A two-on-two debate that focuses on a policy question for the duration of the academic year, this format tests a student’s research, analytical, and delivery skills. Policy debate involves the proposal of a plan by the affirmative team to enact a policy, while the negative team offers reasons to reject that proposal. Throughout the debate, students have the opportunity to cross-examine one another. A judge or panel of judges determines the winner based on the arguments presented.
The policy debate topic is the same all year and is announced in January for the following school year. The 2016-2017 National Policy Debate Resolution is: "Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China."
The Marist Policy Debate team won a State Championship in 2010 and 2014, and was the State Runner Up in 2002, 2003 and 2011. Marist policy debaters have earned qualification the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament AND National Speech & Debate Association National Tournament for the past six consecutive years. The Policy Debate Team has been ranked in the top ten nationally for THREE consecutive years.
Public Forum Debate
Public Forum involves opposing teams of two, debating a topic concerning a current event. Proceeding a coin toss, the winners choose which side to debate (PRO or CON) or which speaker position they prefer (1st or 2nd), and the other team receives the remaining option. Students present cases, engage in rebuttal and refutation, and also participate in a “crossfire” (similar to a cross examination) with the opportunity to question the opposing team. Often times community members are recruited to judge this event.
The public forum debate topic changes every month is announced the first day of the preceding month. The 2016 National Championship topic was, "Resolved: On balance, a one-day national primary would be more beneficial for the United States than our current presidential primary process."
The Marist Public Forum Debate team won a State Championship in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 and was the State Runner Up in 2015 and 2016. Marist has qualified more public forum students to the Tournament of Champions than any other school in the state of Georgia, earning qualifying bids for the past FOUR years.
Lincoln Douglas Debate
In this one-on-one format, students debate a topic provided by the National Speech & Debate Association. Topics range from individual freedom versus the collective good to economic development versus environmental protection. Students may consult evidence gathered prior to the debate but may not use the Internet in round. An entire debate is roughly 45 minutes and consists of constructive speeches, rebuttals, and cross-examination.
The lincoln douglas debate topic is on a two month cycle. The 2016 National Championship topic was "Resolved: Immigration ought to be recognized as a human right."
The Marist Lincoln Douglas team won the State Championship in 2017 and won State Runner Up titles in 2015 and 2016. The Lincoln Douglas team also earned their first national qualification in 2017.