CX Debate team talks its way to State

CX Debate Team Talks their way to State
Posted on 03/13/2019
CX Debate team talks its way to State

“Dedication” is the word Nacogdoches High School debate coach Veronica York keeps coming back to when describing Stuart Beal and Fariha Sultana.

The pair will represent NHS March 22-23 at the state CX Debate competition in Austin after winning the regional competition held last month at Stephen F. Austin State University.

CX Debate competitions normally include three rounds that last roughly two hours each. That includes individuals from the opposing sides making speeches of eight and five minutes as well as time needed for cross examination, Beal said.

Those make for long days, said York. Most competition days begin around 5:30 a.m. when the team leaves for the site, and it’s not unheard for them to get back at 2 in the morning.

York said, “We’ve set off a few school alarms” with late-in-the-night arrivals back in Nacogdoches.

York, the instructor, has headed up the speech team for three years at NHS. She did the same thing in Longview and was the longtime UIL coordinator for Mission ISD, located near McAllen.

The state competition later this month will include the usual three rounds on the opening day, York said, then three more the second day for the teams able to advance.

It also comes at the end of Nacogdoches ISD’s spring break, meaning Beal and Sultana are sacrificing some of their time off, York said, something they’ve done willingly the entire competition season.

According to Beal and Sultana, in the CX Debate format it’s easier to be “for” something.”

“It’s a lot easier,” Beal said, “but it can also be a lot of fun to be against something.”

This year, the “something” up for debate is immigration – a timely topic. During the competition, Sultana and Beal have to defend a topic in one round then oppose it in the other. For the third round, there’s a coin flip to determine which side they go up against.

Preparation is everything. “Being able to know what we’re doing and talking about” is Sultana’s favorite part of CX Debate. And that requires an enormous amount of work ahead of time since they can’t know precisely from what direction the opposing team might approach the debate. In other words, they have to be prepared for any and all probabilities.

“The hardest thing is working with your partner,” said Beal, laughing before he finished the sentence. “It’s happened to both of us… we’ve watched the other one lose the round for us.”

Sultana agreed. “We both do damage control.”

Beal and Sultana began working toward the state competition roughly a year ago. Sultana, a junior, is in her third year in CX Debate, and Beal, a sophomore, joined the team after the season wrapped up a year ago.

They also attended debate camp last summer at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, York said.

“That’s the amount of dedication they have towards this,” she added.

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