Debaters committed to excellence
The Northampton Area High School Debate Team is continuing in the footsteps of previous teams by ending this year's season on a high note.
The team, led by NAHS English teacher and team coach Michael Bauer, finished the season with a record of 17-6, propelling them into the Eastern PA Conference Debate championship.
Bauer said the team this year felt a strong urge to ensure they maintained a winning streak as set by previous teams.
"It seems that every year we find ourselves competing for a championship," Bauer said. "So, this team had to carry on the high standards set by previous teams and meet the expectations of competing for championships."
Bauer began coaching the team in 2003 when he took over for retired teacher Ron Reed.
He said the team meets every Friday after school for 90 minutes during which time members cover a broad range of topics and research in preparation for debate competitions.
Team members, Bauer said, are volunteers and typically come from other clubs. They are individually responsible for acquiring the in-depth knowledge that debate requires.
"Each member must be well educated in history, economic policy, constitutional law and current affairs," he said.
Bauer credits the NAHS Social Studies Department with arming team members with the basic knowledge needed to succeed.
The students, he said, truly enjoy competing against other schools in the Lehigh Valley, as evidenced by their winning record.
"We fully recognize that other schools have amazingly smart and talented students," Bauer said. "That's why winning a championship feels like such an amazing accomplishment."
According to Bauer, nearly every past debate team member has gone on to attend a four-year college or university. A handful, he said, have gone on to study at such prestigious institutions as Penn State and Lehigh University.
"We've been one of the best-kept secrets at Northampton," Bauer added.