On February 9, the debate team participated in the 33rd annual Stanford Invitational, the third largest Speech and Debate competition in the nation. The team did very well at the competition with 12 trophies, also progressing to the semifinals in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate, quarterfinals in the Parliament Debate, and triple octofinals in the public forum debate.
Junior Shane Smith received top honors for being the top speaker out of 242 competitors in the parliamentary debate.
The Debate Team participates in a series of competitions where students demonstrate their skills in different categories. Each team member must make a case for a specific resolution that is assigned every three months.
The Stanford Invitational is a part of the circuit tournaments that help teams gauge their skills before the state and national tournaments. From all over the country and abroad, teams come to the annual Stanford Invitational to help prepare for state finals.
“My team is really good. I have some ninth graders and they are doing Congress and I think they will do really well,” English teacher and debate coach Jerome Robinson said.
Students were also hopeful because of their huge success last semester. Even so, they were aware that the Stanford Invitational would be challenging and therefore prepared accordingly for it.
“What we do [for the debate tournament] is we get together as a team and we build multiple cases for both the affirmation and the negation. Then, we debate against each other before the tournaments come about,” junior Susie Angiran said.
After all that preparation, the Debate Team was happy with their performance and experience and looks forward to future competitions.
“I was really happy and it was really nice because it was a really well run tournament and the campus was very beautiful. It was an amazing experience to go out with your team, really compete, and to put your skills to the test,” junior Sarah Tran said.
Robinson was also very impressed by the team’s performance and hopes to see the team practice more for the state and national tournaments.
“Now that we are down to the [state and national tournaments], it all comes down to just practice and they are getting good practice, so it will reflect positively on the team,” Robinson says.
State and national qualifiers are particularly challenging, but the team continues to practice and improve.
“During the tournament, my main feeling going through it was that I could have done more research beforehand. I feel that if I had more research, I would have had more evidence to back up my claims and I would have been more effective in that manner,” Tran said.
With the Stanford Invitational behind them, the debate team is eager to face the upcoming tournaments head on and learn from this experience. The state qualifiers are in March and the state competitions are in May.