School hosts tournament over MLK Weekend

School hosts tournament over MLK Weekend
By Athalia Meron’21

MSPDP Debaters.jpg
Seventh grade debaters sit after a round. Printed with permission of Mike Bietz.

The debate team held a tournament from Jan. 12-16 at the Upper School, with over 350 participants from 74 schools in 13 states. Middle and upper School debaters competed in and helped run the tournament. This is the second year that the school hosted this tournament.
The first two days were the debateLA Round Robin, which was held at the Burbank Airport Marriott. The next two days, held at the Upper School, was a Lincoln Douglas-style tournament. On the last day, which was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there was a Parliamentary style tournament, also at the Upper School.
The tournament ended in a public debate on a Civil Rights issue. Its goal was to demonstrate what debate can teach regarding political involvement. The final debate was held in world schools format, and featured Team USA, who compete at the World Championships. Since the tournament was during MLK weekend, the team wanted to honor the legacy of Dr. King, which they did by holding the public Civil Rights debate.
“There aren’t many tournaments dedicated to doing things the way we think they should be done,” debate program head Mike Bietz said.
For example, tournament judges are usually predominantly white males. However, the school hired judges who were all women or people of color.
Debaters of all skill levels and grades participated at the tournament.
“[The tournament] strengthens our team because everyone is involved and doing something collectively,” Bietz said.
Students volunteered to help run the tournament and spoke of their experience.
“I volunteered because I think debate is an important and fun activity, and I wanted to support the program. I had lots of fun doing it with my friends,” Samantha McLoughlin ’21 said.