The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Debate anticipates strong season

Team looks forward to improvement 


Sitting in swivel chairs and on desktops, Park’s debate team met after school Oct. 15 for practice. Sophomore David Hope leaned on a table, listening to coach Charles McClung, while his teammates congratulated Richard Shmikler on his recent win at a local tournament.
Freshman Caroline Nathan, who joined the team this year, said she is excited to take on a new activity while improving her academic abilities.

“Debate will help me meet new people, which I like,” Nathan said. “I think it will also help me prepare for tests like the ACT and SAT.”

This year, although the team has struggled with a slow start to recruit new members, second year debater senior Sam Clausen-McKiver said he is optimistic about the upcoming season.

“I can see why people might shy away from debate,” he said. “But anyone who tries it will see that it’s actually really fun and not that stressful.”

Similarly, coach McClung said he thinks Park will continue to excel in the national debate circuit despite low recruitment numbers.

“Our team has historically had a hard time getting new members so this lag doesn’t worry me,” McClung said. “What I think we’ll see this year is our varsity debaters dominating around the country and novices really getting a feel for the activity.”

Senior captain Richard Shmikler, who recently won the varsity Ray Kolbe Memorial Debate Tournament, said he sees this year as an opportunity for the team to grow as a whole.

“Our varsity team will continue with the progress we made last year,” Shmikler said. “Those successes will help the novice class, who are just getting their feet wet and learning about debate.”

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Debate anticipates strong season