Three of the most competitive after school clubs catch the eye of many students

Pooja Adelli, Anu Daga, and Sarah Qazi

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Rachel Carson’s after school activities are popular among the students. Three of the most competitive are, Debate, Technology Student Association (TSA) and Model UN.

Rachel Carson’s Debate team

Rachel Carson Middle School’s award winning debate team is one of the most popular after school activities, and also one of the most intense. Tryouts, beginning in late September, select 30 kids that will compete against other middle schools. In fact, it is so competitive, that in the first couple meetings of debate, the team was already given four topics to prepare for. Each topic has a full essay you have to write for. The team’s most recent tournament was on Dec. 9.

The team researches about the four topics, in which they have to prepare eight cases for. Noya, a student in debate talks about this in more detail.

“You have your contentions which are your points, and then you have your warrants, which is evidence, and then you have your impact, which is basically like a conclusion for each point.

Debate is a challenging  activity, and requires a lot of practice, attention, and research. A student in the debate team, Noya, talks about her experience in debate.

“You don’t just go to debate for those two hours, you have to do a lot of research before that,” she says.

Debate requires a lot of research, and you can’t come up with refutes on the spot. You have to do a lot of research on the topic. For example, sanctuary cities. The team has been debating on whether sanctuary cities are a good idea. You have to do research on the topic before you can prepare any cases.

In debate, you don’t have any control over what you’re going to be arguing against. For example, if your topic is about sanctuary cities, and you support the idea, you might end up arguing against sanctuary cities.

Photo credit: Pooja A.

The students are researching a question for an exercise.

“You should still have your opinions,” Noya says, “but you should not let debate factor into your opinions.”

A good debater needs to be confident, and they cannot hesitate. They need to be able to push their own opinions to the side, and debate for the other side as well.

“You need to be passionate about debate,” Noya starts, “or you won’t get anywhere in it.”

Rachel Carson’s Technology Student Association

Technology Student Association, or more popularly known as TSA, is another popular activity RCMS offers. They meet after school and discuss about technology based projects. The go to competitions and compete in events against other schools. There are three different types of competitions they compete in, nationals, state, and regionals.

“Regionals is in a local Briar Woods High School, States is at Hamptons Roads Convention Center in Hampton, and Nationals are in Georgia. They change every year,” Sagar Gupta, a student in TSA says.

To practice, you normally have to put together a portfolio to show what you have been doing, and your portfolio is most of your score.

According to the students, TSA is difficult, and you need a couple of specific qualities in it. You need to be an outside of the box thinker, and you need to show dedication and commitment. You need to be passionate about what you are doing, and you also need to make smart choices.

“It’s a fun and unique opportunity, there are many things to do, you meet many people, and it’s also very interesting. Helps develop leadership and confidence,” Sagar explains. “TSA covers topics mainly around technology, and branches out through different aspects related to technology. For example, building, writing essays and debate.”

Photo credit: Pooja A.

The students are actively participating in a group discussion. 

The competitions, as described by the team, are very fun, interesting and busy because of students and teacher interactions. Lots of activities are going on at once, and everything seems professional because of formal wear.

Another thing about TSA is that seventh and eighth graders are normally not separated. Everyone is in the same group, no matter their age or grade.

TSA is a learning opportunity for kids too, and according to everyone in it, it’s enjoyable.

Rachel Carson’s Model UN

     Rachel Carson’s  Model UN club is a fun learning experience for students as well. In Model UN, students are given a topic to prepare and research on. Then it’s time to show off your skills.

“To join the MUN you definitely need public speaking skills,” says Catherine Pak, the president of the team. “You also need leadership skills and the ability to cooperate with your peers.”

 The Model UN students say that researching is the most important part of preparing. You can’t go to a competition without researching

“Model UN competitions occur once a month,” says Austin Shi, the vice president of the team. “Every time a different school gets the honor of hosting the competitions.”

According to Model UN students, competitions can be very stressful for them,  but Model UN can is still very fun for them. It can also be helpful in classes.

“Model UN definitely helps in Civics and English. I am able to write any kind of paper, and my stage fright is gone,” he says.

Photo credit: Pooja A. 

Student is researching his assigned topic

Model UN can help your critical thinking skills and you can meet a lot of new people. Model UN is a great opportunity to show off your public speaking skills. They meet in B210.

 

The students in these three teams agree that these clubs are exciting. If you are a future eighth grader who is looking for clubs to join next year, these are three of the many options to consider.

 

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