In early October, The Harker School had 18 middle school students and three upper school students attend the Jack Howe Memorial Speech and Debate Tournament at California State University, Long Beach. The tournament has been running for 16 years, and attracts students from all over California and Nevada. This year’s tournament included a student congress, all 11 California High School Speech Association individual events and three styles of debate. The students competed in policy debate, congressional debate and original oratory.
In JV policy debate, four middle school students competed on two teams: Panny Shan, grade 8, and Steven Cao, grade 7, along with Ananya Krishnaswamy, grade 8, and Shivani Gohil, grade 8. Not only did Shan and Cao advance to the quarterfinals in this category, but the students were also recognized individually for their exceptional speaking skills. Shan received the second place speaker award, Cao received the eighth and Gohil received the 17th.
In congressional debate, Misha Tseitlin, Emaad Raghib and Aditya Dhar, all grade 7, competed in the varsity division, with Dhar advancing to the finals. In the novice division, Arjun Mehta and Arjun Goyal, both grade 10 students who were competing for the first time, advanced to the finals.
For original oratory, Carissa Chen, grade 7, competed in the novice division. She wrote and memorized a 10-minute speech for which she received second place. Finally, in varsity original oratory, sophomore Zina Jawadi advanced to the semifinals, placing her in the top 12 contestants.