Contributed by middle school debate teacher Karina Momary
The middle school forensics team had an incredibly successful February break. The students competed mostly against high school students and received numerous awards. At Stanford, three teams advanced to the elimination rounds in JV policy debate, which discussed domestic transportation infrastructure.
Several grade 8 students had stand-out performances. Austin Tuan and Steven Cao made it to the top four at the tournament. Nidhi Jain attended her first tournament in humorous interpretation and won second place in the JV division with her piece about the perils of airline travel. Carissa Chen advanced to quarterfinals in varsity impromptu speaking. Aditya Dhar and Misha Tseitlin participated in Congressional Debate and received third and fourth place, respectively.
The University of California, Berkeley tournament is the largest tournament in the country and the most prestigious regular season tournament on the West Coast. Divya Rajasekharan, grade 8, advanced to the top 28 in Dramatic Interpretation out of more than 175 competitors with her piece on autism. Eighth grader Sneha Bhetanabhotla advanced in impromptu speaking. In Lincoln-Douglas, Sagar Rao, grade 7, discussed the benefits of rehabilitation over retribution and had a record of five wins and one loss and advanced to the elimination rounds. Dhar and Alexander Lam, grade 8, advanced to the final round of Congressional debate with more than 130 participants. Lam won 10th place and Dhar won fifth place.
These accomplishments, as well as the immense success of the upper school team, awarded Harker the first place debate sweepstakes award as well as the second place overall sweepstakes award out of 202 schools. This is the highest we have ever received as a 6-12 team at this tournament.