Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

    Lessons Learned from Senior Debaters

    The Pascack Hills debate team won the “Beulah Warshaw Award” for best overall program for the fifth consecutive year. Varsity won second place in the 2011-2012 North Jersey Debate League, and junior varsity won first place in the 2011-2012 North Jersey Debate League. They were able to accomplish this in part because of the club’s excellent leadership by mentoring seniors Jake Aronson, Philip Litmanov, and Navin Raj. Aronson was the recipient of the “Ethel Gambel Award” for the most dedicated debater, as well as co-winner of the “Coaches Cup Championship” for Pascack Hills.

    Debating means different things to different people. Some see it as a civil argument, but it means much more to others. To Navin Raj “debate is a place where leaders are cultivated. It is a place to grow skills, and take charge in front of an audience. It is a place where important issues are brought up, and are discussed by the people who will make an impact on tomorrow. The discussions that are brought up in debate are the discussions that need to happen in order for a better tomorrow.”

    The senior debaters will tell you that the two skills debaters develop the most are confidence and presentation skills. Navin reflects on how debating has made him inclined to be his own person, making his own decisions. Through debate, Navin has developed the ability to capture an audience with his words and expression.

    “More importantly,” he says, “debate has made me think differently.”

    The senior debaters have become better speakers and listeners who know how to analyze problems and address situations.

    Navin’s most memorable experience in high school came about from putting his debate skills to use. Earlier this year, Navin made his musical debut in the school’s production of All Shook Up, taking on the role of Earl. Whereas performing had previously been unthinkable for him, Navin had gained enough courage in front of crowds during debate to try and perform in the musical.

    “It was exhilarating being in front of a huge crowd, but my time in debate had prepared me to tune out the audience and focus on the goal at hand.”

    “All in all, it was an amazing experience” to try something new and different as well as meet great people.

    Seniors all have that moment of self-discovery. Navin’s was realizing “it is more important to follow your passions than what is necessarily economically ‘smart,’” and that his passions, generally more creative things, can be more than just hobbies.

    The most important lesson he’s learned and has to pass on is “follow your dreams and they will become a reality.”

    In college and beyond, Navin says he “plans on participating in healthy debates amongst my peers, as well as using my debate skills towards my career.”

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