ebola 16-9

The Francis Parker School’s debate team out-argued its competition on the topics of Ebola, education and the two-party system to take top honors in the countywide Helix Debate Tournament, school officials announced Tuesday.

The 14-member squad bested teams from nearly two dozen schools during the tournament at Helix Charter High School in La Mesa on Saturday. The contest was hosted by the San Diego Imperial Valley Speech League.

“Parliamentary debate is extemporaneous and thus extremely difficult because teams have to be ready to present a convincing argument on any subject, regardless of their comfort level with the material,” team captain Hadley DeBello said. “Team members had no knowledge of their topic or their position until 20 minutes before each round began.”

Teams were given three separate topics to debate: “Physical education should be valued above the arts”; “The U.S. should limit travel from nations suffering from the Ebola outbreak”; and “The American two-party system is a threat to democracy.”

School officials said Parker’s team was split so members could argue either side.

“The team is extremely proud of its win,” DeBello said. “San Diego regional competitions are very competitive, and it is incredible that a team as young as ours could defeat programs that have been running for over a decade.”

—City News Service