The secret to success within Lincoln East Debate

The Lincoln East Debate team is known for its long run of achievements. Some of the brightest students in our school take part in Debate.

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The Lincoln East Debate team is known for its long run of achievements. Some of the brightest students in our school take part in Debate.

The Lincoln East Debate team has a long list of impressive accomplishments, whether it is statewide or national. The students are looking to continue to be victorious even with the loss of several crucial seniors. As an incredibly driven and intelligent group of students, they already have many of the pieces necessary for a successful season.

As a team of many state champions and even top 10 placements nationally, the students are very special to East. Their success is representative of the hard work and commitment that is put into debating.

“It’s really nice to commit to a program where there’s already an expectation of success and administrative support for success,” John Holen, the head debate coach, said.

East has won runner up at state for the last 6 years. This past spring, two graduated seniors McKenna Weber and Clarissa Tan, won back to back state championships in policy debate. It was the first time that a team has won back to back championships since the 1990s. Another recent accomplishment for the debate team was at the national championship in the summer of 2020. They placed 8th overall nationally, along with two entries in the top 10.

The work that goes into such a victorious team can be highlighted by the self-motivation and brilliance of the students within the debate team. There’s a large amount of research that is involved in the preparation of a case, and the prep continues all the way through the bus ride to the tournament.

“Prepping takes a ton of reading documents and synthesizing that information into digestible bits,” Delaney Bell, a junior debater said. “But when you are actually debating, that’s when it’s fun.”

Bell, along with her partner, previously won a scholarship to a camp at UCLA where they finished in third place. Last year, they got a bid to the silver Tournament of Champions and provided the top record of anyone from East that had attended.

The Lincoln East debate team will have some rebuilding to do in this upcoming season as many of their top debaters have graduated. Younger students will have to fill tougher roles within both leadership and debate rounds. Yet, Holen seems to have no worries for where the program is headed.

“Even though our team is young, I have more kids who have gone to the national championship on this team than any other team I have coached,” Holen said. “We have a lot of success to build on.”