Stevens' debate grows strongerFriday, March 02, 2012 By Sydney Jones
“This is one activity I can confidently say,” Mark Vargo, Stevens’ debate team coach said, “where one kid can come in and get better and keep getting better.” Debate was a strong program back in the 90’s. Four years ago though, a teacher quit in the middle of the year, and left the team in jeopardy. So Vargo took over because he had two sons on the team. “We still have certain disadvantages; we don’t have a class, and all other AA schools in the state do. They can use the class for research and learning theory. Our kids have to do all of that on their own time,” Vargo said, “We are the best arguers on the circuit though.” There are three different types of debate. One is Lincoln-Douglas, which is a one-on-one that isn’t about statistics. A second one is public forum, which actually started here in South Dakota, it has a new topic every month, and students should know their statistics. The third one is policy debate, there’s one topic for the whole year, and some kids will talk up to 350 words per minute. Another form of forensics is called interp, which is something that Stevens’ kids have recently started doing. Even though it’s new to them, Stevens got superior, the highest award, in three of the categories. “Three years ago, I had one girl who wanted to try out interp,” Vargo said, “and now we have several successful students.” One was duet, the second was poetry, and the third was reader’s theater. Interp is a lot like acting. Students can walk and move, but can’t look at the person up there with them. They can’t touch them, can’t lie down, sit, or kneel either. “Jeremy Junge received triple superior for all three events. He received this when his duet partner quit the week before and had to have someone fill in on short notice. He also wrote his own poetry,” Vargo said. Stevens' debate team hopes to keep getting better and stronger. If they continue at the rate of success that they have had for the past four years it is very likely that they will.