Jonathan Kumar is not going to Austin to score political points.
But points are important. The Lamar Consolidated senior will compete Jan. 7 – 8 against about 150 other students in the first-ever UIL Congress competition.
“Making it to State in UIL Congress is pretty cool,” Kumar said. “There was a ton of competition at the Regional Tournament.”
“Jonathan has truly illustrated what it means to be a dedicated and talented debater,” said M. Yvonne Eype, Director of Speech and Debate at Lamar Consolidated High. “His determination to excel in all his events has been an inspiration to all his teammates.
Congress is an individual contest in a large group setting, modeled on the legislative process of democracy, specifically, the United States Congress.
This Congress, like the one in Washington, D.C. will deal with real-world social and political policies Students submit draft legislation (proposed laws and position statements) prior to the tournament and must research the docket of bills and resolutions coming from other students.
Once at the tournament, Kumar will caucus with between 15 and 20 other students in committees, deliver formal discourse on the merits and disadvantages of each piece of legislation and vote to pass or defeat the measures they have examined.
The caucuses, which act as the preliminary round, last for eight hours. Between one and six students in each caucus will advance to the Finals.
Parliamentary procedure forms structure for the discourse, and students extemporaneously respond to others’ arguments over the course of a session.
Judges grade each speaker for the content of his speech, the speaker’s argument for or against the legislation and delivery of the information.