Speech and debate wins big at state qualifiers

The debate team competed in the online state qualifiers on Feb. 27 and achieved positive results. All of the club members that participated in the Zoom tournament earned high speaker scores and one partnership, Adalia Luo and Carter Castillo, juniors, even got first place in the entire tournament, securing their spot at state finals. 

Adi Chattopadhyay, sophomore, has been doing debate for several years. “You learn a lot about things that are happening around you and it teaches you how to voice your opinions more,” Chattopadhyay said. Although he and his partner did not make it to state finals, Chattopadhyay was still happy with the results, “I think I gave some of my best speeches during the tournament, and I got solid speaking scores so I’m proud of my performance,Chattopadyay said. 

Having done debate since sixth grade, Ananya Arvind, freshman, was sure to bring a lot to the table at the tournament. Arvind was happy about the scores she earned last Saturday. “I think I did pretty good because I got really high speaker scores for most of the rounds. In fact, for one of the rounds, I got the highest possible speaker score,” Arvind said. Arvind was excited to compete in this year’s state qualifiers, hoping to learn some valuable lessons from the other debaters. “[The tournament] allowed me to connect with my club and work under extreme pressure,” Arvind said.  

Aayaan Ahmed, freshman, was honored to be chosen to show off his debate skills at the tournament. “Being chosen for state qualifiers is pretty exciting since I’ve worked hard on my speaking skills since 7th grade,” Ahmed said. The competition was tough, but the team was able to pull through despite having a smaller debate program. “I’m very proud of NP for having the team with the best record in the whole tournament while not being a private school with a proper debate class,” Ahmed said. 

Speech and debate has been meeting and competing strictly by Zoom this year. “There’s a little bit less of a sense of environment and community because you don’t always get to see everyone that you’re with,” Chattopadhyay said. However, the teams did not let this hold them back from succeeding. “We also don’t have to attend tournaments in-person and dress nicely to them (though it is helpful to appeal to judges), which is a huge plus in terms of comfort,” Ahmed said.

Speech and debate club meets every Friday and anyone can join by attending a meeting. “You talk to these people more than you talk to anyone, really because it’s debate and you don’t really do that in any other club,” Chattopadhyay said.

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