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Reflections from an AGD debater - Jenny

NHSDLC (The National High School Debate League of China) is the largest foreign-language high school debate league in China, and this is precisely its first year in Shenyang, Liaoning. In other words, the debaters who participated in this tournament in Shenyang are actually making some kind of history.

My partner and I started preparing for the debate tournament in October, just a few weeks after the topic of this debate was released. The preparation for the debate required considerable patience and efforts. As the second speaker, I had to anticipate every contention our opponents might make and write refutations to them. During that process, we attended special training from David Weeks (NHSDLC President and Academic Director) and learned how to think like a debater.

As you might know, this is exactly the first debate in my life, so I was inquisitive yet extremely nervous. Luckily, after a few rounds in preliminary debates, I was totally into it. Subsequently, I was more than surprised when I realized that during the debate we could actually come up with some really persuasive arguments, which had not been written previously.

In the preliminary rounds and the first few elimination rounds, the opponents’ arguments were all as expected. Nevertheless, in the final round, our opponents had really discreet framework and made compelling contentions, which were hard for us to rebut. After that round, I admitted that we did learn a lot, not only the logic and critical thinking techniques, but also the impressive gestures and the powerful eye contact.

Win or lose doesn’t matter, it’s what we learned truly counts. What we want to emphasize is that we all had a Great time during those debate rounds.

In the film The Great Debaters, one of the most thought-provoking sentences was: "Debate is blood sport. It's combat. But your weapons are words." Ultimately, I hope I can share some lines in this film with all the debaters:

Melvin B. Tolson: Who is the judge?

The Debaters: The judge is God.

Melvin B. Tolson: Why is he God?

The Debaters: Because he decides who wins or loses. Not my opponent.

Melvin B. Tolson: Who is your opponent?

The Debaters: He does not exist.

Melvin B. Tolson: Why does he not exist?

The Debaters: Because he is a mere dissenting voice of the truth I speak!

 So speak the truth if you want to triumph.

- Jenny

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