Montville - Eighteen Public Forum (PF) debate teams from six area middle schools participated in a high school style speech and debate tournament at Montville Township High School on Friday November 2.. Frelinghuysen Middle School (FMS) of Morristown sent four pairs of PF debaters to the tournament: Allison Rush/Jack Raiz, Margaret Bautista/Naomi Williams, Nolan O'Donnell/Matt McDonald, and Olivia Chowdhury/Lucas Ha.
Each FMS team won at least one debate. Teams were ranked not only on their won-lost record, but also on speaker points for style and substance. Chowdhury and Ha brought home a third place medal for winning two of three debates on the night. Rush and Raiz won both of their matches (with one bye).
On October 1st, the resolution "Resolved: The United States Federal Government should impose price controls on the pharmaceutical industry" was released by the National Speech & Debate Association. This topic is utilized by high school debate tournaments nationwide during the months of November and December.
The FMS students researched the resolution and built a set of speeches and "attack cards" in order to ready themselves for the tournament. The team is now setting their sites on competing in other middle school tournaments and possibly entering some high school events at the "novice" level - a category normally reserved for high school freshmen and sophomores.
The debates were ably judged by varsity debaters from the Montville High Speech & Debate team. The Montville Mustangs are a perennial "top 5" NJ team. The FMS competitors received invaluable feedback on their "ballots" which will enable them to take their skills to the next level. Commented one of the judges after one debate, "I am so impressed ... you are going far once it's your time to join the high school circuit."
Team advisor Bruce Chamberlain said of the group: "I could not be prouder of the effort these students have shown over the past five weeks. This (level of competition) is all new for me as well. Now that we 'know what we didn't know' the sky is the limit for these academic champions."
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