New members & strong wins for Becton Debate


Seniors Zak Kandiel and Ryan Strauss place first in the Fort Lee tournament.

Ryan Strauss, Staff Writer

Becton’s debate team began this year on a strong note, solidifying its place as one of the Bergen County Debate League’s strongest teams. Seniors Ryan Strauss and Zak Kandiel brought home individual speaking awards in the first tournament of the year and later went on to win first place at the second tournament in Fort Lee. Debate Coach and History Teacher Mr. Carr expressed how happy he was to be back in charge of the debate team. In his absence, membership levels slipped a bit, but this year, membership has been steadily growing with the team having a solid twenty to twenty-five members that regularly attend debates and meetings. With many members being familiar faces to him, Mr. Carr said it felt like he never left.

As noted, the varsity debate season has been off to a wonderful start. Mr. Carr expressed hopes to bring back much more hardware in the tournaments to come. At the junior varsity level, many teams have been making great progress in furthering their public speaking and debate skills. With the next junior varsity tournament on the thirtieth of November, Mr. Carr said the JV team was still a work in progress, but also expressed high hopes for them. He notes seniors Ryan Strauss and Zak Kandiel as his key debaters, but also believes Junior Rebecca Collette and Sophomore Veronica Hernandez to be important members of the team.

Mr. Carr is happy to announce a reforming of the relationship between Becton and the Carlstadt Public School Debate Team. In the past years, senior members had worked closely with Science Teacher Mrs. Garrabrant and CPS’s novice debate team to help introduce eighth-graders to the club and prepare them for the high school level. Seniors Ryan Strauss and Zak Kandiel, as well as Sophomore Veronica Hernandez, have been working with the aspiring debaters from CPS after school. Their hard work has paid off with members of the novice team performing admirably at their own tournaments. Mrs. Garrabrant expressed how proud she was of her group, saying their dedication and enthusiasm for debate truly makes it worth all the time she puts into it.

Mr. Carr will be spearheading two Model Congress programs, the first being at Yale University in December and the second being at the University of Pennsylvania in late March. Currently, the nine people attending Yale are just wrapping up their bills and preparing for the session, with another fifteen having already expressed interest in Penn later this year. Senior Zak Kandiel has been instrumental in helping prepare those new to Model Congress to the program. He notes that it is one of his favorite things during the year, and he hopes that all of the team’s hard work will pay off.

The debate topic this year involves the People’s Republic of China, and more specifically economic and diplomatic relations with them. “I believe this topic is of vital importance to the world today, especially with China coming up as an important issue in this year’s election,” said Mr. Carr.

He continued to add that this year’s election is a stark contrast to what he loves about debate. While he is proud of his debaters for being able to articulate their arguments about policy in a civil, educated, and informed manner, the candidates running for the presidency fail to do so. Although this is a grim reality, he says that this only makes him more proud of his debate team and the maturity they show.

The debate coach asks that all people considering joining the debate team do so as soon as possible. He says that all new members are more than welcome, especially since the team is currently in the process of being rebuilt.

“Not only does debate prepare students well for endeavors later in life, but colleges look at debate very highly,” he said. Lastly, he jokes, “Girls dig the gavel.”