By Jenny Achten, Speech and Debate Department Chair
The Harker speech and debate team has continued its winning streak this winter with successes at a host of tournaments across the nation. Students traveled to tournaments across California as well as in Illinois, Georgia, Arizona and Florida. Harker is having an especially strong season and we are proud of the success of all of the students.
In early November, students attended a tournament at Notre Dame High School in Los Angeles. Sachin Shah, grade 11, was in the semi-finals of Lincoln-Douglas debate. Kelly Shen, grade 12, also made it to elimination rounds in Lincoln-Douglas. Anuhsa Kuppahally, grade 12, Maddie Huynh, grade 11, Andy Lee, grade 10 and Deven Shah, grade 9, all qualified for elimination rounds in policy debate.
At the Glenbrooks tournament in Chicago, our speech and congress students shined in late November. Haris Hosseini, grade 12, was first place in original oratory. Nikki Solanki, grade 11, was fifth place program oral interpretation and made it to semi-finals in dramatic interpretation. Jason Lin, grade 10; David Feng, grade 11; Andrew Sun, grade 10; and Nathan Ohana, grade 10, all made it to the semi-final round of congressional debate.
Students also won multiple awards at local league tournaments throughout the area. Meghna Phalke, grade 12, was a finalist in original oratory. In congressional debate tournaments Tiffany Zhao, grade 11, and Nakul Bajaj, grade 11, both placed second, Brandon Lin, grade 11, was third, while Andrew Lu, grade 10, and Aaditya Gulati, grade 9, both placed fifth.
Travel continued to the College Preparatory School in Oakland in late December where Akshay Manglik, grade 10, made it to the octo-finals in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Sachin Shah, Shen and Anshul Reddy, grade 9, also made it to elimination rounds of Lincoln-Douglas.
At the Arizona State University tournament in early January Sachin Shah, reached the octofinals in Lincoln-Douglas debate while Julia Biswas, grade 10, and partner Deven Shah reached the octofinals in policy debate. In congressional debate, Sun placed fifth and Jason Huang, grade 12, also reached finals. Ashwin Rammohan, grade 12, Annie Ma, grade 11, Bajaj, Ohana and Riyaa Randhawa, grade 9, reached semifinals of congress. Additionally, Hosseini placed first in original oratory.
Students also won awards at the Sunvitational Tournament in Fort Lauderdale this January. Jason Huang, grade 12, was in semis of congressional debate. Avi Gulati, grade 11, was third in extemporaneous speaking and made it to semi-finals of original oratory. Hosseini, was third in original oratory. Solanki, was in semis of program oral interpretation.
At the Harvard Westlake Lincoln-Douglas tournament in January, Manglik made it all of the way to the semi-final round. Shen and Sachin Shah also qualified for elimination rounds.
During the same weekend as Harvard-Westlake students also competed at the James Logan tournament in Union City. Ayan Nath, grade 9, and Ellen Guo, grade 11, reached the elimination rounds; Nath was named the fourth overall speaker and partner Guo placed 14. Prerana Archaryya, grade 11, placed fifth in dramatic interpretation of literature.
Finally, at the Barkley Forum Invitational at Emory University in Atlanta, Avi Gulati placed first in original oratory and Hosseini, placed third. Sun reached the finals of congressional debate while Ma, Ohana and Bajaj reached congressional semifinals. In policy debate, Kuppahally and Huynh reached double octo-finals.
The speech and debate season will continue until June with tournaments ranging all over California as well as Dallas, Chicago, and Lexington, Kentucky.