NKOTB: Freshman experiences Lincoln-Douglas debates at Stanford camp
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In the “New Kids on the Block” series, new students will be interviewed on their life outside of SCDS.
Over the summer freshman Keshav Anand attended a National Forensic Institute debate camp at Stanford University in Palo Alto.
Q: What did you learn at the camp?
A: I learned (about) Lincoln- Douglas debates. (It’s) a style of debate which bases its foundation on logic and (has more) logical reasoning. It originated from a series of seven debates between (President Abraham) Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.
Q: What were some of the topics that you debated?
A: The main topic was targeted killing, a topic about how drone killing and targeted strikes are bad. (Another topic was whether) greed is good.
Q: Were there any topics that you felt very strongly about?
A: I felt neutral about all the topics, but I felt stronger about targeted killings as there are so many viewpoints.
Q: What was the most difficult topic?
A: The most difficult topic was about removing emotions (from the world) because there is no fair debate in that topic for me.
Q: What was the most useful skill you learned?
A: I learned more public speaking (and) more writing in general, which was helpful (because) now in (English teacher Jason) Hinojosa’s class I can excel.
Q: Would you do it again ?
A: Yeah, I think I would because it was a good experience for me, and I was able to learn so much. I want to learn more.
Q: If you had to improve something about your experience at the camp what would it be?
A: Two weeks into the camp I switched to another camp, but I shouldn’t have done that because that camp was extremely boring. It was also at Stanford but didn’t interest me, so I (should) have stuck to the (original one).
Q: What was the difference in the camps?
A: The first was a Lincoln-Douglas debate camp in which you pre-wrote your case and presented. The second was a British Parliament camp, which was more of an “impromptu” camp.
Q: Why did you decide to switch camps?
A: I was gone for a day, and it was really hard to catch up because they added a lot of curriculum daily.
Q: Why did you miss a day?
A: ( For a) graduation party.
Q: How much homework did you have?
A: It was a lot! I stayed up (until) 2 a.m. sometimes.
Q: What makes a good debate camp?
A: I think a (good) debate camp is able to cover a full topic in detail in a couple of weeks and is able to also have different exercises. Stanford gave me speaking exercises, writing exercises and allowed me to enjoy my free time.
Q: What did you do during your free time?
A: Played Frisbee and football with my friends. (I) also hung out in the (dorms) with them.
Q: What was it like staying in college dorms?
A: The beds were extremely high, and I got a desk for myself. I felt as if I was in college (and) living as a college student. I had one roommate. It took nine minutes to walk to class.
Q: How was it having a roommate?
A: I think my roommate was good, but he was a little messy. I think it prepared me for college as I was able to (have that) experience.
Q: Where were the other kids at the camp from?
A: There were kids from China, England, California and New York.
Q: Are you still in contact with anyone?
A: Yes, (I keep in touch with) friends via Snapchat.
—By Kristine Schmitz