Region 7 Schools to Compete in Pilot UIL Congressional Debate Monday
KILGORE, TX—More than 100 students from over 20 schools in Region 7 will participate in a new mock legislative assembly competition Monday, Nov. 11 starting at 9 a.m. at the Region 7 Education Service Center located at 1909 N. Longview St. in Kilgore.
The contest, titled Congress, models the democratic legislative process and is being piloted this year by the University Interscholastic League (UIL). Contestants have been preparing for the Congressional District competition since September by reviewing and researching pre-prepared legislation dealing with real-world social and political policies provided by the UIL.
Melissa Witt, the Speech and Debate teacher at Hallsville High School, headed the District 7 committee for the contest, and she said participating students and schools are looking forward to debating in the pilot competition.
“The topics the students will be debating reflect real-world concerns at the state and national levels including national security surveillance, foreign aid, insider trading, legalizing gambling and much more,” said Witt. “We are very excited at the opportunity to offer this new competitive event to the students in our state.”
At Monday’s competition, students will assemble in committees to debate the bills and resolutions provided in the state-assigned docket and vote to pass or defeat the examined measures. Student speeches will follow parliamentary procedure throughout a three- to four-hour Congressional session, and students will be challenged to offer unprepared responses to others’ arguments over the course of the session.
“This is a great opportunity for our students to gain valuable knowledge and skills in public speaking, discussions and debates,” Witt said. “This competition also allows our students to enhance their research skills and learn about parliamentary rules and how to apply them.”
Contestants will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on their research and analysis of issues, argumentation, skill in asking and answering questions, use of parliamentary procedure, and clarity and fluency of speaking. The top three winners from each conference (1A-5A) will receive a framed certificate and advance to the state competition being held January 7-8, 2014 in Austin.
Region 7 schools and districts from all conferences (1A-5A) participating in Monday’s UIL Congressional District 7 contest include Athens High School, Big Sandy High School, Brownsboro High School, Cayuga High School, Center High School, Chapel Hill High School, Eustace High School, Gilmer High School, Hallsville High School, Harmony ISD, Robert E. Lee High School, Lindale High School, Longview High School, Nacogdoches High School, Palestine High School, Quitman High School, Shebyville ISD, Spring Hill High School, Timson High School, John Tyler High School, Van High School and Whitehouse High School.