MOUNT VERNON — Touching upon a timely topic, the 2009 Knox County Debate contest resolution was: The United States federal government should mandate that all uninsured citizens join a government run non-profit health insurance program.
Debate teams from Centerburg, Clear Fork, Danville, East Knox and Mount Vernon high schools argued both sides of the issue with Danville’s negative team winning the match.
Morgan Sinett and Anna Lamb, Danville juniors coached by Beth Durbin and Peggy Dunn, stated they were all for health care, but contended that there are other choices than a government-run option and asserted, “You can’t force it on people.”
A new feature in this year’s contest was a cross-fire round, where opposing debaters had the chance to go face-to-face about the topic.
Lamb and Sinett said they liked the crossfire portion of the debate contest because it gave them the chance to flesh out some of their ideas and ask direct questions of debaters with opposite views.
Durbin said she too liked the crossfire component. “It really showed who could think well on their feet,” she said, “and demonstrated that students had really prepared for the debate and learned the relevant facts about the topic.”
John Jurkowitz, a consultant with the Knox County Educational Service Center and coordinator of the contest, said the judges were impressed by the quality of the speeches by all the contestants. They commented they were “blown away” by the exceptional poise and arguments of many of the debaters. Jurkowitz also said the judges are looking forward to next year’s debate as they are anxious to see how this year’s juniors perform as seniors.
This year’s debaters included Sarah Bertschy, Steve Bollinger, Alison Doolittle, Mea Frasier, Austin Gallogly, Melissa Kodger, Anna Lamb, Ashley Little, Eric Mauck, Melody Maxwell, Matt McCarty, Lauren O’Rourke, Adam Rine, Hailey Shipley, Morgan Sinnett, Aubrey Smith, Lindsey Studebaker, Jayme Tackett, Brendan Urban, Kelsey Urban and Jen West.
Timekeepers were Kelly Hammons, Lindsay Mapes, Thomas Nicholas, Marty Renemans, Emily Smith and Jen West.
Coaches were Durbin, Jeff Gottke, Scott Musser, Scott Ramion and Megan Stewart.
The contest was hosted by the First Presbyterian Church and coordinated by ESC personnel and volunteers.