Class of 0
every other display case in the school is decorated with an ever-changing array of certificates and trophies. these two debate awards still hold their place of honor more than 30 years later.
the impact on those debate teams was no less enduring, according to dr. barry l. karon, cardiologist at the mayo clinic in rochester and sibley alum. "debate was a strongly positive force in my life, especially in evaluating issues, formulating advocacy positions, and providing a comfort at the podium in front of large audiences."
there were fewer than a dozen debaters at that time and the roster of upperclassmen was so thin that karon and three friends were allowed to debate varsity all three years at sibley. lacking a booster group or resources like the athletic teams, how did a small debate team from a small school excel?
coach d. craig bucher was a big factor, karon said, because he dedicated so much personal time to working with the strengths of each debater and teaching them about teamwork. bucher also offered rides to libraries at the university of minnesota and william mitchell law school, which were necessary for debate research in those pre-internet days. the students were self-motivated and committed to debate, not that they were model scholars. "we were a real pain in the neck, playing juvenile pranks" as they traveled to tournaments in duluth, wisconsin and northern minnesota. despite that, bucher took them camping with his family and to other social events.
karon gained skills on that team that he uses today, speaking to professional groups numbering from hundreds to 5,000. he remembers freezing on his feet at a debate meet, "but it only happened once. and what i took away was confidence and feeling wonderfully equipped to put together a cogent list of arguments and multitask," he said. debaters simultaneously listen to opponent's arguments, scribble notes on the progress and pluck out file cards that will help support their case.
if there's a negative to debate training, karon said, it is when someone says up, you say down or when they say right, you immediately say left. it's a hard habit to break since debaters are taught to argue either side of a question with equal skill and passion.
karon graduated in 1972 from sibley and finished graduate school and medical school before his residency at mayo. he's been at the world-renowned clinic since 1982. his teammates, dan yarosh, scott lemay and john hober, went on to equally challenging careers. hober earned a debate scholarship that paid his way through college.
sibley's debate team was dormant for several years, and then math teacher jason johnson picked up the baton three years ago. he has coached the debate team to remarkable progress.
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