Sam Schepps ’18
Contrary to popular belief and the evidence seen in this election cycle, debate is not as easy or as simple as repeating a few well-rehearsed applause lines. This, however, does not prevent any of the members of Cherokee’s debate team from enjoying the experience and learning along the way as well.
Debate is comprised of a series of formal speeches and cross examinations on a topic, with one team, called the affirmative, attempting to create and support a plan addressing the topic, generally a foreign or domestic policy change. The other team, called the negative, attempts to argue that the plan fails to adequately address or fix the topic. While the topic remains consistent throughout the season, a great deal of research needs to be completed beforehand by both teams to be adequately prepared for the season ahead.
And it is here, with roughly two months of complex research under their belts, the season, under the direction of their coach, Mr. Ellis, begins. After this phase is complete and the pairings for both Varsity and JV affirmative and negative are decided, the team spends eight weeks debating their cases. This span saw the Varsity affirmative pairing amass an impressive record of seven wins to one loss. Over the same length, the Varsity negative team competed to a record of four wins to four losses, for a combined varsity record of eleven victories and five defeats. These standings were good for second in their six team division, just short of an opportunity at the championship of the league, which was won by Moorestown High School. Meanwhile, the JV team recorded a combined record of eight wins and six losses, good for fourth in the twelve team league.
But it is not just the wins and losses that matter to sophomore Nik Kadirisani, a member of the JV affirmative pairing and recipient of Cherokee’s JV Best Speaker award. No, instead, he says that it is the idea that the team “brings together different individuals, and makes them peers” under a common goal. He also adds that debate is an enriching and wonderful experience that teaches valuable communication skills and professional etiquette. Altogether, though, he concluded the interview with a two word summary of the whole experience: “It’s fun.”
And so, Cherokee’s debate team looks to begin the cycle anew next season, accepting any new members willing to participate, with the same optimistic outlook and positive chemistry demonstrated by its rising JV speaker. With every member of its Varsity affirmative and negative pairings returning, it also looks to improve on the high mark it set this past season, and challenge for a much larger prize, all the while maintaining the individuality and appreciation of the nuances of debate that made joining the club such a worthwhile experience for all its members.
What's White, Black and Read All Over?
Natasha Watta '18
When you pick up a copy of the school newspaper, you only see a fraction of what goes on behind the scenes in the process of making it. What exactly is the Scout? What goes into it? Why should I join? The Scout is a club here at Cherokee where students combine their efforts to create a published newspaper. Some aspects include writing articles, editing, running the website, and creating the layout you see in your hands. The kids involved learn how to write in AP style and improve their writing.
Students can apply for the position of a section editor, which can count as a leadership role for NHS. Editors suggest topics, refine the work of their peers, and get to go on a trip to Rutgers for the Garden State Scholastic Press Association. This year, as a section editor, I was fortunate enough to go on this trip. A speaker at the event was Mary Beth Tinker, from the 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District Supreme Court case regarding students’ freedom of speech. All of us who attended learned so much and were inspired to vamp up our newspaper.
The Scout is becoming bigger and better and so many talented kids are writing for it. Every year the Scout is entered in competitions against other schools. Everyone on our team is eager to show them what we as Cherokee Chiefs can do. But the writers aren't the only great thing about Scout. The club has phenomenal advisors that encourage writers, while helping the publishing process run smoothly. Mrs. Castor, Mrs. Henry and Mrs. Martinez are the heart and soul of the entire operation. It is always a blast to work with them as well as the rest of the newspaper staff. If you like to write, want to join a club, or just want to know more, then Scout is the place for you.