Cub Edition: Adie’s love of debating and why it is important

Sophomore Adison Basler has only been on the debate team since the beginning of this year, but she has always had a knack for arguing and writing. 

“I’ve always been a little argumentative,” Basler said. “I really like arguing towards my point, fighting for my point.” 

Basler began writing as young as four years old. She likes the creative aspect of writing. Teachers have always said she was really talented, and that praise has kept her going. Her dream is to be an author one day.

Basler’s mom has been an important part of her life by supporting her and her interests, and Basler often practices debate with her. Basler’s family has said she would make a great lawyer because of her arguing skills. Being a lawyer is a job Basler had thought about intensively.

“I’ve had long arguments with my mom, talking her down into getting things that I’ve wanted,” she explained.

Derek Heath is the speech and debate class teacher and coach of the debate team. This is his fourth year teaching at the school. He spoke highly of Basler. 

“Adie’s doing awesome, super happy to have her, she’s incredibly skilled,” Heath said.

Basler said Heath is an understanding teacher who is there to support his students. One time, a response from an opponent contained so many questions that Heath pitched in to help answer some of them. 

In debate, you usually get a set amount of time to research a topic you are to argue for or against. You find as many academic sources as possible, but you don’t have to cite them, instead just saying, “according to this.” Debate is also an important skill to know and can help in further education and work life.

“It’s a really good place to practice skills that are really important in future careers,” Basler added, “and it’s also really good at getting you scholarships.”

Freshman Jake Jinnah, who is also in speech and debate class, agrees with Basler. He would recommend the class to his friends. 

“There’s a lot of this class that you can take into a lot of your other classes,” Jinnah said. “It teaches you how to take really good notes and research really well.”

Heath also preached the importance of debate. He said critical thinking was the number one most important skill, as well as advocating for other people’s beliefs. 

Debate can also be really fun and creative. 

“[In debate] you can argue about the stupidest topics and make it serious,” Basler described.

Heath said a similar thing. He loves students coming up with ridiculous and wild opinions and he helps students defend them. He also likes seeing the quality and creativity of ideas be equal, which he says is the most fun part of teaching the class. 

Jinnah likes researching and giving impromptu speeches when there is nothing specific to learn in class, and he’s said that it’s important to listen to your person, whether it be an opponent in debate or a person you are interviewing in journalism. 

“You have to be able to listen to what your opponent is saying,” Jinnah said, “so you can understand what they’re saying and create an argument off of it…and be able to listen to your teammate to support them.”

Heath talked about how critical inquiry, or figuring out why a person or group thinks a certain thing, is useful in both debate and journalism. So Basler being in the Intro to Journalism class could strengthen her debating skills.

“You have to develop some level of skill at discerning truth through lies…” Heath said. “And figure out, What is the motivation for this lie? Who benefits from this lie? Why did they try to tell it, why did they tell it in this way? Figuring out when there is no such thing as truth, when there’s just a bunch of competing perspectives.”

Overall, Basler has enjoyed the debate experience, especially how it has helped her with public speaking. 

“It’s made me a lot more confident coming up in front of people, and I didn’t have any friends in my class, so it’s taught me to be more comfortable with people,” Basler said.