This season has been incredible for the Harker speech and debate team, particularly in original oratory competitions. Throughout the season, at tournaments from Southern California to South Florida, three Harker students stood out among the nation’s very best.
For these competitions, students write, memorize and perform a 10-minute speech on a topic of their choice. The performance is highly choreographed and revised multiple times during the season.
For much of the season, Avi Gulati, grade 10, has been the top ranked orator in the nation. He has been consistently featured in the finals of a number of tournaments, including Glenbrooks and Blue Key. Gulati’s speech is about mimicry and the risks of conformity.
Haris Hosseini, grade 11 also has held the No. 1 ranking. In his first year of competition, he was crowned champion at the prestigious Blue Key tournament and has been a finalist elsewhere. Hosseini’s speech is about the problems with toxic masculinity.
Over the course of his illustrious six years of competition, Nikhil Dharmaraj, grade 11, has amassed numerous awards. Recently, he gave finalist performances at tournaments including ASU and Sunvitational. Dharmaraj’s speech is on the enchantment and magic of everyday life.
These three are not the only students who have achieved success in original oratory. Meghna Phalke, grade 11, made it to elimination rounds twice, and in January, while Alycia Cary, grade 11, took first place at the Milpitas League tournament.
“It is pretty exciting for all of these students to be legitimately competing for the national championship in June,” said Scott Odekirk, speech and debate teacher. “I think it is even more exhilarating for them that some of their primary competition is sitting next to them in their speech class.”