Delozier takes over debate, works to fill Cosner’s shoes

Kasey Thompson, Yearbook Editor in Chief

When former teacher Aaron Cosner was offered the job of principal and debate coach at Redeemer Classical School in Keezletown, Virginia, English teacher Danae Delozier took over Cosner’s position as debate coach. She had some past experience in the field and learned from Cosner throughout last year. 

“I’ve been helping out with the public speaking forensics team for nine years. Debate and public speaking work very closely together, we go to the same competitions. When Mr. Cosner started looking at other [jobs], he asked if I’d be interested in learning about debate and potentially taking it over since I already had some background in the whole idea of rhetoric and public speaking,” Delozier said. “He mentored me and taught me some of the ropes. It was something I was interested in and I know he was happy to see it go to someone who’s had some experience in that field.”

Filling in Cosner’s shoes originally seemed like a daunting task for Delozier as he had impacted a lot of students and built an award winning debate team. 

“Mr. Cosner had really taken the program and turned it into something really strong and something that a lot of kids really enjoyed, so it’s a little intimidating. I’m hoping that students will find that a lot of the same basics are still there with debate. I might be putting my own spin on a few things, but the love of debate, public speaking and argument should be the same for both dynasties, if you will,” Delozier said. 

While learning about debate herself, Delozier is simultaneously teaching new students in the program and learning from the current captains. 

“So far the year has been great, [but] it’s still a learning experience. I’m trying to see where students are, what they’re ready for and also making sure that we have fun along the way. [I’m] trying to balance the challenge with the excitement and fun of it all. [I’m] still learning, but [I’m] getting a better idea of what to do for the future,” Delozier said. “[The captains and I] have been working together to talk about where we see the team going this year and also how to get people in the class more interested in joining the after school team as well.” 

Taking over debate has been rewarding for Delozier as well. With her background in forensics, she already had a love for many of the skills within debate. 

“The coolest part so far [of teaching debate] has been getting to do more with current events. I love talking about current events. Debate really lends itself to being in the know about what’s happening in the world. Being able to talk about current events every day and getting students interested in that has been my favorite part. Also, it’s a class where you’re supposed to talk to each other. It’s very different from a lot of other classes where you have more prescriptive reading and writing. This is more a class where you get to hang and talk,” Delozier said. 

Debate captain and sophomore Jumana Alsaadoon confessed that many fellow debaters were nervous about the change, as they had formed a close relationship with Cosner. However, Alsaadoon has been impressed with Delozier’s willingness to learn and make class exciting.  

“Last year there was a lot of worry about who was going to take over the debate team for Mr. Cosner. We all knew that over the years he has built a great debate program that helped so many students get into public speaking. Initially, there was a lot of fear of a new coach taking over. However, Ms. Delozier has a lot of experience in public speaking and she is working hard with the captains this year to sustain the debate program. She is connecting not only with students from last year, but also first year debaters who are interested. This helped ease the transition to the new coach,” Alsaadoon said. “I am excited to work with her and the other captains to support the debate team through a successful season.”

Sophomore Aiyana Thornton has been on the debate team for two years now and she competes in two vs. two debate at competitions. Thornton was one of the many students who found it hard picturing the team without Cosner. 

“Cosner leaving was definitely pretty difficult for me. I only had class with him for one year, but he was one of those teachers who made a huge impact on your life. He was also super helpful with anything even if it wasn’t related to debate. Knowing he was leaving was definitely sad and did make me question whether I wanted to do debate next if he wasn’t the coach,” Thornton said. 

Despite her original fears, Thornton is hopeful for this year’s competitions and thankful for Delozier’s efforts as coach so far this year. 

“This year with Ms. Delozier has been as good as I could’ve asked for. She has been super open to learning and trying to make debate [the] best it can possibly be. She is definitely putting a lot of effort into the team which is something I’m grateful for,” Thornton said. “I really am excited for this new debate season and I think even with the change in coaching the debate team is still going to be very successful in competition.” 

Despite Cosner leaving being hard on some students, they now may have the opportunity to go against his new debate team at Redeemer Classical School which Delozier is confident about. 

“I’ve heard from several of the debaters on the team now that they would love to go against Mr. Cosner’s students and show them the ‘what’s up,’” Delozier said. “It would be very friendly, but intense competition between the two.”