Brooklyn, NY

On December 22nd, the year ended with an in-house tournament for our novice-level elementary and middle school debaters. Our elementary debaters – some as young as second grade – really wowed everyone at Early Scholars across the board. Debate coach, Margarita Artoglou, said, "Honestly, I was worried about a few students. The fear of speaking in public, for them, was so intense that they cried during some class sessions." However, she went on to say that "whether you're watching students who came to the starting line uninhibited or those who had showed precursors of social anxiety, it was clear that immersing young students in social dialogue facilitates confidence." And Margarita was right. We watched these kids face their fears, and conquer them. This in-house tournament was a great way for our newest debaters to get a taste of competition before facing high-level regional competitions. The middle schoolers participated in public forum rounds. They also took part in a theatrical speech, a new event at Early Scholars. In our theatrical speech event, students took positions as heads of state and argued and acted out the benefits of the U.S. federal government’s use of offensive cyber operations from the vantage point of different countries. Actually acting out their arguments helped both the students and their audience conceptualize their reasoning, making it much easier to understand the resolution as well.

Elementary Parliamentary
Top Teams
Alexa & Audrey, first place team
2. Annabelle, Mason, & Kevin, second place team
3. Skyler & Evan, third  place team

Top Speakers
Alexa, first place
Mason, second place
Aimee, third  place

Middle School Public Forum
Top Teams
Ryan & Anna, first place team
Vinay & Jayden, second place team
Jamie & Hanna, third  place team

Top Speakers
Ryan, first place
Jamie, second place
Jayden, third  place