Meet The Coach: Elizabeth Bennet

Debate coach Elizabeth Bennet

Elizabeth Bennet

Debate coach Elizabeth Bennet

Araminta Siegling, Reporter

 Elizabeth Bennet, one of City High’s debate coaches, is a student at the University of Iowa studying medical anthropology. She wants to get a master’s degree in public health, and then focus on epidemiology. Bennet has been coaching high school policy debate for three years. She has worked with the Iowa City School District, and briefly coached for Pine Crest High School, Bennet has been coaching City High students for three years.

“I think it’s really cool to come up with new and innovative arguments and try to do the research to craft it all together,” Bennet said.

She also debates for the university and has found that teaching high schoolers has helped her understand arguments better.

“It’s nice being able to teach other people about how debate works. I feel like it also helps me as a debater because I debate in college, it helps me also understand the arguments when I have to explain them to someone else,” Bennet said.

She has been able to adjust to online debate tournaments and practices without any issues. Zoom has helped facilitate online tournaments and has kept them running smoothly. Bennet says that online tournaments still have most of the important features of debate. 

“I miss the social aspect of in-person tournaments because it just made tournaments feel a lot more meaningful. In a sense, you get to go to tournaments and get to meet new opponents, new debaters, and see different friends. While on the other hand, it’s nice being able to debate at home, and have access to food, and wake up at a slightly later time. So there’s pros and cons,” Bennet said.

She has judged many high school debate rounds and she has noticed that the debaters can be very creative while competing.

“High schoolers are quite innovative, in a sense, a lot of high schoolers are very creative with the arguments they were able to craft within the debate,” Bennet said.

During her high school debate career, Bennet debated for Niles West. She is experienced with being the first affirmative speaker, and the second. Bennet’s favorite speech is the first affirmative rebuttal speech, which is one of the most difficult speeches in policy debate. She loves the mix of competitiveness and research in the activity.