Novice debaters Bartholomew Lahiff ’20 and Jesse Maltese ’20 won the Novice Final after competing against nearly 100 teams at the Eastern Regional World Championships at George Washington University on Feb. 24 and 25. In the preliminary round, debate topics ranged from educational policy, European Union military spending and the commodification of indigenous art.
Both Lahiff and Maltese joined the HWS Debate community in August and most recently participated in the Cornell Trifecta of Love tournament on Feb. 10. Lahiff participated in student government and Model United Nations previously and felt that both experiences prepared him for the podium.
“Debate forces you to think outside of a bubble on issues you had no prior knowledge of. In particular, this year I’ve learned a lot about transgender rights and our obligation to help refugees. I am happy to be part of such a great community of people with a diversity of well-informed opinions,” Maltese says.
Assistant Coach of the HWS Debate Team Steve Penner says, “It was great to see such a strong performance from this team of first years. Both [Debate Team Director] Eric Barnes and I are very proud of the progress they’ve made.”
In the classroom, Lahiff’s analysis skills have improved since joining the debate team. ‘“Just ask why’ has become the way I approach most of my student life. It’s also exposed me to a lot of new topics and new respective arguments that have helped me become a more informed person. Chiefly, debate exposed me to the realities of international relations and really piqued an interest that I didn’t know I had.”
The HWS Debate Team will be competing next at the AFA Nationals tournament in early April at the University of Denver.
Additional HWS Debate Team news can be found here.