Brother Rice Catholic High School Debate Forensics Bloomfield Hills MI

The debate team encourages students of all levels of comfort with public speaking to participate and develop skills crucial in today’s job market and critical for professional development. In debate, young men learn and develop their understanding of argumentation theory, how to construct and design logical arguments, the art of refuting opposing arguments, research skills, and the use of supporting evidence all while developing confidence, composure, persuasion, critical thinking, and awareness of current events.

In forensics competitive public speaking, students can develop critical thinking, persuasion, presentation form and speaking style in a fun, competitive environment in one of six categories: dramatic performance, duo interpretation of literature, extemporaneous speaking, oral interpretation of literature, oratorical declamation, and original oratory.

The debate/forensics team practices 2-3 times a week and competes nationally at tournaments such as Harvard College and Stanford University, state-wide through Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association (MIFA), and locally in the Detroit Catholic Forensics League (DCFL).

Past topics:

  • Resolved: NCAA student athletes ought to be recognized as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Resolved: The United States should require universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers of ownership.
  • Resolved: On balance, the benefits of the Internet of Things outweigh the harms of decreased personal privacy.
  • Resolved: The United States federal government should adopt a carbon tax.
  • Resolved: The benefits of First Amendment protection of anonymous speech outweigh the harms.
Brother Rice Catholic High School Debate Forensics Bloomfield Hills MI
Brother Rice Catholic High School Debate Forensics Bloomfield Hills MI

State Champions: 1978, 1986, 1988, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007

Moderators: Adam Walentowicz and Don Ciaravino

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Global Debate

What are Global Debates?

The Global Debates were a yearlong initiative developed to give high school students and their teachers an opportunity to actively participate and initiate public discussion around critical international issues. It was also a platform to exchange views and share courses of action that need to be taken around the world to combat these issues.

The Global Debates were originally organized by The People Speak, an organization dedicated to engaging young people on global issues around the world. In fact, The People Speak organization began in 2003 as an initiative the United Nations Foundation.  Since then, The People Speak has had 60,000 activities reaching people in all 50 states and people in more than 60 nations. In approximately 2009, the Global Debates became an initiative of the UN Foundation, IDEA debate, the NFL (National Forensic League), and other domestic and international partners. In total, Brother Rice participated in all four seasons – and all eight debates – of Global Debate competition (since the inception of the program).

The Global Debates program lasted from 2007-2011; now they are available only for college students.

Structure and Competition:

Two topics were debated per year, one in the first (“fall”) semester and one in the second (“spring”) semester. For each of these topics, a debate between Brother Rice teams was held, subsequently uploaded to YouTube, and submitted to the event organizers. Competing teams also had to earn “points” which determined worldwide team rankings. Points were earned through a variety of activities: service projects pertaining to the topics, writing press releases, obtaining press coverage, getting elected officials to attend the debate or service event, to name a few. The native Michigan garden in the courtyard by the ARC is one such service project conducted as part of the Global Debates.

The breakdown of points among the top teams (which were recorded by the organizers) for the four seasons are documented in the spreadsheet “Global Debates Four Year Results.” A review of the list of registered schools for the 2010-2011 Global Debates reveals that over 300 schools from across the globe and from every continent, except Antarctica participated. To the best of our knowledge for the first two years, thousands of teams competed in the Global Debates; moreover, Brother Rice is the only known high school in Michigan to have participated.

Brother Rice’s participation was fully documented on the website, as part of a “points” activity for the Global Debates:

Note: United Nations Foundation primarily coordinated the first two seasons, IDEA (International Debate Educational Association) primarily coordinating the final two seasons).


Fall 2007 – Resolved: Market mechanisms are preferable to regulatory approaches in reducing carbon emissions.

Spring 2008 – Resolved: Water should be considered national property.

Fall 2008 – Resolved: The World should adopt our plan to significantly combat climate change.

Spring 2009 – Resolved: Developed countries have a higher obligation to combat climate change.

Fall 2009 – Resolved: When it cannot do both, the United Nations should prioritize poverty reduction over combating climate change.

Spring 2010 – Resolved: Annex I countries of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should provide significantly increased aid to developing countries specifically for climate change adaptation.

Fall 2010 – Resolved: Nations of the world should increase protection of the social and economic rights of migrants.

Spring 2011 – Spring 2011: All states should immediately ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families.

Season (Fall-Spring) World Rank U.S. Rank End Tournament Invited and/or Participated Location
2007-2008 1 1 Youth Leadership Summit Both United Nations,New York, NY
2008-2009 14 2 Youth Leadership Summit Both United Nations,New York, NY
2009-2010 12 5 Youth Forum Invited Zeeland, Netherlands
2010-2011 4 2 Youth Forum Both Istanbul, Turkey

Brother Rice High School is a National Blue Ribbon School and ranked the #1 Catholic High School in Michigan for four consecutive years. A proud private educational institution located in Bloomfield Hills.