This year it has finally paid off as he and senior Abigail Moats qualified for debate nationals and capped off another successful year for Ames High debate. This year’s debate team has about fifteen consistent members and is one of the largest in recent history. The team has a healthy mixture of young talented freshmen and seasoned veterans like Jackson and Moats. The team typically practices twice a week for two hours at a time, researching topics and exploring the different types of debate. There are two main types of debate that the Ames team participates in. Student Congress is a representation of the US congress and Public Forum where a two-person team debates controversial issues in current society. Most debaters will typically exercise their skills at three or four tournaments a month traveling to a variety of locations in Iowa. Tournaments are divided into local circuits that feature regional Iowa teams and regional circuits that include teams from all over the Midwest. Additionally, tournaments are typically are divided into varsity bracket that features experienced debaters and a novice bracket for those who just beginning to enter the world of debate. Certain tournaments are special qualifying tournaments, and it was at one of these that the public forum team of Jackson and Moats were able to qualify for nationals. Following months of preparation and careful case research about the rise of China, the PF team managed to win the double elimination tournament despite facing heavy competition from teams such as Ankeney, Dowling, and Roosevelt. The team became the first ever public forum group from Ames to qualify for nationals. Jackson described the tournament rounds as “a healthy mixture of high powered intellectualism and barbaric yelling.” In order to prepare for their victory, both students have become very involved in debate. They have attended a variety of camps where they receive training from experts and coaches. The two also spent about 40 hours a week prepping for this tournament. As a result of their victory, Jackson and Moats will compete at the national tournament in Birmingham Alabama during the month of June. The tournament includes 256 public forum teams from across the country. Neither has ever attended the tournament, but both are optimistic as they prepare to take on prep-school power and elite programs.