On Saturday, March 4th, the Hoosac School Lincoln-Douglas Debate team, represented by Jana Apostolakis'19 and Daisy Perez'18, traveled to Mt. Markham High School in West Windham, New York to compete in the New York State District tournament for the Iroquois Region. Ms. Apostolakis and Ms. Perez had already competed since December in debates on a bimonthly topic. In November and December, the topic was qualified immunity for police officers, while in January and February, debaters squared off on the issue of free speech at public universities.
At Mt. Markham, students were asked to prepare both affirmative and negative cases for the resolution that "The United States ought to guarantee the right to housing." As expected, affirmative debaters typically tried to prove the need for a rights framework for socio-economic rights such as housing, while negatives challenged that view by insisting that the focus should be on providing the most and best housing, rather than understanding it within a discourse of rights. In many ways, the debate came down to a classic conservative/liberal difference of position. Ms. Apostolakis and Ms. Perez, who argued both sides in alternating rounds, were well prepared with key rebuttal evidence and philosophical context in which to understand the resolution. Mr. Kraig Odabashian, who coaches the team, encourages debaters to engage topics within a Constitutional framework, preventing the debate from becoming too abstract and grounding it in legal and historical discourses of concepts such as rights, progress, and social welfare. Both Hoosac debaters won key rounds, propelling Ms. Apostolakis to the 2017 state tournament. She will be one of several students representing central New York in Lincoln-Douglas Debate in April at Hofstra University.