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Seward Silver Salmons up against excellent debaters

Student’s in photograph (Left to Right):

  • Front Row (seated) Ayla Lapinskas, Karl Pfeiffenberger
  • Front Row (standing) Joel Williams
  • Second Row Kaylee Brockman, Creeanna Whitcome, Riley von Borstel, Ms. Lind
  • Third Row Brendan McMurray

The Seward Silver Salmons demonstrated an outstanding performance at the Middle School State Championship tournament. On Saturday, April 26, 2014, the Seward Middle School Debate Team joined 19 schools from the Anchorage School District at the University of Alaska, Anchorage for the Third Annual Middle School Debate State Championship Tournament. Team members Joel Williams, Ayla Lapinskas, Creeanna Whitcome, Kaylee Brockman, Karl Pfeiffenberger, Brendan McMurray, and Riley von Borstel did an outstanding job representing Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. The team was joined by several family members who offered their support and insightful advice.

The topics for the tournament were: (1) The University of Alaska should permit individuals to carry firearms on campus, (2) Eating meat is immoral, and (3) US citizens should be allowed to vote as early as age 12 provided they can pass a civic competency test.  Seward Silver Salmons went up against some excellent debaters. Awards were given for individual accomplishments in speaking and team performance; over all wins.  Joel Williams took 4th place overall out of 60 participants in speaker points. Joel earned a rousing round of applause from the audience. Kaylee Brockman was awarded 3rd place overall in speaker points and took home a trophy for her endeavors. The Seward team consisting of Creeanna Whitcome, Kaylee Brockman, and Riley von Borstel was awarded semi-finalist in debate and brought home a trophy. The team presented the trophy to Mr. Bickling, Seward Middle School (SMS) principal. The award is on display in the trophy case at the school.

Coach, Agusta Lind, was very proud of her team. Ms. Lind is the gifted and talented facilitator for Seward area schools, Moose Pass, and Hope School. This is the second year SMS has been involved in the debate program. “Debate is teaching students critical thinking skills and helping them hone their public speaking abilities,” reported Ms. Lind. Ms. Lind is also the coach of the Seward High School debate team. She hopes to use the middle school debate program as a feeder program for the high school program. “I foresee an amazing year for our high school team during the 2014-2015 school year. We have several four year veterans on the high school team. With the addition of seasoned, incoming freshmen it is going to be an exciting year.”

Debate affords students many educational and life-long skills. Students research the topics, learn how to defend a pro or con position, apply logic to arguments, think on their feet, learn public speaking skills, and so much more. Ms. Lind hopes that more middle schools on the Kenai Peninsula will become involved in this worthwhile program.

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