This past weekend, RHS Debate sent 18 students to state competition at UW-Whitewater. The team brought back several honors to its school and community, earning runner-up honors in both the Novice and Varsity Policy Division.
Policy Debate is centered upon one nation-wide resolution. The 2011-12 resolution was as follows: The United States federal governments should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of space beyond the Earth’s mesosphere. Students then compete in teams of two representing either the affirmative or negative side. Affirmative teams must create a need/plan case that addresses the resolution.
This year’s top scoring novice team proposed a lunar colony, while this year’s top scoring varsity team proposed space based solar power. As the negative, teams must demonstrate the flaws in the plan and/or introduce a counterplan that solves better.
The second place novice policy team consisted of sophomore Dylan Wendt, and junior Jordan Kaster affirming and seniors Asif Sadik and Mike Grunst negating. The second place varsity policy team consisted of senior Dan Meyer and junior Kayla Cook affirming and senior John Wyatt Keiffer and junior Ben Eversman negating.
While RHS was just shy of top honors in both divisions, their accomplishments are great given the extreme geographical disadvantage RHS has in the Wisconsin Debate Coaches Association. The school is by far the northernmost remaining team, frequently traveling four or more hours to attend tournaments. The WDCA is largely dominated by Milwaukee and Madison area schools, with the team that bested RHS hailing from Mukwonago High School. Rhinelander High School has debated exclusively in the policy division for many years. However, the team recently expanded its horizons to include participation in Public Forum debate. Public Forum topics rotate on a monthly basis, and require two person teams to write both a pro and con case, with their position being determined by a coin flip prior to the start of each round.
Being new to the field of Public Forum, the team was pleased to have three separate Public Forum teams represent Rhinelander at the WSDT. While they did not enter the ranks of the top 10 in this division, seniors Gabrielle Dutton and Luke Lenard did make it to the octafinals in this division.