Middle and upper school debate had a stellar past few weeks, performing well at tournaments in and out of state. In Las Vegas, senior Pranav Reddy was named the national Lincoln-Douglas debate champion for the second straight year by offering a convincing argument for increasing the minimum wage.
At the California Middle School Speech and Debate Tournament in southern California, Maddie Huynh, grade 7, and Anusha Kuppahally, grade 8, were named the policy debate state champions. The team of Julia Biswas, grade 6, and Jai Bahri, grade 7, and the team of Jason Lin and Andy Lee, both grade 6, finished in the semifinals. Kuppahally was named first speaker.
Seventh grader Nakul Bajaj was named the top speaker in public forum, where the team of Clarissa Wang and Cindy Wang, both grade 8, reached the semifinals. Akshay Manglik, grade 6, was a semifinalist in Lincoln-Douglas, and Jason Huang, grade 8, finished third in congressional debate.
In speech events, Nikhil Dharmaraj, grade 8, was named state champion in original oratory and impromptu speaking, where Avi Gulati, grade 7, took second and third, respectively. Riya Gupta, grade 8, took fourth in original oratory. Yet another state champion, seventh grader Nikki Solanki, won in in dramatic interpretation, in which Matthew Hajjar, grade 8, took third, Gulati finished fourth and Gupta took fifth. Natalia Feinberg, grade 8, won third place in humorous interpretation. In storytelling, Ashli Jain, grade 8, and Feinberg took fifth and sixth place, respectively.
In late March, 45 debaters from the middle school attended the Cesar Chavez Memorial Tournament in Union City, where Harker performed very well in speech events, finishing first in three events and appearing in the top three multiple times. Avi Gulati took first in original oratory, with Ashli Jain finishing as a finalist. Kelly Shen and Matthew Hajjar, both grade 8, took first and second, respectively, in dramatic interpretation, while sixth grader Arusha Patil took second place in declamation and Natalia Feinberg finished second in humorous interpretation. Jain was also a finalist in the storytelling event.
In debate events, Harker was recognized several times for going undefeated. Kenneth Liou, grade 7, and Krishay Mukhija, grade 6, were undefeated in Public Forum, while Catherine Zhao, grade 7, Akshay Manglik, grade 6, Alexander Young, grade 8, and Sachin Shah, grade 7, went without a single loss in Lincoln-Douglas. Finishing with only one loss in public forum were the teams of Emma Boyce and Sidra Xu, both grade 6, and Nikki Solanki and Naveen Mirapuri, both grade 7. Annie Ma, grade 7, and Suraj Pakala, grade 8, were recognized for losing only once in Lincoln Douglas.