The Harker public forum debate team has had its winningest year in the history of the program, with a team in the final round of a tournament every weekend it has been out traveling this year. Additionally, Harker has had teams in the top 10 in the nation on www.debaterankings.com in public forum debate for the entire year.
Harker debate began 2012 with a string of impressive performances.
The Barkley Forum at Emory University the weekend of Jan. 28 had 138 entries from all over the country. Frederic Enea and Rohan Bopardikar, both grade 12, were the second seed after preliminary rounds and fellow seniors Aakash Jagadeesh and Akshay Jagadeesh (no relation) were third seed. They met in semifinals after nine rounds of competition. Enea and Bopardikar advanced to the finals as the higher seed and went on to win the tournament.
At the Victory Briefs Tournament at UCLA, Enea and Bopardikar closed out the final round of the tournament with grade 10 students Stephanie Lu and Katherine Paseman, making this the fourth time Harker has won this tournament. Two additional Harker teams made it to the elimination rounds.
At a tournament held at James Logan High School, 132 teams competed. Senior Ishan Taneja and sophomore Jithin Vellian met Aneesh Chona and Anuj Sharma, both grade 11, in the semifinals. Taneja and Vellian advanced to the finals as the higher seed, where they were defeated. Two other Harker teams reached the elimination rounds.
On the East Coast, three young teams advanced to early elimination rounds at the Lexington High School tournament.
Chona and Sharma also won the Myers Park Laird Lewis Invitational in North Carolina, which is one of the top public forum tournaments in the country and included last year’s National Forensics League and Tournament of Champions winners. The duo were one of five Harker teams at the event, with the other four appearing in the elimination rounds. In the Public Forum Challenge, Aakash and Akshay made it to the final round of competition in a challenge-style tournament where 14 teams are invited from throughout the country.
Debate finished 2011 on a high note in two December tournaments; Enea and Bopardikar won the elite Blake Round Robin, while Chona and Sharma reached the semifinals of the Blake Tournament. Three other Harker teams were also in elimination rounds.