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The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte

The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte


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Allen and Strauss Lead Debate Team to CFL Nationals

London Allen and Finley Strauss are all smiles after qualifying for the National CFL Tournament to be held this May in Chicago.
Dev Maharaj
London Allen and Finley Strauss are all smiles after qualifying for the National CFL Tournament to be held this May in Chicago.

This year, The Benjamin School celebrates the achievements of two outstanding debaters, freshman Finely Strauss and sophomore London Allen, who have qualified for the National Debate Championship. These students have not only mastered the
art of argumentation, but have set themselves apart in competitions to claim their spot in the National Competition in Chicago on May 25.

A few Saturdays each month, the Benjamin School debate team competes depending on what school and league are hosting the tournament. The team competes in three leagues; The National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA), The Palm Beach Catholic Forensic League (PBCLF), and the Southeast Florida Civics and Debate Initiative (SEFCDI).

In a competition in Olympic Heights, FL, on May 4, Strauss and Allen competed in Public forum, a form of competitive debate which centers on current events and relies on both logic and evidence to construct arguments. It was their first time competing as a pair with Strauss acting as Speaker One, and Allen acting as Speaker two. There are fours peeches in this event: a constructive, rebuttal, summary, and final focus. Strauss performed a four minute pre-written speech called the constructive and then did the summary in the round. Allen covered the rebuttal and final focus.

Strauss and Allen had to debate another pair on the topic “Collegiate athletes should be considered employees”. They had to do this 5 times with different opposing teams debating both the pro and the con side. All of their speech topics had to defend contentions and attack their points which Allen and Strauss executed beautifully.

It was at this competition where the two had officially qualified for the National tournament. Strauss and Allen had to compete in several PBCFLS and SEFCDI tournaments throughout the year to accumulate enough points to qualify.

Faculty advisor and Coach, Dr. Peruggia, is extremely proud of Strauss and Allen and is glad to see their hard work pay off.

“I am very proud of them considering how novice they are. This year’s competition was extremely tough in the Public Forum and to qualify for Nationals says a lot about their preparation and enthusiasm,” Peruggia expressed.

Speech and Debate requires lots of preparation, focus, and strategic thinking, qualities that Strauss and Allen have clearly mastered.

“To prepare, Finley and I first look up the topics we were given, write points for each side (pro and con), then make our three contentions. These points will be the major ones we are attacking during debate. After that, we begin writing our first two speeches then the outlines of our second ones (these speeches are more of a response to what the opponent says). We then move to working on questions we may ask them or they may ask us. Finally, we think about arguments the opponents may make and how to negate them,’’ Allen explained.

Strauss loves the competitive nature of the Public Forum and is looking forward to the National tournament.

“Public Forum is a great event because you have to work really hard and well with your partner as well as on your own. You have to be really great at pivoting your cases quickly and adapting based on what the other teams say. It feels so rewarding to be heading to Nationals. I’ve been investing a lot of time throughout this whole season preparing and competing so this is definitely rewarding and amazing,” Strauss expressed.

Allen is thrilled for Nationals and has thoroughly enjoyed the entire debate season.

“It was really refreshing to see that Finely and I qualified because it means that all of our hard work in debate for the whole year really paid off. I got into debate Freshman year because I wanted to improve my public speaking skills, but it wasn’t until this year that I chose Public Forum to specialize in. I have loved spending time with people I wouldn’t typically talk to and share funny debate stories,” Allen said.

As Strauss and Allen head into the National Debate Championship, their journey reflects more than just skilled argumentation; it demonstrates resilience, quick thinking, and adaptability. At the competition, Strauss and Allen will be fighting for a win against 200 teams in which they will be debating the topic that “Latin American countries should prioritize intraregional trade over”.

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About the Contributors
Chase Zur
Chase Zur, Associate Editor
Chase Zur is a sophomore and this is her second semester in The Pharcyde. Chase has attended The Benjamin School since WOW and is excited to start her second year in the Upper School. She enjoys watching sports and spending time with friends and family. As a second year staff writer, Chase is looking forward to taking on more articles and improving her journalistic writing in The Pharcyde. 
Dev Maharaj
Dev Maharaj, Staff Writer
Dev Maharaj has been a ninth-grader at the Benjamin School since sixth grade and enjoys playing basketball. He has expressed interest in journalism through his two years in the Journalism and Web Media middle school course. He is establishing himself as a distinguished photographer by also taking Intro to Photography this semester.

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