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The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Ahmed Basheir
Ahmed Basheir
Sports Co-Editor

STUDENT PROFILE: Kaj Larsen

Kaj Larsen ‘25 after a debate tournament. Photo courtesy of Larsen
Kaj Larsen ‘25 after a debate tournament. Photo courtesy of Larsen

A young Kaj Larsen ‘25 walks into room 3106 after school early on in his freshman year here at City. He’s here for the first debate meeting of the year after signing up at the club fair.

“It started with the club fair, when I came across the little debate stand, and I figured I’d give it a try,” Larsen said, “So I showed up the first day, and I ended up showing up every day after that.”

When the meeting started, Debate Coach Drew Gartner started explaining what debate was all about. Larsen was very surprised, but he was eager to take on the challenge.

“Debate is exactly what you think it’s not, going into it,” said Larsen. “Basically what we will do is we’ll just put together positions on general topics. You have to advocate for a plan on the affirmative side, and on the negative side, you have to disprove it, and that’s the general structure of debate. However, there are some things that people usually wouldn’t think about when they think about debate. For example, because there are time limits, somebody a few decades ago had the bright idea of speaking as fast as you can to get in as many arguments as you can. Debate can be pretty incomprehensible to most people.”

It may have taken some time to get used to, but Larsen has quickly become one of the premier debaters here at City. In under two seasons, he won a tournament and qualified for nationals. He is truly a rising star and a candidate to win a lot more in the future.

“I think not only the community, the coaches, my friends, were always there for me, were always joking with me, but also the constant drive to get better. No one can be a perfect debater, so there’s always something to improve on,” Larsen said.

It’s not just in his debate round where the skills he’s developed have helped him though. They’re applicable to many other aspects of his life as well.

“I’ve met some of my very best friends, I’ve learned a ton, and [debate has] certainly helped with my academics and in all my other classes. The incredible skills you develop in debate [are] really applicable to basically everything,” Larsen said.

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