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October 14, 1988 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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14

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1988

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12 MONTH CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT

Ben Kasoff and Scott Chupack of Southfield-Lathrup and Elizabeth Holcomb and Derek Gaffrey of Southfield
High can argue with the best.

No Arguing With Oakland Teens
On High School Debate Scene

STEVEN M. HARTZ

Jewish News Intern

ust when it appears
safe to argue with a
teenager, high school
students discover debate, a
growing competition on the
upswing.
Debate, a method of inquiry
and advocacy, is reaching new
heights since the competi-
tions took place in the 1400s
at the prestigious Oxford and
Cambridge universities.
Oakland County has been
called the strongest county to-
day in Michigan high school
debate.
"I, think it's a more
challenging intellectual ac-
tivity than school itself," says
Derek Gaffrey, a senior at
Southfield High School.
Gaffrey and his debate part-
ner, senior Liz Holcomb, were
part of Southfield High's
team last year which placed
first in its division in
Michigan.
Gaffrey and Holcomb are
among the growing number
of students in Oakland Coun-
ty who have opted for debate
as a key extracurricular
activity.
"Almost all of state cham-
pionships in the last dozen
years have come from
Oakland County," explains
Art Voison, debate coach for
Southfield-Lathrup Senior
High School, who has been
coaching debate for nearly 30
years in both Southfield high
schools. "Debate has become
much more intense today.
Students can go out to tour-
naments nearly every
weekend!'
Voisin has never been for-

j

.

tunate enough to secure a
state championship, but he
has finished in the top three
on six occasions. He has been
coaching at Southfield-
Lathrup since 1984.
With champions like Gaf-
frey and Holcomb, Southfield
High took the gold at last
year's Mackinac Island tour-
nament. Being a member of
the National Forensics
League, they had the oppor-
tunity to debate in New
Orleans and were quarter-
finalists.Next, they competed
in Nashville and did well
enough to be invited to the
Tournament of Champions at
the University of Kentucky.
Southfield High is coached
by John Lawson, who took the
debate team to a state cham-
pionship last year within
three years of his arrival.
"John (Lawson) is a very
energetic coach," states
Voisin, a former teacher of
Lawson's. Lawson, who
taught at _Lathrup from
1976-1980, led S-L to two
state championships.
This year, Lathrup has
some fine debaters, including
seniors Benjamin Kasoff and
Scott Chupack. Kasoff and
Chupack have the best win-
loss record in the state, 15-2
going into the Seaholm tour-
nament last weekend.
"It's an alternative to
sports. You actually can use
your mind instead of
anything else. There isn't
much chance of injury,"
Chupack says, adding, "We're
getting a lot more recognition
within the school. Debate will
be represented at our next
pep assembly. It is now being
recognized as a sport and not
just a club."

-

Men are not the only mus-
cle in the sport. "The skill of
organization and speaking
can be used by everyone,' says
debater Sharon Braslaw, a
junior at S-L.
Liz Holcomb was a
freshman in Lawson's speech
class at Southfield High when
he encouraged her to join the
debate team because of her
public speaking skills. This
year, she and Gaffrey have
received speaking awards at
each tournament. At last
weekend's Seaholm tourna-
ment, the two went 9-1, and
Southfield High won the
tournament.
"This year, we're dealing
with the proposition of a pro-
blem close to my heart, the
aging in America," states
Voisin. The topic
reads,"Resolved: That the
federal government should
provide a comprehensive pro-
gram to guarantee retirement
security for citizens over 65!'
The subject is one that high
school debaters throughout
the United States are resear-
ching and debating. They are
dealing with all of the pro-
blems that affect the aging in
society, including poverty,
lack of insurance, abuse in
nursing homes, elder abuse,
income, pension loss and
anything that deals with a
retirement age.
A national committee of
state forensics officials who
are experts in research and
analysis choose topics. They
get together each summer to
propose the following year's
debate topic. In December,
they meet on a major college
campus and propose and
argue various topics. In
January and February, they

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