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International Debate Competition Comes to Campus
emmett knowlton 11 sports editor volume 85
September 12, 2009

IISPSC is not the catchiest acronym. But what it stands for—International Independent School Public Speaking Competition—will bring over 200 new faces to campus mid fall term.
Deerfield will host the 38th annual competition from October 1 to 4. The international debate includes students from eight countries, four continents, and forty different schools including King’s Academy in Jordan, Eton College in the UK, and others in Bermuda, Cyprus, China and Peru.
Three Deerfield students, Katie Walker ’10, Charles Giannini ’11, and Grace Mermel ’12, who were selected during school-wide tryouts this past spring, will also debate.

The entire event will be divided into four different categories, each with different rules and regulations. Among these categories are impromptu speaking, parliamentary debate, and dramatic interpretation. To make it to the finals, a public speaker must score well through the first two rounds, and not have any points deducted.

Although the competitions themselves will be held in the Koch Center, the participants will be staying all over the valley.

According to Michael O’Donnell, faculty head of the steering committee, volunteer families in the Deerfield community will billet 140 of the visiting students. Other competitors and public speaking coaches will stay in the 120 local hotel rooms that have been reserved for the event.
“It is going to take a massive effort from the Deerfield and surrounding communities,” said Giannini.

The steering committee has been working since January recruiting faculty, college debaters, and others to judge events.
Deerfield students will play a role serving as tour guides, photographers, videographers, and timers and speakers in each room. A number of students will also serve as leaders to help organize peers and ensure that each room is ready to go before each event.

Mr. O’Donnell estimates that during the competition there will be around one-thousand individual performances, along with over two-hundred extra people to feed and transport multiple times a day. Because of this, classes on October 2 will be canceled “in order to provide room for the competition and to allow DA students to assist and observe the events.”
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet and compete with students from all over the world,” said Giannini. “I’m sure it will be a lot of fun and that everyone’s hard work will pay off. This is really a unique chance for all of us, and I can’t wait for it to start.”

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