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Friday, November 14, 2008

Mundt Tournament in Peril: Harrisburg Willing to Do What Madison Won't

Elisa Sand gives the Karl E. Mundt Debate Tournament big coverage in tonight's Madison Daily Leader. Readers will recall my coverage Sunday, which explained that after four decades of honoring Madison HS alumnus Senator Mundt by hosting the final regular season South Dakota high school debate contest, the Madison Central School District apparently wants out.

I'll fact-check later—for now, read Sand's coverage... and note that while Madison appears to be full of "No We Can't," Class A rival Harrisburg, which has had a debate program for just two years, appears to have the Obama spirit—"Yes We Can!"—to take this proud tradition from Madison. School spirit, anyone?


  1. Let's just hope Harrisburg doesn't rename it the Jon Loos Debate Tournament

  2. The Karl Mundt Debate needs to stay in Madison. Sharon Knowlton once again is making a decision to change our high school without confering with anyone about her decision. She has taken away so much from student opportunities since she arrived. The Mundt Debate needs to expand, not retreat or leave. This one is worth fighting for. A rally followed by a meeting with Sharon Knowlton and maybe the school board members should provide the debate tournament's value to our students, our university and community.

  3. Re-read the article. Where does it say that Knowlton wants the Mundt to leave?? I don't understand that one. She offers a clear plan to KEEP it in Madison--just not at MHS.

  4. She does offer a plan, but that plan -- downsizing the tournament -- is a recipe for losing the tournament. Coaches don't want a tournament where fewer kids can compete.

    I have a meeting with Mrs. Knowlton and Mr. Schaefer next week. I'll explain that to them, and we'll see what we can do to achieve what appears to be our common goal, to keep the Mundt Tournament in Madison and to offer our kids and kids from around the state the greatest opportunity to compete and learn.

  5. Perhaps a persuasive argument could be crafted around the educational value of debate vs. any other extracurricular activity. If the mission of the school is to educate, it seems appropriate to cut athletic programs first. The article sites the additional cost of maintenance as the disadvantage of the tournament.

    Does MHS sponsor a track meet? I know they have to be throwing money at homecoming week. How about volleyball or gymnastics?

    Let's cancel a few away basketball games to pay for the extra cleaning services necessary for the debate tournament.

  6. Saying the event puts a strain on the maintenance staff that is already tapped out with cleaning and locking up on that night really seemed like a lame and disappointing excuse. To totally change an event for that reason doesn't make sense. Really bright people can't find a solution for that?

  7. Ever see the gym after a basketball game? That mess doesn't stop us from hosting home games. In my experience, debaters don't leave anywhere near that much mess. I may be wrong, but the extra strain comes in large part from the custodial staff simply having to wait to do the normal daily sweeping and cleaning of the classrooms until after the tournament is done.


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