Students from Ladue Horton Watkins High School joined their peers in the Saint Louis area to compete in the Congressional Debate District Tournament on Saturday, 25 Feb. 2012. This experience was unique because the Eastern Missouri District holds their Congressional Debate District Tournament in the Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Eleven students from the high school’s speech and debate team, the Talking Rams, were selected by their coach to attend this event. Students wrote legislation on topics ranging from the electoral college and the tax system to mandating voting and promoting peace between Israel and Palestine. Students from Ladue submitted the following legislation:
- A Resolution to Abolish Standardized Tests in Order to Accurately Measure One’s Academic Ability
- A Bill to Give Statehood to Puerto Rico
Students participated in six hours of congressional debate. The event’s goal is to emulate Congress — Ladue received two seats in the senate and nine in the house. Students then elect a presiding officer — Hou (Ben) Zhang, Luke Song, and Scott Sanchez served as presiding officers of their chambers. Students debate the legislation by giving speeches in affirmation or negation; after speaking, the students are questioned by their peers.
Ladue’s senators were Chloe An and Hou (Ben) Zhang. Representatives from Ladue were Sarah Allen, Emily Bell, Jerome Gregory, Arlo Frantz-Greene, Tianyue (Andy) Mao, Scott Sanchez, Luke Song, Kisan Thakkar, and Toby Zhu.
Judges for the event included Missouri Representatives Cloria Brown and Bert Atkins; legislative assistants Joy Engelby, Danice Granger, Rachel Bauer and Ross Branson; Jefferson City Prosecutor Brian Stumpe, and additional professionals and community members from Jefferson City and Columbia. After six hours of debate, the judges had to choose students who will advance to the national tournament — two students from the senate and four from the house will represent the Eastern Missouri District at the national tournament.
In two weeks, students from Ladue will find out if they were chosen to attend the national tournament! The Talking Rams continue their bid to state and nationals this weekend with MSHSAA Districts and next weekend with NFL Speech and Debate Districts.