Debate introduces new mentor program

Advanced debate students mentor the novice debaters after school on Sept. 19.

Lizzy Arnold

Advanced debate students mentor the novice debaters after school on Sept. 19.

Lizzy Arnold, News Editor

De Soto High School’s debate team is split into two divisions: novice and advanced. This school year, however, a new after school program integrating the two has been implemented. Novice debaters now have an opportunity to get extra help through the help of mentors who are currently enrolled in advanced debate.

The meetings are held after school on pre-scheduled dates. At the meetings, novice debaters are able to ask questions and get  advice from the mentors. Sophomore Ethan Iddings has has one year experience in debate and believes that the mentoring is a good way to help new debaters get a better understanding of the program.

“Debate is kind of a confusing thing to learn,” Iddings said. “So they are able to come in and ask us questions. We help them build their cases, and we just hang out and work on debate.”

Junior Aylin Rocha has been involved in debate since her freshman year. She enjoys being able to help the novice debaters and believes that the advanced class can provide useful advice because of their recent experience as a high schooler in novice debate.  

“They understand and relate to us more as debaters because we understand what they are going through and have been in their shoes,” Rocha said.

As a novice debater, sophomore Sydney Ames has gotten a lot of useful advice from the advanced debate mentors. She feels that her cases are cleaner and better equipped for negative arguments after their help. She has stayed after school for three nights so far and her hard work has paid off.

Ames and her partner placed eighth of 40 teams in the season’s first novice tournament held at Gardner Edgerton High School on Sept. 16. Along with Ames’s personal accomplishments, the De Soto novice team altogether received first place at the tournament.

“This mentoring has been very helpful because I get experience and advice from people who are closer to my age and people with fresh high school experience,” Ames explained. “It’s important to get advice that is from people experiencing similar things to you.”

The DHS teams plan to keep working hard throughout the season and to continue the mentorship of novice debaters. The addition of after school mentoring has proven to be very effective and hopefully continues to help provide great results at future tournaments.