Harker speech and debate has had a wonderful first semester. Across 16 tournaments, students in all of the events have earned prestigious awards. Speech and debate is unique in that there are not just regional competitions, nor are schools put into divisions by size. Nearly all tournaments are open for national entries, and Harker attends the toughest events in the country. The coaches have been very proud of the resilience of and hard work put in by the students. The tournaments were still online, but the students have usually been able compete on campus.
Harker had a large number of students reach the final rounds of various tournaments with several championships. In Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate, seniors Anshul Reddy and Deven Shah, as well as junior Rahul Mulpuri, have reached varsity final rounds, with Reddy and Shah being declared tournament champions. Their wins were especially impressive because each won an elite round robin for the top LD debaters in the nation. Additionally, Valerie Li, grade 9, won a novice tournament, and juniors Muzzi Khan, Annmaria Antony and Deeya Viradia, sophomores Ansh Sheth, Kabir Buch and Gordy Sun, and ninth graders Aarush Vailaya and Stefan Maxim have reached varsity elimination rounds. In junior varsity, Sahngwie Yim, grade 9, made it to elimination rounds. They debated on topics ranging from pharmaceutical patents to labor relations.
In the speech events, Harker had several outstanding performances. Sophomores Alex Fu and Ella Lan were in final rounds for informative speaking. In original oratory, juniors Dyllan Han and Zubin Khera reached the finals, as did sophomores Fiona Yan and Spencer Mak. Junior Michelle Jin impressed audiences in the finals with her extemporaneous speaking and impromptu skills. Juniors Jessica Zhou and Claire Jin, as well as freshman Kasish Priyam appeared in an impromptu final round. Senior William Chien also qualified for elimination rounds in extemporaneous speaking, as did juniors Sara Wan and Austina Xu in original oratory.
In public forum debate, seniors Vedant Kenkare and Caden Lin, junior Carol Wininger and sophomore Max Xing were in varsity elimination rounds. In junior varsity, sophomores Mariana Rai, Diya Mukherjee and Daphne Avkarogullari, and freshman Valerie Li also won awards. They debated about NATO protection for the Baltics and cryptocurrency regulation.
Finally, in Congressional debate, junior Arissa Huda represented the team in elimination rounds. She had to prepare against a wide variety of current events proposals. This semester, debate is looking forward to traveling to competitions in Berkeley, Nashville and Lexington, Ky., in addition to competing in more online events.