May 2, 2022 | By Sara Gill
GBH reporter James Bennett II joined us as a volunteer judge at the City Finals in March, and wrote about his experience judging and his conversations with BDL debaters, coaches, and staff.
As Bennett writes, “The end of March coincided with the end of Boston Debate League’s 2021-2022 season, its first featuring in-person competition since the pandemic forced it into the digital ether. It also saw the reappearance of in-person volunteer adjudicators, who are trained on the spot before taking their place upon the judgment seat, and then in the quiet of a library to complete their ballots, determine points and winners, and render their decisions.
That’s how I found myself in a cab on a Friday afternoon headed to Boston Latin Academy. Bounding up the school’s Old World stairs two at a time, I made my way to the library and checked in as a visitor to sit among a smattering of adults, varying in temperaments from nervous to genuinely curious to hype. We were all there to judge middle schoolers in a debate tournament, and we were all volunteers.”
“Talk to enough middle and high schoolers and you realize that this is a community; debate kids, like band kids and theater kids, occupy their own social space.”
– James Bennett II, GBH Reporter