Perkins Advances to Finals at Capital Congress

Kristen Orsak, Opinion Editor

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Mark Perkins advanced to finals when the debate team traveled to, Austin, TX, to compete in the annual Capital Congress meet November 28-29 .

“You always hope that your kids will be champions,” debate coach Doug Moore said. “But there is the reality that this is the hardest tournament you can go to. There is even an interest in making this a TOC (Tournament of Champions) qualifier, simply because the competition is so difficult.”

The level of competition at this tournament was much higher than most that the team attends. It is a level below the difficulty of the Tournament of Champions, which is a national tournament for high level debaters. Even the beginners were placed in rooms with some very difficult competition.

“This is just tough competition,” Moore said. “We had many get close to advancing to finals, and one who did advance. Therefore, I am very pleased with the outcome. This will definitely make the UIL State Tournament easier for Mark and Esther.”

Moore chose to attend this conference for the sake of getting practice in for the debaters attending state.

“I made it into finals at Capital Congress,” junior debater Mark Perkins said. “I received a medal for making it into finals, but was only ranked in the middle of the room while there. I can definitely say that the competition was very intense. Much more than most contests that we attend.”

According to the National Speech and Debate Association, “Congressional debate is a mock legislative assembly competition where students draft bills (proposed laws) and resolutions (position statements), which they and their peers later debate and vote to pass into law and then take action on by voting for or against the legislation.” The heavier level of competition is typically placed in the Senate, while the lower levels are usually placed in the House of Representatives.

“Capital Congress was more than likely my last chance for congressional debate ever again because I am a senior,” senior debater Esther Mergerson said. “It was kind of bittersweet for me because it was my last. I hoped I would have done better, but it just wasn’t my day.”

This competition was a neat experience for every debater. Congressional debate is one of the many forms of debate that the team participates in.

“I was in the Senate,” sophomore debater Jack Callen Watlington said. “I like to think of myself as a pretty good debater, especially in congress, but I was not even close to the best in the room I was in. The people there could very likely be future senators. They were out for blood.”

Every debater has a favorite type of debate that they find during their first year of debate. This is typically the event that they shine in.

“I was in a novice house,” freshman debater Obed Lopez said. “I have only tried congress once. This was a huge leap compared to what I did. I was almost admiring the other debaters. I did learn a lot at this conference though.”

Debate is a very formal way of speaking. You learn things such as; etiquette, proper speaking, respect, enunciation, and eliminating nerves in speaking situations.

“I will definitely miss Congress,” Mergerson said. “But I am excited to see how far Mark and I can go in CX (Cross-Examination Debate) this year. I am glad that I got to experience this level of debate before I graduated though. I really hope that this is a competition the debate program continues to attend for years to come.”