, a unique form of debate in which a single student debates about morals and ethics.

“(Lincoln Douglas) is a little bit easier,” Solomon explained about why he prefers Lincoln Douglas Debate over other forms. “I am able to get a full idea out versus something like Public Forum debate.”

Solomon initially did not qualify for nationals, but when the tournament was scheduled for senior graduation, many students could not attend.

“I was an alternate at first, but the tournament was set for senior graduation,” Solomon said. “Initially I was in sixth or seventh place.”

Solomon is excited for nationals and is working hard on creating something different in his speeches.

“I am trying to figure out how most people’s speeches are formatted, so that when I am making my speech I can try to create something that others will not be using as their standards,” Solomon said.

Freshman Joanna Bu placed third at the tournament, qualifying for nationals in Public Forum with her partner, sophomore Rebecca Grayzel-Ward. Public Forum debate is a partner debate that focuses on current issues using research from multiple sources.

“We basically use facts, facts, facts, like according to blah blah blah,” Bu said.

Bu was the only freshman that qualified for nationals and was very surprised.

“I didn’t expect to qualify because this is only my third tournament out of the entire school year,” Bu said. Qualifying “was quite surprising and great.”

Debate coach Barbara Lowe does not know how her students will do but is confident that they have potential for advancing and potentially placing at nationals.

“It’s hard to know how they’ll do at nationals,” Lowe said. “Debaters from all 50 states compete. If our debaters are well-prepared, they have a real shot of advancing.”