Central Looks to Launch New Speech and Debate Class

Assistant debate coach and English teacher Ariel Pozorski gives Central High school a look into what Central’s new speech and debate class will look like.

By Allison Horkey

Central’s speech and debate team this year has gained new recognition with its success. assistant coach for the team and English teacher, Ariel Pozorski, confirms that the school board has green-lighted a speech and debate class that will become available to Central’s students in the fall of 2021. Pozorski will be teaching the class but doesn’t intend for it to be just like any other classroom. “I would like to run a class that follows a decentralized classroom,” she says. Decentralized learning “creates more student involvement in the class mainly in planning and presentation.” The goal of this method of learning is important for a speech and debate class because it can create “mentorship between members of the team and students who have never been in debate.” 

Posorski didn’t do debate as a student, she was more involved with Central’s drama club, but she is certified by South Dakota to teach a speech and debate class. “When I received my undergrad, I did it for English education and I also did communications or speech education as well as theater education. The theater ed. is much more applicable when you look at the speech component of speech and debate.” Her most hands-on learning experiences with speech and debate occurred this year, though, as assistant debate coach. “Being relatively new to debate I treated it as a learning experience,” she said. She mentioned that sitting in on speech and debate rounds was beneficial for her figuring out how debate actually works. That being said, she still faces challenges because she didn’t do debate as a student. “If I’m being completely honest, the best way to know a thing is to do a thing.” This is another important reason she wants mentorship within her class, so that students can learn from other students’ experiences instead of her limited experiences.

“There’s so much value to [speech and debate].” This is part of the reason Pozorski thinks we need a class for speech and debate. “I love the way that it teaches people to take a particular topic or a particular idea and then extrapolate nuances of it.” Pozorski thinks that there is something unique and essential about speech and debate, something everyone should learn. “I think speech and debate as a format, as a practice, or a craft, or an art form, or a sport, or whatever you want to call it is very good at facilitating critical thought, and that’s what we need to teach people and graduate people with is the ability to think critically first and foremost.”

Debate club students form strong bonds through supporting one another.