Saturday, January 28, 2012

A PROUD Day for the Mangos

I finally am sitting down to write a post on the blog. The picture above was taken by one of the kiddos, and I really like it.

Yesterday was a big day for our family! As you may know, if you have followed our blog for awhile, our family has really gotten into speech and debate in the last year and a half. Paul even went so far as delaying his high school graduation a year so he could have a second year of debate. We do team policy debate through CCA/CCO (Christian Communicators of America/Ohio) and it is pretty neat. This year the policy is RESOLVED 'to that the US federal government should change its policy for the domestic Agricultural production of food.'

Paul and his partner Caleb have worked REALLY hard at coming up with a great case. They have spent lots of hours getting it together and well evidenced. This is both boys' second year of debate. Yesterday was the club's Round Robin Tournament. All the teams in the club competed against one another to see who would come out on top. Paul and Caleb finished the night 6-0 and won in a toughly argued final match in front of the club. It was videotaped, and I am looking forward to getting to watch it, now that I know who won. I had to leave during the match, as it was too intense for this mama. I don't like raised voices and arguing and this match contained a lot of that, Almost all by the negative team. I did come in for the final speech by Paul to close the match. I was amazed by his eloquence and timing. After being buffeted though most of the match by the more experienced debaters, he took control. He stood straight and tall and started off in strong tone, but with a smile, "Judges if you are looking for good orators, vote for the negative team", and he gestured at his opponents with a wide swing of his arm, and then he continued, "but if you are interested in the facts, you need to vote for the affirmative team". All those in the audience sucked in their collective breaths and said "ooooooh". The negative team sat there and shook their heads in helpless rage as they would not have any more opportunity to respond. He then proceeded to lay out their case one last time and explain exactly why their policy change was needed and what was wrong with the negative team's ideas. The other team sat there the whole time fuming and shaking their heads and glaring. It was a classic moment. It made this Mom heart of mine proud. (If you are interested, we will have a copy of the whole debate on a DVD, but it is rather long- 1.25 hours) This makes all the work worthwhile. They did a much better job than the men we have seen in the presidential debates.

My dear Michelle, has struggled all her life with speech difficulties. She didn't even start talking until she was 4. She has had speech therapy and continues to work hard at her enunciation. In the beginning of the debate season she was told that her speech wasn't good enough to participate. She persevered in taking the classes anyway and by the end of the classes she was allowed to be a full fledged debater. She has continued to put a lot of time in. I have to admit my eyes misted up when she was given the 5th place speaker's award. This was out of like 18 competitors. She was so excited! She said, "I guess they understood me!" It was a big moment for her.

Thomas is the consummate speaker and debater. He and his partner finished fourth in the novice division and he was in third place in the individual speaker awards. He also has put in a lot of time. He is hoping to actually win something this year.

Last year, in all the tournaments, the children did not really win anything. It was a year of intensive learning. They are hoping for better things this year, and yesterday was a great start!

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