A place to argue and learn

Debate club to officially start soon


Photo by Photo by Alex Ketcham

Rony Ochakovski, freshman club founder, plans for first meeting of debate club. Ochakovski hopes for members to enjoy the learning opportunity.

LZHS has long been missing an extracurricular that many other high schools nearby already have: a debate team. However, this will not be the case much longer. A debate club at school is starting soon, due to the efforts of two students who wish make a contribution to the school and its students.

Michelle Katz and Rony Ochakovski, freshmen, have collaborated to start a debate team, which will open its doors to new members in two to three weeks. This club will be an opportunity for students who are interested, according to Ochakovski, to partake in a learning experience unlike any offered in a classroom.

“We wanted to make this club because it gives people a chance to express their passion and it also educates students that don’t currently have that opportunity here at LZ,” Ochakovski said.

In order to help achieve these goals for students, the debate team will participate in competitions against other schools to test their abilities.

“We would compete against other schools in a bracket format. If the team wins, they would go on to the next round,” Katz said, “[Competitors] would have these topics to talk about and there would be these three judges who would ask out questions to see whoever has the best withstanding debate,” Katz said.

One challenge of the competition is that questions are not revealed until the time of the competition. To prepare, members of the debate club would have practices on Mondays before school and Thursdays after school. According to Ochakovski, these practices will “expose [members] to how the different types of competitions work, how to properly do research, how to present your case, and how to think on the spot.”

These practices are not just a way to get ready for upcoming competitions. According to Ochakovski, they are also a way for members to better their everyday lives, which all ties back into the original reason for the creation of the club.

“Our overall goal for this club is to teach students how to support their topics and what they’re saying, especially in school when they have to write essays and fight for their arguments,” Katz said.

Although the club’s goal may soon be realized, Katz and Ochakovski agree that there have been many struggles along the way; not only did they have a difficult time finding a sponsor, but there were concerns over the similarities between the new debate club and the current political science club and speech and acting club.

“Debate club is more serious than [the political science] club, [because] they do a lot of talking amongst themselves, and takes a different direction than speech and acting [because] they practice public speaking,” Ochakovski said. “Debate Team will teach all of these useful skills of communication and research while competing in state-wide events specifically centered around debate.”

Having faced many obstacles in their way, the debate team will soon be added to the school’s current list of extracurriculars. Students who are interested in taking part can sign up with either Katz or Ochakovski.