Competition inspires debate

Published 4:49 pm Monday, January 25, 2016

John Pierce Lemire is a member of the National Christians Forensics and Communications Association and will represent Chilton County in a national speech and debate tournament on Wednesday in North Carolina.

He is 17 years old and a junior at Creative Minds Classical Cooperative, which is a home school educational cooperative that meets at Grace Fellowship Church.

This is Lemire’s second year as a participant, and he is a member of Contenders Speech and Debate Club in Birmingham.

John Pierce Lemire (left) stands next to his debate competition teammate Katelyn Karcher. The pair will debate during the North Carolina Open on Wednesday. (Contributed)

John Pierce Lemire (left) stands next to his debate competition teammate Katelyn Karcher. The pair will debate during the North Carolina Open on Wednesday. (Contributed)

According to Lemire, there are two types of debates and 11 different forms of speeches that competitors can choose from.

The Lincoln-Douglas Value is based from the famous debate between Abraham Lincoln and Steven Douglas over the issue of slavery.

A resolution is given to the debaters for them to debate, this year it concerns whether or not the right to privacy should be valued above national security during a time of conflict.

Angles from both sides will taken as competitors argue each side. Debaters will be given either side to argue at events throughout the year.

“Not only do you have to stick with a side, but you also have to prove the other side in that format,” Lemire said.

The team policy pits a team of two debaters against another instead of the typical individual approach.

Lemire’s favorite format is the team policy, in which he will compete in the North Carolina Open alongside Katelyn Karcher from Pelham.

“We typically communicate through Skype,” Lemire said. “The preparation can be tedious but it is definitely worth it in the long run.”

This year’s topic is centered on whether the United States should specifically reform the court system.

“You have to research that [given] case and be willing to bring up arguments against it,” Lemire said. “Team policy is based around evidence.”

The NCFCA is broken up into different regions throughout the country with Alabama occupying region 7, which also contains Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Each region will hold four tournaments, while four national opens will also be hosted throughout the year. Anybody is welcome to attend the open tournaments.

“If someone wanted to, they could go to four regional tournaments and four national opens for a total of eight tournaments,” Lemire said.

According to Lemire, those who receive a high enough placing in the regional competition will qualify to take part in the national tournament. An average number of competitors would consist of about 200 at locally held tournaments, while that number exceeds 500 at a national open.

Since Lemire began competing over a year ago, he has already seen the effects of his involvement within the league.

“The biggest take away from competing in NCFCA is the ability to communicate,” Lemire said. “It is a skill that a lot of people would not only like, but also need.”

People from throughout the country attend the national events, which brings into play a variety of opinions and ideals surrounding a certain case.

“When you can convince people toward your side, it shows that you have the determination your thoughts into words,” Lemire said. “It is a skill that will be taken not only in your jobs but also relationships.”