Debate partners undefeated in tournament at UC Berkeley

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NUMBER ONE Debaters Kevin Thompson (left) and Jose Pacheco (right) practice their arguments during a workshop before the Bay Area Urban Debate League’s second tournament of the year on Nov. 1. Thompson and Pacheco went undefeated in the tournament in the rookie division and took first place as a team. Thompson also won top speaker of all rookie debaters.

Two members of the Fremont Tigers debate team took first place in the Fall Classic Tournament at University of California, Berkeley on Nov. 1.

Sophomores Kevin Thompson and Jose Pacheco were undefeated in three rounds of debate. They beat teams from Mission, Wallenberg and Skyline High Schools in the rookie division.

When asked what is the hardest part about being in debate, Thompson said, “trying to understand our topic.”

The topic this year is about whether the federal government should spend money to develop and explore the ocean. The rookies are debating if the government should pay for a special machine to clean up plastic in the ocean.

They take turns debating both sides of the issue within the same tournament and only find out which side they will argue a few minutes before the round starts.

Freshmen Damarea Brown and Daniela Guerra-Reynosa took fourth place

The debate team is coached by teachers Lisa Shafer and Maya Shweiky. They have practice both Tuesdays and Fridays from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in room 1102.

Shweiky, a first-year debate coach, said she “was happy with the results from the rookie division.”

What is the next goal for the team?

“We’re trying to recruit new debaters,” said Shweiky.

The plan seems to be working.

At the first practice after the tournament, the debate team attracted six new members, including sophomore Anastasia Tupou.

“I joined debate because I think it can help me get a college scholarship,” said Tupou.

The next debate tournament will take place Dec. 5 and 6 at San Francisco State University.