Thank you for signing-up to tryout for the Middle School debate team. 

For your tryout you have to do both of the following:

 FIRST: You must watch this debate round, which is hosted by Intelligence Squared. The debaters are debating the topic: "Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies." (below)

You do not have to have it memorized. We are going to have a discussion. Do not plan on giving any speeches. You also do not have to decide which side of the issue you believe. You will not be debating during the tryout. There might be somethings you agree with on one side and agree with on the other side. Be ok with that.

You will be allowed to have notes in the tryout. 

Here is a copy of the transcript for those of you might want to read along and take notes.

Obviously you must have to have watched this by your tryout. You don't *need* to watch it all. I won't be giving a test. But, obviously, the more you've watched the better you'll be able to discuss.


SECOND: Please write a, roughly, 300 word mini-essay explaining why you would like to be on the debate team. Unlike sports or playing an instrument, competitive debate isn't something that is very visible. I'm interested in knowing you what made you think "I want to be a debater." 

This is due in Coach Bietz's email ( by Monday, September 16 by 8:00pm.  * Please know that the HW Honor Code applies even for tryouts.

You are free to get help by discussing either the video, or coming up with the idea for the mini-essay. But everything that is meant to be your own - notes from the debate and the mini-essay, should be.

Honor Code

As a member of the Harvard-Westlake school community:

I will let my conscience be my guide in my everyday actions and endeavors at Harvard-Westlake.

I will neither give nor receive unauthorized aid, as defined by my teacher both explicitly and implicitly, from any source on exams, homework, quizzes, papers, or any other academic endeavor.

I will not steal or violate others’ property, either academic or material.

I will not violate the person of others or the person of the school.

I will pledge my honesty to the school community, and I expect others to be responsible and to do the same.

On all my work, my name affirms my honor.