By Zach Jones, with additional information provided by debate teachers Carol Green, Jenny Alme and Karina Momary
Students Earn Accolades and TOC Spots at Presentation High
More than 30 Harker students attended the Presentation High School Public Forum Invitational held the weekend of Nov. 8. Eighteen upper school students competed in the varsity division while four upper school and eight middle school students competed in the novice division; three seniors came to the tournament to coach novices.
Two of Harker’s varsity teams made it into the Elite Eight, with one team debating its way to the final two, losing the final round on a 2-1 decision. Seniors Nikhil Kishore and Vamsi Gadiraju rocked their first tournament of the season as final-round participants and earned their first leg to the Tournament of Champions.
Kishore and Gadiraju are the fifth Harker public forum team to earn half of their qualifying legs only two months into the season.
The top eight teams in elimination rounds included the duo known as “The Brothers Lin” – David Lin, grade 12, and his younger brother Jimmy Lin, grade 9.
Sorjo Banerjee, grade 11, was named as the top overall individual speaker at the tournament with five other Harker students being recognized in the top 15 overall.
Success in Minneapolis
Six middle school and 10 upper school students traveled to Apple Valley, Minn., in early November to compete at the MinneApple Debate Tournament. This is the first year Harker middle school students have competed at this high school varsity national invitational and everyone had a wonderful time!
Every team from Harker won at least one of their preliminary rounds, an especially notable accomplishment for the middle schoolers as they were the only grade 7 debaters in the pool of mostly high school juniors and seniors.
Junior Eesha Chona and Joyce Huang, grade 10, were 33rd seed and missed elimination rounds by the speaker point tie-breaker. Juniors Suraj Jagadeesh and Nikhil Bopardikar went undefeated in preliminaries and lost a close match in the first elimination round. Bopardikar was also named seventh overall individual speaker out of more than 200 speakers in the varsity division!
Abhinav Ketineni and Jasmine Liu, both grade 11, also went undefeated in prelims. They lost in the Sweet 16 as did the team of Alexander Lam, grade 10, and David Jin, grade 11. Both teams earned their first of two qualifying legs to the Tournament of Champions. Ketineni was also the ninth overall individual speaker.
Sorjo Banerjee and sophomore Emaad Raghib represented Harker all the way to the Elite Eight, losing in the quarterfinal round. They also picked up their first leg to the Tournament of Champions.
Middle School Holds Intramural Speech and Debate Tournament
On Oct. 30, 85 middle school students and their parents participated in the October Intramural Speech and Debate Tournament. Each student competed in three competitive rounds against other Harker students to practice and get a feel for what a competitive round is like. Parents and high school students volunteered as judges. The event was run in a timely fashion, with more than 50 total speech and debate rounds taking place on a Thursday evening.