GHC debate team reaches success at Stanford tournament

The debate team meets over Zoom to prepare for tournaments. Courtesy of GHC Speech and Debate Instagram.

By Dveen Hagopian

The Granada Hills Charter (GHC) debate team competed virtually at the 35th Annual Stanford Invitational on the weekend of February 6-8. GHC’s Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debaters were very successful, as they were outstanding in every competition pool.  

The overall topic of the debate was “Resolved: States ought to ban lethal autonomous weapons,” where students had to argue either for or against the implementation of a ban against autonomous military systems which can search for and engage targets independently. 

“On the affirmative side, we were primarily arguing the need to ban lethal autonomous weapons due to the moral and ethical issues they pose such as dehumanizing warfare and reinforcing imperialist power dynamics. On the negative side, our main argument was the need to keep lethal autonomous weapons in order to prevent violence because a ban would only pave the way for more harm to civilians, soldiers, and nations,” LD debater and senior Daniella Hanna said.

GHC’s LD debaters were rewarded with many achievements at the tournament. Hanna was ranked as the top speaker in the JV LD pool. Junior Brigitte Sorto made it to octofinals and was ranked as the 9th speaker, while junior Renee Palma made it to quarterfinals. 

Meanwhile, sophomore Julia Lawson reached the finals in the Novice LD pool. Sophomores Ahmad Sotoudeh and Raha Jalali made it to the double-octofinals and sophomore Lucas Allyn made the octofinals Lastly, senior Sarah Shapiro reached the double-octofinal in the California LD pool. 

The LD debaters worked extremely hard for these achievements at the tournament, a true testament to their determination and dedication as a debate team. According to Sorto, students met over zoom for debate practice almost every day to brainstorm and review their cases and arguments, as well as coming up with rebuttals. It is clear that a significant amount of time and effort was put into preparing for the tournament, which paid off when the students ultimately were met with impressive results. 

“It feels amazing to know that the work I put into practicing my speaking and really understanding the arguments I was presenting helped me achieve this position. Having such an amazing team that is constantly providing each other with great support and help whenever needed is such a big part of this accomplishment. This has been such an amazing experience and I love being part of this team,” Hanna said.