King’s Debate Society Ranks 25th in World

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Empire State Building, NEW YORK– The International Debate Education Association (IDEA) ranked The King’s Debate Society 25th last November. IDEA ranked more than 500 schools across the world, including Yale (3), Harvard (13), Stanford (24), Patrick Henry (36), Princeton (51) and Columbia (78). “The ranking was unexpected,” Josiah Peterson ('13), president of KDS, said. “It shows that we have been preparing everyone very well.”

Since its creation in 2008 by alumni Matthias Clock and Pam Dodge, KDS has grown from a handful of students to roughly 10 percent of the student body – a higher student participation rate than most schools in the region. The society is driven by their mission statement to advocate truth in the marketplace of ideas.

“Becoming better at debate is a project in self-criticism and finding what makes others persuasive by being thoughtful listeners,” KDS Coach Katherine Teubl said.

King’s teams have debated at Yale, the University of Vermont and the United States Debate Tournament. At Yale this year, KDS made it to the semi-finals and in Vermont, to the quarterfinals.

IDEA tallies points according to performance and attendance throughout the debate season, tracking the teams that attend at least 33 recognized competitions around the world.

During Christmas break, Peterson and Burk Ohbayashi ('13) flew to Manila, Philippines to represent King’s in the World Universities Debate Championship, facing not only Ivy League teams but also competitive teams from Europe and Asia.

However, for Peterson and the society, debate is not just about the competition and rankings. It’s about relationships.

“Debate is a mission field to interact with people who have thought about what they believe,” Peterson said. “We can apply debate to our own walk to best explain what we believe.”

“It’s not just about recognition," Teubl said. “People know King’s students.”

The growth of KDS this year also includes their hosting of a debate competition at The King’s College. Jan. 21-22, King’s will host The Empire Debates, welcoming the University of Vermont, Patrick Henry College, Grove City, Bard College, St. John’s, Adelphi and Brandeis University. The debate tournament is designed to further expose King’s to the debating world and to show their appreciation to the different societies around the world for welcoming them.

“We’ve received wonderful support from the debate community,” Teubl said.

The King’s debate society hopes to once again send teams this year to Portland, Oregon for nationals. The society desires to one day send teams to Oxford and to continue to network and build friendships with other students.

"We are blessed by our membership," KDS Vice President Jeremy Cerone ('13) said.

CampusDaniel Poeana