GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - President Obama and Mitt Romney face off Wednesday night in their first of three debates, but across the nation high school and college students do this sort of thing everyday. We paid a visit to the Grand Rapids Christian High School debate team and learned what it takes to be a good debater.
Debate at the high school and college level can take many forms, from Lincoln-Douglas style which is a modeled after the famous debates by Abraham Lincoln, there is also policy debate where teams of two argue over a plan, then there is legislative debate which is what GRCHS does.
"Legislative debate is an activity where students pretend they are Congress," explains Nate Vander Zee debate coach at GRCHS. "We prepare lots of research and speeches and good points to make, then we get together with other schools and we pretend to be the Congress."
Where the candidates of the presidential debate will be judged by the electorate, legislative debaters are judged by judges.
"We think it is important because it teaches public speaking skills," Nate Vander Zee explains, "and how to be comfortable in front of people."
This style of debate does have some similarities to the presidential debate. "To some extent it does," explains Ade Ayoola GRCHS debater, "it is people trying to prove their point and to see who is right and who is wrong. To another extent, it is more about Congress and it is more about getting together than individual debate."
The students said that when you watch a debate you need to make sure, "you have to have an open mind you have to be willing to hear the other side. If you have a closed mind you won't learn a lot."
That is good advice for anyone watching the debate.