PA students place at debate competition

Maggie Booze, Staff Writer

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By Maggie Booze

Junior Sama Kubba and junior Isabel Ferguson were awarded at the recent VHSL invitational Debate Competition at Clover Hill High School. PA’s debate team traveled to Northern Virginia to Clover Hill High School for an invitational VHSL tournament.

“I went up there with no paper, nothing in my hand. I had a couple memorized speeches just in case I messed up, but I just went up there and started talking. I had never done that before, but I guess it worked!

“In debate in general, not just Student Congress, I feel like debate is so underestimated sometimes,” said Kubba, who placed second in Student Congress.. “I’m from the Middle East, so women aren’t exactly given the opportunity to express themselves. We don’t have freedom of speech. Even in the court of law, one man is literally equivalent to two women in a lot of Middle Eastern countries. We don’t get those opportunities. So to be able to come here and actually have freedom of through, freedom of expression, and freedom of speech, I actually get to put that into practice what is guaranteed by the constitution. That’s what I love about debate. I can actually exercise a right I don’t think I would have had anywhere else in the world.”

Ferguson placed fourth with her international resolution to abolish the United Nations International Criminal Court as it is “not fulfilling its original purpose.”

“This is my third year doing Student Congress and in the future I hope that I can place even higher as I continue to improve,” said Ferguson.

The competition had two sessions that were two hours each.

The competition  models actual Congress with actual senators who introduce legislation, speak about legislation, and vote on either a bill or a resolution. The members of the chamber are given one of the eight topics beforehand, which are divided into four categories: Domestic, International, Economic, and Virginia, which are further divided into subcategories. After submitting their bill or resolution online beforehand, senators show up to a competition with their legislation and their prepared speeches where they “garner support for legislation,” said Kubba. “It’s kinda similar to model UN in that way but on a congressional level.”

“The emphasis on Student Congress is that you’re able to further debate. You’re trying your best to not just educate yourself on it, but also come up with a solution that is going to benefit everyone,” said Kubba.