V, a current debater at Central High School, was a quarterfinalist at JV/Novice State, along with partner Graham Whitney.
In the next installment of our “Day in the Life of a Virtual Debater” series, we spoke with V Wiedl. They’re a senior debater at Central High School. V was a quarterfinalist at JV Novice State! V has competed in policy debate, speech, and Financial Literacy Leadership Debates. Learn more about what they’ve gotten from the experience:
Why did you join debate?
I got into debate through speech, as a lot of my teammates who were in that were also in debate. They encouraged me to join, and here I am! The reason I wanted to do debate and speech is because I am a pretty anxious person, and I wanted to overcome my anxiousness surrounding public speaking. The reason I keep doing it is that I have a really supportive team, really good friends in it, and I like to think I’m good at it. The reason I wanted to debate this year, despite the pandemic, is that it’s my last year to do high school debate. I also strive to be better at debate. To do that, I have to keep at it!
What’s it like to do school and debate online now?
Online debate is a little different from online school, mostly because of the video chat service they use. Unlike Google Meets, which is the service we use in school, the Tabroom video chat service is pretty glitchy, and I have often had audio issues. Also, with debate, we do far more work within the day of the tournament. For example, in online school we have two 1 hour classes per day, while a tournament is usually around 6 hours of debating.
There are loads of differences between online and real life debate. Not all of the differences are bad though. A disadvantage is that not many people turn on their cameras, myself included, so you can’t use facial expressions to convey emotions. An advantage to online debate is that I can sit in my pjs, and nobody knows. Another disadvantage is technical difficulties. Those aren’t fun at all. Another advantage is that my partner and I use our phones to talk to each other during prep, and mute ourselves on the call, so our opponents have absolutely no idea what we have planned.
What did you get out of debating this season?
I think a lot of people, myself included, were educated throughout this season. The criminal justice topic was handled pretty well. One concern of mine going into this season was that people would be flippant or disrespectful concerning the topic or the civil unrest of this year. I found most people we debated were respectful, and serious about the subject.
I got a lot more experienced this season, and I feel far more confident as a debater. Overall, I am very proud of what my partner and I have accomplished.
JV/Novice State was a whole lot of fun! I’m honestly quite surprised we got so far, but I’m really really proud. My goals going in were to win one affirmative round and win one negative round, then all of a sudden we were in the quarter eliminations! I feel really good having state be my last tournament of my high school years.
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