Debate student promotes quarter-final experience


Josselyn Cruz, Editor-in-Chief

Luis Toro, a captain of the debate team, has made it to the quarter-finals that was hosted by Penn State University on Feb. 13-14. He is the only Oakton student to compete for this tournament.

The debate team has helped Toro for being able to participate in the class every day. He was able to network with other students from different institutions virtually. He recently joined SGA because of being an advocate for the students and wants to make a difference at Oakton.

“The advice I would give them is just go for it and have an open mind. Debate is all about having an open mind. Have a hunger to learn and want to educate yourself,” said Toro about students interested in getting involved in debate.

Toro has been participating for the debate team since freshman year in high school. He has started to participate in tournaments for the debate team since his second semester of his first year at Oakton.

The topic for the debate team this year is immigration and it is a year-round for it. Toro described his own experience on how he made it to the quarter-finals at Penn State University. “You would have to win four out of six rounds to advance onto the outrounds. We call the six rounds, prelim rounds. They are the preliminary rounds before you get into the outrounds (quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals),” said Toro.

The debate team members have a variety of options to choose what type of event to participate in the tournament. It includes a 1:1, 2:2, or a whole group event depending on where the tournament is being hosted.

Toro has been doing a 1:1 debate throughout this semester and past throughout the tournament. The members can participate in the tournament based on their schedule and not being forced where it would create conflicts of their own commitments.

“There’s a specific entry date to be able to sign up for the tournament and when that ends, the entries are locked like it might be a couple days before the tournament before it starts,” said Toro. The members are able to find out which schools and number of students are participating in the tournament. Since it is virtual of the tournament, it will be either Zoom or a different video call because the host of the tournament makes the decision.

The debate team always prepares for the tournament by looking at the opponent’s case. Toro explained that they always look at the judges and see if they have any knowledge on doing debate. “This is why we’re doing research into the judges on who are going to be at the tournament to be able to understand like what changes we have to make for our cases to be able to make it accessible to those judges to make it easier to want for the vote for me or our cases,” said Toro.

After the end of each round of the tournament, the judges will provide verbal feedback and determine who won or lost in the round. The judges explain to the debaters on why they won or lost based on their own performance and improve it for the next tournament. “At times, we noticed the patterns, and we tried to fix those patterns. Judges’ feedback can be good, but during others they can just be redundant,” said Toro.

Students can contact Chris Lagone at [email protected] or Luis Toro, captain of the debate team at [email protected] for more information of the Oakton debate team.