photo Julia Grossman                                                 James Malaugh

On April 21, Godwin’s debate team competed in the state competition.

The 2016 – 2017 school year has been a positive one for the team. Under the new leadership of French teacher and debate coach Laura Rhoades, they have attended several competitions – both practice and real conferences – and expanded beyond the traditional public forum debate style.

“This is my second year as the debate coach. I love the discussion the different topics bring to the table. James [Malaugh, senior captain] and Ying [Yuan, sophomore vice-captain] have done a great job this year prepping the team through games and competitive activities and getting ready for tournaments!” said Rhoades.

Public forum is a style of debate where two partners build a case both for and against a resolution, which is a simple statement on an issue like standardized testing or election reform. Usually, facts and statistics pulled from briefs are used to build the case.

The newer style that Godwin has adopted is called Lincoln Douglas, and entails only one person instead of teams of two. In Lincoln Douglas, issues of morality are argued more often than things that can be proved with numbers.


photo Julia Grossman                                                           Farid Cedeno

Debate captain senior James Malaugh and partner senior Farid Cedeno, who went to states, argued around replacing the electoral college with the popular vote. They build both a pro and con argument, because the side they speak for is determined by a coin toss.

After several fall practice competitions, six members of the team traveled to March conferences. Two teams went for public forum and two for Lincoln Douglas. Malaugh and Cedeno placed second in conference and went on to place first in the regionals. Godwin overall placed second in regionals, which were held at Lee Davis High School. in early February. States took place at Cosby High School.

At the time that this issue of the Eagles’ Eyrie was published, results from the state competition had not yet come in.

“Debate is a way to improve communication because it’s so important. Especially when you use it to talk to people from college. You make connections, and there’s definitely work involved, but I love it. It makes you a more informed, interesting person,” said Malaugh.


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©2019 Eagles' Eyrie - the school newspaper for Mills E. Godwin High School in Henrico, VA

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