Debate Team Makes it to Nationals

The T.C. Williams High School competitive debate team set a new milestone for the school at the Grand National Debate Tournament last month. T.C. Williams competed in the nationals for the first time in the school’s history and finished with a 3-2 win/loss record.

Last year we were the alternate qualifier, this year we qualified. Next year I’m counting on Jay to take it all the way,” said Fred, who graduated from T.C. Williams last weekend.

The team is part of the National Catholic Forensic League, which was started as a league for Catholic schools, but is now a competitive debate league that includes public and private schools. To compete in the nationals, a two-person debate team, made up of senior Fred Delawie and sophomore Jay Falk, must be in the top six in the region. Fred and Jay placed fourth.

Jay and Fred are a pleasure to work with. Their work ethic and focus are impressive, and the way they work with each other and respect their opponents while being fiercely competitive is noble. It’s always a joy to see such determined and kind students do well,” said debate team coach Laurel Taylor.

Student debate teams encourage collaboration in conducting research, formulating strategies and preparing arguments. They learn how to master basic public speaking and research skills as well as logic and reasoning.

I absolutely love debate. It’s one of the best things I decided to join. Through debate, I’ve learned how to develop arguments, how to make nuanced arguments and how different things can impact an argument. Debate taught me how to look at arguments other people are making. It helped me learn how to research, think and have conversations about things that are impacting the world,” Jay said.

For Fred it has been transformative.

I’ve been in debate for four years. I had never talked about or thought about the world, politics or international relations, and then suddenly I needed to know everything about them in order to advance. That really got me involved in learning things and volunteering for campaigns and things in order to change the world for what I hope is the better. Everything that we have been taught is thanks to our coach, Laurel Taylor. I credit her with teaching us and giving us the drive to succeed and get as far as we have,” Fred said.

ACPS, Alexandria City High School