Students at Manhattan High continue to debate despite pandemic, new debate style

Education 21st Century

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Students at Manhattan High School like Crysteen Brown are continuing their love for high school debate despite having to adjust due to the pandemic.

With the challenges that the pandemic has brought, debates look different than year’s past.

“We went to the tournaments, you know you have all the rounds, you get frustrated, but you have your good moments,” said Brown, describing in-person debates.

For rookies on the team like Jordyn West, the new debate style feels more relaxed.

“Personally, I like debating over Zoom,” West said. “It’s a little less nerve-wracking.”

Instead of the usual 5 a.m. wake up calls, long bus rides to tournaments across the state, and the beloved dinners out together, students on the debate team take turns in the classroom and at home using zoom and cell phones to complete their debates.

And while every student joined the team for their own unique reason, rookie Connor Buchanan said he wanted to learn more about the team’s topic for this year, which is criminal justice reform.

“That was definitely a hard topic to get into especially in a school setting but it really opened my eyes to a bunch of these experiences and other backgrounds that I was not aware of before,” Buchanan said.

Even when things get heated during a debate on tough topics like that, co-captain KJ Jones said being on the debate team in 2020 has given him a valuable lesson.

“To just like kind of view life and view like certain things like when you lose, you take a lesson from it, you learn something so it always helps me bounce back better,” Jones said.

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