Should the U.S. guarantee universal health care for all citizens?
Does U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East undermine our national security?
These questions and others will be addressed by high school students at the Flake Stakes Debate Tournament this Saturday, Nov. 10.
From 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., teams from across Minnesota will compete in the Lincoln-Douglas debate (the universal health care question) and the public forum debate (on Middle East policy).
Topics for the third competition, the Congressional debate, vary depending on what the students bring to the floor.
Past issues have included tax policy, social issues, environmental policy, foreign affairs, and Minnesota state law. Students write their own bills and resolutions to debate.
The first Flake Stakes Debate Tournament was held in 1984 and ran every year until 1999. Debate Coach Robyn Madson re-started the annual event in 2004.
About 20 teams with roughly 300 students are expected.
This year the Forest Lake debate team has competed at several events.
Forest Lake student Maxwell Hall was elected presiding officer on Oct. 26 at the Student Congress tournament held at the Minnesota State Capitol.
At this event students come together to debate bills and resolutions and then vote yes or no, just like a real Congress.
Hall was charged with keeping order throughout the chamber, directing members to speak and keeping track of time. “It was a lot of work,” Hall said, “but it was so much fun!” He said it was a great opportunity to conduct business the way a real Congress does.
Each competitor has the opportunity to debate on the floor of the Minnesota House of Representatives; the top speakers in each chamber are honored. Forest Lake’s Garret Swanson placed sixth in his chamber. Cellea Osterbauer and Josh Mester both placed eighth in their chambers.
In the Northern Suburban Spooktacular on Oct. 27, everyone on the team had a winning record. Jenni Dylkowski took third place in the junior varsity Lincoln Douglas debate, followed by Max Hall in fourth. Jason Shevik took fifth in the novice Lincoln Douglas debate.
At Champlin Park on Nov. 3, Cellea Osterbauer placed fifth in Student Congress, Brandon Hilla took ninth in Student Congress, Max Hall took first place and was first speaker in Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas debate, and Jason Shevik took first place and was second speaker in Novice Lincoln Douglas.
The Forest Lake High School debate team is coached by Robyn Madson.