“I joined the debate team because I like to yell at people,” said senior Gilbert Jones.
“My teacher just put me in debate,” freshman Kevin Adkins said. “I didn’t really know about it, but I was interested. It may seem hard, but you get the hang of it quick.”
Debate is a discussion in which arguments are put forward on one issue chosen for the season. Debaters are given a book of evidence to prepare arguments for both sides of the issue. In tournaments, individuals or two-person teams face opponents from another school. They don’t know until the last minute which side they’ll have to debate.
“There’s nothing to be scared of,” Jones said. “They give you the information that you need. You just have to make your argument sound convincing.”
“Debate is mainly about facts,” Adkins said. “Defend yourself and your facts, and never drop an argument.”
Mumford debate coach Nicole Brabson said for most of her team, this is their first year debating. After finding some success in their first actual team debate they have gained the courage to stay on the team.
Sophomores Tenia Mims and Kayla Wardlaw are first-year debaters and have won eight rounds this year. They said they wanted to experience how it feels to debate properly.
“I am really proud of the team,” Brabson said. “I’m proud of their courage for actually going in and debating kids who have been debating for at least one or two years.”
Mumford took home first place in the junior varsity finals at the Detroit Urban Debate League at Wayne State on March 2.
What motivates senior Imani Sharp to win is the idea of her opponents underestimating her.
“They don’t expect Mumford girls to be able to read so well and to understand what they’re reading and to be able to argue it well without being hot tempered,” Sharp said. “Being able to prove that Black girl magic is a thing motivates me the most.”