NKOTB: Freshman experiences Lincoln-Douglas debates at Stanford camp

(Photo used by permission of Anand)
Keshav Anand (left) with his friends at camp.

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.

(Photo used by permission of Anand)
Keshav Anand (left) in a selfie with his friend Ajay Gupta.


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

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