Harker’s speech and debate team has had a great run at this spring’s championship tournaments. Harker students, including some middle schoolers, have placed at championships in all five events: Lincoln-Douglas, policy, congressional and public forum debate, as well as individual speech events.
Our younger debaters had a great showing at the Western JV and Novice National Championship, held at San Francisco State University in March. Jai Bahri, grade 9, and Deven Shah, grade 7, were semifinalists in JV policy.
In JV Lincoln-Douglas, Kelly Shen, grade 10, also made it to semifinals. Joining her were Sachin Shah, grade 9, in quarterfinals, and Annie Ma, grade 9, and Alycia Cary, grade 10, in octofinals. In JV public forum, the duo of Kashov Sharma, grade 9, and Raymond Banke, grade 10, made it to the octofinals, as did partners Aimee Wang and Sascha Pakravan, both grade 7. Elen Guo and Phil Han, both grade 9, made it to octofinals in novice public forum.
Harker also had an outstanding showing in speaker awards at the championship. The first place speaker in JV Lincoln-Douglas debate was Sachin Shah. Also placing in JV Lincoln-Douglas were Shen in sixth place, Ma in 12th place, Cary in 13th place and Arely Sun, grade 7, in 20th place.
In JV policy, Deven Shah took second place, and his partner, Bahri took 10th. In JV public forum, Datha Arramreddy, grade 9, took sixth, Banke was ninth, Amanda Cheung, grade 9, was 13th and Wang was 15th. In novice public forum, Guo took sixth.
The season continued with the National Debate Coaches Association Championship. That event was held at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, in April. Srivatsav Pyda, grade 12, made it to quarterfinals in Lincoln-Douglas, while Serena Lu, grade 11, and Emmie Malyugina, grade 12, were octofinalists. Also representing Harker at the tournament were the policy duo of Molly Wancewicz, grade 12, and Anusha Kuppahally, grade 11. In Lincoln-Douglas, Sachin Shah, Quentin Clark, grade 9, Lauren Fu, grade 9, and Ma also contributed to the strong team performance. Malyugina was also the 10th speaker.
Nikhil Dharmaraj, grade 10, qualified to compete at the state championship in original oratory and advanced to the semifinals. The tournament was held at Arcadia High School at the end of April.
Rounding out the spring series was the Tournament of Championships, held the last weekend of April at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. This is one of the most difficult tournaments to qualify for and Harker is extremely proud of Pyda and Malyugina for representing us in Lincoln-Douglas. Avi Gulati, grade 9, and Jason Huang, grade 10, also qualified in congressional debate. Pyda ended his season with a quarterfinal finish at the event.
Looking ahead, we will be excited to cheer for Aditya Dhar, grade 12, as he performs at the World Schools Debate Championships in Bali, Indonesia, in August. He was one of only five American students chosen to compete at this elite event. At the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions in May, Nikki Solanki, grade 9, will compete in dramatic interpretation, and Gulati and Dharmaraj will compete in original oratory. Also, in June, the National Speech & Debate Association Championship will be hosted in Birmingham, Ala., and Harker will be represented by Huang in World Schools Debate, and Galati and Dharmaraj in original oratory. We are excited to report further as these events take place.