Debate club members Aditya Mathur, from left, Kyle Campbell, Chauncey Scales and Armon Mobashar competed in the Over the Mountain Rotary Classic at Vestavia Hills High School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Debate club members Aditya Mathur, from left, Kyle Campbell, Chauncey Scales and Armon Mobashar competed in the Over the Mountain Rotary Classic at Vestavia Hills High School. (CONTRIBUTED)

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Vestavia Hills tourney hears power of Bob Jones Debate Team

Published 3:52pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013

MADISON – The complicated issue of American-Chinese diplomacy didn’t stymie the Bob Jones High School Debate from nabbing first place at a recent tournament.

Senior Kyle Campbell and freshman Aditya Mathur’s team and senior Chauncey Scales and freshman Armon Mobashar’s team entered the Over the Mountain Rotary Classic at Vestavia Hills High School on Feb. 23.

“Both teams competed in novice public forum, a style of debate that requires participants to argue for or against a resolution” and deliver ideas so an average person can understand, coach Kristen Bergeson said. Novices have less than one year of experience.

After winning four out of five preliminary rounds, the Campbell/Mathur team took first place for their division. Campbell won third place among individual speakers. Sixteen high schools competed.

The Bob Jones team is in its first year. Bergeson paired seniors, who had competed in one tournament, with freshmen teammates without experience.

Their resolution was “On balance, the rise of China is beneficial to the interests of the United States.” One month in advance, the National Forensic League selects resolutions at all tournaments. Beforehand, teams don’t know which side they will debate.

Supporting arguments focused on Chinese/American interdependency. “The United States receives a large percentage of China’s exports,” and those goods cost less than made-in-the-USA products, Bergeson said about that approach.

“As a defensive move, our winning team pointed out that U.S. military spending is more than the next 10 countries’ military spending combined. (China) lags far behind,” Bergeson said. The ‘con’ argument covered pollution and loss of American jobs.

“Kyle and Aditya won their debates by presenting their arguments clearly, using sound logic to refute their opponents’ claims and remaining calm and composed under pressure,” Bergeson said.

After losing the coin toss in the final round, “Kyle and Aditya were forced to argue against the resolution … their weaker argument. However, they quickly refuted their opponents’ claims line by line and won the judges over,” Bergeson said.

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