A Hauntingly Argumentative Halloween Celebration

By Roberto Jones & Alejandra Hernández

The ASF hallows had been spooked, and the vampires’ stomachs grumbled as students walked into the Fine Arts Center for the Opening Ceremony of the 10th annual ASOMEX Halloween Debate Tournament this past Friday, October 18. 

While the Founders smiled from their graves, our Executive Director, Mark Iver Sylte, delivered a speech linking the wisdom of Sir Winston Churchill, author Frank Herbert, and Socrates which left us howling for more as it motivated the debaters to kick of the competition with high spirits. These historical figures have taught us that our tongues and our minds, working harmoniously, can ultimately help us handle any obstacle and deal with any situation, even when facing death as Socrates showed us. We guess corrupting the minds of our youth is a worthy enterprise as long as they are as woke to their own surroundings as they claim to be. The skills we learn in debate can ultimately shape how we develop solutions, make decisions, and stand for our own beliefs. 

The following schools participated in this year’s tournament, marking one of the largest tournaments in the history of the Mexican Debate Circuit with around 300 attendees.

  • Edron Academy
  • Peterson School Tlalpan
  • Prepa Ibero
  • Prepa Tec CCM
  • Prepa Tec Esmeralda
  • The American School Foundation Monterrey
  • Westhill Institute
  • Liceo Franco Mexicano
  • Lancaster School
  • Churchill College
  • Churchill School
  • Humanitree

The witches from Ikuk Catering cooked delightful food for the judges, debaters and supporters to enjoy; they munched on some warm chilaquiles for breakfast along with frighteningly delicious burgers and werewolves’ favorite hot dogs to fuel the participants’ hungry brains for each debate. Finally, those who survived the bloody 4th round stayed to eat some spicy curry which the mummies living next door at the Baptist Church say it’s to die for! 

In the first round, Upper School debaters got their skeletons moving by discussing how the Mexican government should enlist private mercenary groups to help national forces in Sinaloa, where judges were spellbound with the opposition side arguments with a majority of wins in favor of our own national security forces. Middle Schoolers were asked to imagine what military conscription would look like if supernatural creatures existed, contesting issues of power and authority in this fantastical world. 

"Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble…” For the second round, a prepared motion bought haunting arguments for highschoolers debating, This House Supports the 2019 Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill's implementation in Hong Kong. This motion directly dealt with the current Umbrella Revolution being waged in Hong Kong due to the aforementioned extradition bill. Issues with national sovereignty against fair due processes made the debate extremely difficult for both proposition and opposition teams. Meanwhile, the Middle School division discussed tax cuts for Big Pharma companies to develop male contraceptive pills. It sensitized them to a feminist discussion that is not regularly accessed by many people, yet is focused enough on pharmaceutical companies to facilitate the approach to the contraceptive debate.

Hocus pocus! The debaters came back out of their coffins Saturday morning to debate another set of motions. In this case, the Upper School students dealt with giving more votes to the poor, while the Middle School students argued in favor of those who have passed away, asking the government to finance funerals. Following our Halloween theme, this motion couldn’t have been better to see how tasty our debaters’ brains truly are. 

The argument of the day, however, came with the 4th round when debaters asked themselves whether being was better than appearing to be. Everyone had to explore their understanding of themselves in regards to their own identities, the stereotypes they experience, and their own social reality as they confront issues with being instead of seeming on a daily basis as Middle & Upper School students. This motion departs from Shakespearean literature, Platonic philosophy, sociology, and psychology as a multidisciplinary challenge to our students. It is vastly open to both individual and societal interpretations.

As it happens in this celebration some teams frightened others and convinced the judges with bloody strong arguments! The break for the semi-finals came down to these Halloween treats:

In Upper School:

Tarritos: 4 wins – 11 ballots – 257.25 avg. speaker points 

Hot Tamales: 4 wins – 11 ballots – 250.71 avg. speaker points

Pica Fresas: 4 wins – 10 ballots – 253.25 avg. speaker points 

Kit Kats: 3 wins – 10 ballots – 250.75 avg. speaker points 

In Middle School, the breaking teams were the following:

Airheads: 4 wins - 11 ballots - 253.25 avg. speaker points

Milky Ways: 4 wins - 10 ballots - 241.62 avg. speaker points

Toblerones: 3 wins - 9 ballots - 242 avg. speaker points

Snickers: 3 wins - 8 ballots - 241.54 avg. speaker point

These teams went head to head to discuss the role of professional sports is, especially in determining ideas of culture and inclusion and to deconstruct the preexistent biases of court settlements and courts themselves, place these against the importance of the environment and determine what the best means of ensuring a system of justice which actually resolves current environmental concerns is. These motions were designed to test the student’s notions of diversity and legality respectively when dealing with contemporary worldwide issues. 

As the moon rose again over the Paul Williams Upper School Building, the finalists got ready to debate. The mighty and sweet Middle School Milky Ways went against the Toblerones debating the commercialization and glorification of criminal’s lives in film and television. The Upper School spellbinding Kit Kats and Hot Tamales debated that there is no such thing as anti-capitalist art. Both debates were filled with thunderstorms of arguments, rebuttals and the enthusiasm from the skeletons, monsters, judges and supportive teammates in the audience. Yet, in the end, only one can be the winner. For Middle School, the Churchill School Milky Ways: Noah Cruz, Zoe Sancho and Paulina Sandoval took the trophy and in Upper School, the Churchill College Hot Tamales: Aurora Kleimann, Manuel Machorro and Ximena Zarro demonstrated skill which captivated the judges taking home another trophy themselves. 

ASF did not fall behind, winning Second and Third Places in the Upper School Division. Congratulations to team Kit Kats: Nanami Haruyama, Alejandra Hernández, Luz María Guerrero and Michael Dornic, and team Pica Fresas: Mariana Icaza, Valentina Casasus, Camila Curiel, and Alejandra Díaz-Pizarro!

A special thank you to all the ASF parents who joined us during the tournament as judges, tabulators or staff. Without you, Halloween would not have been a success.

Check out our Tournament Website and these Academic Notes which will give you a full insight as to what we do in debate and how everything happened during the tournament. Hope to see you next year!

 Team Milky Ways

 Team Kit Kats

 Team Tic Tacs

 Team Toblerone