Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Eboni Johnson
Middle College High School
There are many debate teams located around the Memphis area. But most of those debate teams do not stay number one for four years straight like the Middle College High School Debate Team.
The motto that Middle College High School uses is “second to none.” One person who truly knows about winning and giving it their all is the Memphis Urban Debate League League Director Dwight Fryer.
“Being on a winning team can get very difficult,” Fryer said.
Students on the Middle College team echoed Fryer’s sentiment.
“You have to really have a heart for it. It is very competitive between all teams,” said senior Alexis Nicole Thornton, a varsity member on the debate team. She has been a proud Bulldog since her sophomore year and a dedicated debate member since then.
All the debates that the league has are free of charge and are take place all over Memphis.
Middle College has a coach that has been involved with debate for six years. To the debate team Marian Crooks, is a particularly strong asset.
“As a coach, Ms. Crooks is unbelievable,” debate team member Mary Pirtle said. “She is patient when it comes to debate. She teaches us everything that is important in debate. As a debater I have learned so much from her.”
“When you’re debating, Ms. Crooks makes it challenging for you, she won’t give you any answers, and you have to look them up yourself. She would help you when you needed it but she would not let you slack off,” former debate member Breana Collier said. “It’s a lot of research that has to be done and no time for slacking off. It’s fun when you get the hang of it but sometimes it is very completive. She is the best debate instructor ever simply because she knows what she is doing, and if you don’t believe me, walk in her room and what you will see explains it all.”
Every member on the team is challenged to speak in front of many people and argue real-life problems that are happening around the United States and in different countries around the world.
The Middle College team practices every Wednesday after school for debate preparation Members must remain free of distraction and work hard to add to the bulging Middle College debate trophy case.
Each year, the debate team takes a week-long trip to Washington, D.C to participate in the finals of the Memphis Debate League and also just to enjoy themselves. They attend parties, go out to eat and spend time with each other.
Yet, besides a trip to Washington and championship wins, the Middle College debate team could list another potential benefit to students: growth.
“As a freshman at Middle College High, I was very anxious to debate. I thought it was difficult and challenging, but after I went to the first meeting, I have grown to know a lot of non-experienced debaters which made me feel more conformable debating,” Pirtle said.