RBHS debate team elects co-captains for 2018-19 season

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Ben Kimchi

On Monday April 23, the RBHS debate team voted to elect juniors Kiren MacLeod and Megan Pullen as co-captains for the 2018-19 debate season. Head Coach Ben Niewoehner has high hopes for their leadership.
“I had Megan as a freshman in Civics, and I have thought highly of her since then,” Niewoehner said. “I think that she and Kiren have a great friendship, and they’re both strong leaders. Having them as co captains will help the team be as successful as it was this year.”
As co-captain of the debate team, MacLeod looks forward to working with Pullen, referencing their friendship as a foundation for cooperation.
“I’m psyched to work with Megan. She and I have known each other since freshman year when we first partnered in Public Forum Debate,” MacLeod said. “We barely knew each other, but we hit it off instantly and have remained very good friends ever since. As such, we got to work together a bunch, and I know that the two of us work very well together when it comes to team leadership roles. We are by no means identical, but I think that helps us more than it hurts.”
A common goal for the co-captains will be maintaining and growing upon RBHS debate’s success this year. Seniors Sonya Hu and Joshua Vincent, the current co-captains, have led the team to their most successful year in recent history.

“I firmly believe that a good captain incorporates others on the team in order to promote cohesion and to train younger debaters to be knowledgeable captains in later years. The integrity of a debater is also a main factor that I believe makes a good captain. A captain must not be a ‘lone wolf’. Their decisions regarding the team can impact everyone else, which is a lot of responsibility for a single person.” -Megan Pullen, junior”


“I don’t know entirely what that void [without Hu and Vincent] is going to feel like,” Niewoehner said. “Sonya has been such a presence and has gone above and beyond on the team since her freshman year, and so has Joshua.”
Hu and Pullen have begun working on a tournament manual to run the RBHS debate tournament for next year to help ease the transition, Niewoehner said. Outside of the hosted tournament, Pullen looks to bring the team closer together.
“I firmly believe that a good captain incorporates others on the team in order to promote cohesion and to train younger debaters to be knowledgeable captains in later years,” Pullen said. “The integrity of a debater is also a main factor that I believe makes a good captain. A captain must not be a ‘lone wolf’. Their decisions regarding the team can impact everyone else, which is a lot of responsibility for a single person.”
Both co-captains see area for improvement in the team dynamic. MacLeod focuses on a divide between experienced members of the team from less experienced members.
“I do with think we have a tiny bit of stratification problem, as does any large club,” MacLeod said. “Solving that is a priority for me. I also think having officers like treasurer, secretary, public relations director, and historian would go a long way towards making our team that much more capable of meeting the challenges that emerge when you’re growing as fast as our team is.”
MacLeod and Pullen now face the challenge of furthering the current RBHS speech and debate growth.
“In the past, I have seen a great divide between the captains and their responsibilities, so Kiren and I hope to change this,” Pullen said. “We hope to use our friendship and partnership as a unifier within the large and growing team.”