Nearly 50 middle school speech and debate students pitched in to help earn Harker the first place sweepstakes award at the Glendale Community College Tournament. The award is given to the top performing school at the tournament. In addition to the team award, Harker students had great success in each event as detailed below, making history as they won seven first place titles and numerous top five awards, said Karina Momary, director of middle school speech and debate.
“I wish you could have seen the parents when we landed. They had balloons, signs and flowers and were all waiting at baggage claim cheering,” she said. “The cooperation and teamwork displayed by our students was the true key to success. I have never seen them work as a team as well as they did this weekend. Special shout out to [performing arts teacher] Monica Colletti for giving up her weekend to attend as a chaperone/coach!”
In Lincoln-Douglas, the students discussed democracy promotion in the Middle East. The tournament advanced the top eight teams to the quarterfinals. Harker provided six of those eight teams. The students who advanced were Akhilesh Chegu, grade 6, Cat Zhao, grade 8, Akshay Manglik, grade 7, Annie Ma, grade 8, Montek Kalsi, grade 8, and Sachin Shah, grade 8. Kalsi and Shah each faced non-Harker students in the quarterfinals. They both won their rounds, making them co-champions of the tournament.
In public forum, the students discussed the prioritization of public infrastructure over means tested welfare. The tournament advanced the top 16 teams to the octofinals. Harker was third out of 16. Anshul Reddy, grade 6, and Krishay Mukhija, grade 7, were octofinalists. Amanda Cheung with Jason Pan, and Kenneth Liou with Jeremy Ding, all grade 8, were quarterfinalists. In addition, Liou was named fifth speaker and Pan was named seventh speaker.
In congressional debate, the students discussed Uber regulations, violent video games and mandatory paid family leave. Three Harker students were among the top 10 finishers. Nakul Bajaj, grade 8, earned second place; Reiya Das, grade 8, received third; and Andrew Sun, grade 7, received sixth place.
In policy debate, the students discussed domestic surveillance. The tournament advanced the top four teams. All three of our teams advanced. Deven Shah, grade 6, with Quentin Clark, grade 8, and Deven Parikh, grade 7, with Jai Bahri, grade 8, were named semifinalists. Jason Lin, grade 7, with Andy Lee, grade 7, were tournament champions. In addition Lee was third speaker, Bahri was fourth speaker and Clark was fifth speaker.
In impromptu, Shyl Lamba, grade 8, Anna Vazhaeparambil, grade 7, and Avi Gulati, grade 8, were among the six students who advanced to the final round. They were given three quotes and had to prepare a five-minute speech in two minutes. Gulati took first, Vazhaeparambil took fourth and Lamba took fifth.
In oratory, the students created their own 10-minute speech calling the audience to action. Harker took first and second places, with Arusha Patil, grade 7, in first and Gulati in second.
In declamation, Nikki Solanki, grade 8, advanced to the finals with her interpretation of a commencement speech and took second.
In dramatic interpretation, the tournament advanced six teams, including three from Harker. Harker also swept the top slots with Solanki in first, Bryan Wang, grade 8, in second and Katelyn Chen, grade 8, in third.
In storytelling, Gulati took first with his interpretation of a Berenstain Bears book.
In humorous interpretation, Aaditya Gulati, grade 6, advanced to the final round and received sixth place with his interpretation of toys escaping from the toy chest.
In prose, Solanki advanced to the finals and took first.