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Matt McCann of Bergen Community College Debate Team Captain Wins First Place at Dominican University Debate Tournament

by: Batuhan Duman Bergen Community College’s debate team captain and president of the Debate Club, Matt McCann, won first place as the host and participant at Dominican University’s debate tournament held recently with the participation of Rockland Community College (RCC). 

After a day of fierce competition McCann, along with his debate partner Perry Kornbluh from RCC, won two out of the three debates, emerging victorious out of four teams at the tournament. The tournament was attended by strong debaters from Rockland CC and Dominican University, who debated contemporary topics about morals, international relations and civil conflicts. McCann, a business major, and Kornbluh, who is a biochemistry major, secured the top two places for the best speaker award in impromptu debate. 

     McCann, who is about to graduate Bergen CC, founded the Debate Club in the Fall semester of ’22, and was one of two members of the BCC Debate Club that competed in the tournament. 

“Impromptu debate is great because of its accessibility. You don’t need a MacBook or three days a week to do research to prep for a debate. Instead, you just need to be passionate about your beliefs, values, and expressing yourself,” McCann said.

McCann is a business major who has been accepted into Marist College in Poughkeepsie and will continue his education there. 

     The debate team captain has brought a long-awaited victory to BCC with his taking initiative and purposeful training. The team practice readings fast and comprehending, choosing a topic and does several 10-minute mock debates every week at their weekly Debate Club meetings, under the supervision of Prof. Daniel Salerno. McCann mentioned that they were grateful to Prof. Salerno for helping them learn how to form strong arguments, make concise points, and pointers about public speaking. 

“Our advisor, Daniel Salerno has been essential in our success as a first-year club. As an English professor, crafting solid arguments and precise debating techniques is his forte and it surely rubbed off on us,” McCann said.

    Wassim Boutemine, the other debater from Bergen CC who is the vice president on the impromptu style, took part in the first debate of the tournament which ended in victory for the team. 

“It’s a lot of fun because it is mainly just argumentation. No case studies or data are involved so anyone can get into the swing of things pretty quickly,” Boutemine said.

    What is Impromptu Debate?

   Impromptu debate is a type of debate where participants are given a topic or proposition on the spot and are expected to argue for or against it without any prior preparation or research. In an impromptu debate, participants have a short period of time to collect their thoughts and prepare their arguments before presenting them to the judges or audience. Impromptu debates are often used in educational settings to help students develop their critical thinking, communication and public speaking skills. 

    How to Join the Debate Club?

   The debate team captain and president McCann will be managing the club email account through the summer for any new joiners. You can contact the club via emailing The time and place of the club meetings will be determined by the Fall semester of ’23.

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