The Harker School’s debaters wrapped up two tournaments in October on high notes, earning top spots in competitions on opposite ends of the country. In mid-October, 18 students competed at a public forum debate held at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Ariz. Six of nine teams qualified for the elimination rounds. Shivani Mitra and Nik Agarwal, both grade 11, were octofinalists. Andrew Luo and Sarina Vij, both grade 11, and grade 10 students Maneesha Panja and Sebi Nakos also finished as octofinalists and earned ghost bids to the Tournament of Champions (TOC).
David Grossman, grade 11, and Sreyas Misra, grade 10, made it to the quarterfinals and earned a bid to the TOC. Pranav Sharma and Kiran Arimilli, both grade 11, and Katherine Paseman and Stephanie Lu, both grade 10, finished as semifinalists, all earning a bid to the TOC.
Harker students took the top three spots in the individual speaker category, with Paseman finishing first, Grossman second and Sharma third. “Each of the trophies that Harker brought home were made by Desert Vista’s pottery club, and the money the school used to purchase the trophies was donated to Relay for Life,” said Carol Green, upper school debate teacher. “In addition, Desert Vista organized a book drive to donate books to a shelter for domestic abuse. Despite flying to the tournament, Harker was recognized as the school that brought the most books to donate.”
That same weekend, at the Bronx Round Robin in New York City, Aneesh Chona and Anuj Sharma, both grade 11, won 10 straight ballots in their pod to finish with a perfect record, while Reyhan Kader, grade 11, and Kevin Duraiswamy, grade 10, went 8-2 in their pod. The two teams closed out the round robin, with Sharma winning the top speaker award and Chona the second place speaker award.
After the round robin, the Harker teams participated in a three-day open invitational, featuring more than 100 teams. Sharma and Chona took home the championship, and Chona placed 18th among individual speakers in an event with more than 200 competitors. Although Kader, Duraiswamy, Neel Jani, grade 11, and Neil Khemani, grade 10, barely missed the elimination rounds, they were nonetheless an important asset in helping Chona and Sharma win the championship by providing constant support.