It is finally September; classes have just settled into the regular flow of assignments, and activities are back on track with meetings and practices. The varsity forensics team has now begun its 2017-2018 season with the annual KAIAC Forensics Clinic on Sept. 9. This year’s clinic, held at SIS, provided an opportunity for teams and judges from various schools to come together and learn from one another.
“The purpose of the clinic is threefold,” said Mr. Silber, coach of the Lincoln Douglas and Public Forum debate teams. “Firstly, to train new judges to judge properly, since KAIAC has many new judges this year. The second purpose was for students who are new to KAIAC–whether they are on our team here or from other schools—to learn how the tournaments work, how they can prepare for debates, and to get guidance from experienced debaters. The third purpose was for experienced students—the clinic was like a refresher, since they have not met as a team and debated since last year.”
Specifically, the clinic was largely divided into two sections: one section was for the adjudicators, and the other was for students. The clinic began with the adjudicators’ training, in which the SIS forensics coaches gave presentations on rules for judging each division of debate. The second section of the clinic was mainly for the debaters and speakers; each division gathered as a group, and the experienced captains taught the basics of debating to the new debaters along with some useful tips.
“Even though I do have experience as a debater, I felt that the clinic helped me a lot in getting to know the other members of our parliamentary team, including our captains,” said Joanne Yang (9), a new member of the parliamentary debate team. “The captains talked to us about how to be a better debater in forensics. And since most of the tournaments I have been to do not follow the KAIAC debate format, I found their help really useful.”
In addition to helping these new members of the forensics team, the clinic also provided an opportunity for returning members to transition into this year’s season. As seasoned debaters and speakers, these members were able to learn as they taught the new students and reflected upon their strategies and tips for debating. Moreover, while the fundamental purpose of the clinic may have been to teach less experienced debaters, veterans of the team still found the session to be an enjoyable team-bonding experience.
“I want to emphasize that the clinic helped remind us all that KAIAC forensics is a community,” said Heewon Kim (12), co-captain of the public forum debate team. “Although our returning members already seemed like a family before this clinic, we became even more close-knit while helping other students out. We had a lot of fun, and the clinic enabled us to start the season without having to break the ice.”