Paly debaters prevail at state qualifiers

Adrienne Kwok, Author

12528138_1701707243385520_367968301_n
Junior Ethan Teo, senior Eric Foster, Head Coach Jennie Savage, junior Chirag Akella and sophomore Tanay Krishna pose together after competing at the Lincoln-Douglas Debate State Qualifiers. Savage wrote in a Facebook post: “Reason #289571 I love the Paly Speech and Debate team — how supportive of each other they are! Ethan, Tanay, and Chirag and Evan stayed hours after prelims were over to support Eric’s qualifying to the State Championship. Go Team!” Photo: Siraj Sodhi.

Five Palo Alto High School debaters are preparing for the upcoming California Debate State Championship after succeeding in State Qualifiers at Santa Clara University last weekend.

The Paly Speech and Debate Team team sent 17 debaters to State Qualifiers, but only three will compete in April while two are placed as alternates. Senior Eric Foster and junior Madhumita Gupta prevailed against nearly 90 competitors in the Lincoln-Douglas debate and sophomore Sarah Youngquist qualified as an alternate. Freshman Dominic Thibault qualified in Congressional debate with senior Ariya Momeny as an alternate.

Freshman Dominic Thibault holds his trophy after a weekend of Congressional debate. Thibault, along with senior Ariya Momeny, are the first Paly students to ever qualify at the state-level for Congressional debate. Photo: Colin Thibault.
Freshman Dominic Thibault holds his trophy after a weekend of Congressional debate. Thibault, along with senior Ariya Momeny, are the first Paly students to ever qualify at the state-level for Congressional debate. Photo: Colin Thibault.

According to Jennie Savage, head coach for Paly Speech and Debate, Thibault and Momeny are the first Paly students to qualify in Student Congress. While Paly has sent at least one Lincoln-Douglas debater to State Championships nine times in twelve years, this is the first time that any student will move up to the Congressional State Championships.

According to Debate Co-President Jenny Xin, this year marked one of Paly’s strongest showings at State Qualifiers, with sophomore Jaiveer Sandhu as top overall speaker, Youngquist as sixth and Foster as seventh. Gupta was second in terms of speaking and ballots.

Foster and Gupta competed in five preliminary Lincoln-Douglas rounds and several elimination rounds, according to Xin.

“Eric [Foster] and Madhu [Gupta] worked extremely hard, and they’re both incredible

Junior Madhumita Gupta poses with her trophy after qualifying for the Lincoln-Douglas State Championships. "The only reason I did well was because of my teammates and my coaches," Gupta said. "I never thought I could do this at the beginning of the year, but through practicing hard, working hard and accepting tough criticism, I finally achieved my goal." Photo: Madhumita Gupta.
Junior Madhumita Gupta uses a selfie stick to pose with her trophy qualifying for the Lincoln-Douglas State Championships. “The only reason I did well was because of my teammates and my coaches,” Gupta said. “I never thought I could do this at the beginning of the year, but through practicing hard, working hard and accepting tough criticism, I finally achieved my goal.” Photo: Madhumita Gupta.

debaters and speakers,” Xin said. “I was lucky enough to see a few of their rounds, and they were just incredible in every aspect of the debate, from pointing out flaws in their opponents’ arguments and evidence and defending their own with grace and clarity.”

In addition to four-hour debate meetings on Tuesdays, Gupta, Foster and Thibault are practicing extra rounds through Skype in preparation for April’s State Championship in hopes of continuing to the National Championships.

“Madhu [Gupta] and I qualified in large measure due to all the practice and support we had from our teammates, experience

at other debate tournaments, support from the Paly debate coaches and the leadership and encouragement of Paly Speech and Debate director Jennie Savage,” Foster said. “I’m looking forward to representing our team, our school and our league at the State Championships and hope that the hard work it took to get here pays off in April.”

Debaters who are not preparing for State Championships are still actively practicing for other competitions. A second Santa Clara Invitational is approaching in April.

Paly Speech participated in its annual Speech State Qualifiers on Feb. 27, but did not qualify any students for the championships. However, freshman David Foster moved up to compete in Humorous Interpretation finals on Sunday at Santa Clara University.

“We’re wrapping up the season,” Xin said. “It’s been an incredible success so far, and the hard work, dedication and team support that’s evident both in practice and in competition has been amazing.”

 

About the Writer
Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • News

    Forced June AP exams scrapped, Paly offers all in May

  • As part of the annual Career Speaker Series, students will have an opportunity to engage with women in the STEM field during the Women In STEM panel 4 p.m. Tuesday. According to panelist Darcy Huston, was about educating women on the possibilities waiting for them in the STEM field. "What I want them to see is [that] women can succeed in technical roles," Huston said. "I want to be able to give back to young women and say [that] this is an excellent field [and] there

    News

    Career Speaker Series to host Women in STEM Panel

  • Seniors eat lunch on the senior deck at Palo Alto High School after students returned to school for the first time this school year. Students will now be allowed to leave campus for lunch and prep periods after Santa Clara County entered the orange tier following the continued decrease in COVID-19 cases. Photo: Daniel Garepis-Holland

    COVID-19

    Move to orange tier means open campus, increased indoor capacity

  • Students prize social interaction from in-person return

    News

    Students prize social interaction from in-person return

  • As part of the Palo Alto High School Associated Student Body’s effort to promote student mental health amid prolonged stressful circumstances, students will engage in daily mental health challenges throughout the upcoming Wellness Week from March 22 to 26. According to ASB Clubs Commissioner Johannah Seah, Wellness Week will provide students with the opportunity to learn about managing their mental health and integrate helpful practices into their lives. “I thought it would be a great idea, especially since Paly is a very stressful environment,” Seah said. “I think knowing more about the wellness resources and how we can be advocates for ourselves is a really good tool for students.” Graphic: Kabir Advani

    News

    ASB Wellness Week to educate students on mental health

  • Athletic guidelines set stage for indoor sports, spark confusion

    News

    Athletic guidelines set stage for indoor sports, spark confusion

  • Paly Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson observes students eating during lunch break to ensure that those on campus follow safety protocols. Berkson said students have a broad range of emotional responses to the pandemic, and he says he hopes that reopening and socialization will help address the mental health needs of all students. “I think different people are affected in different ways [with] their mental health through this whole thing [pandemic],” Berkson said. “I have two kids, and I would say they weren

    News

    Admin applauds campus return, eager for more students

  • Students enjoy table tennis and socially distant activities in the Quad. Cohorts returned to campus at the beginning of the semester and have been reporting success with ASB led in-person events. Junior Yubin Zhang, a member of the ASB Student Cohort Activities Committee, shared plans to expand the number of activities available to students. "As the county moves towards fewer restrictions, our committee is planning more fun and interactive events like capture-the-flag with pool noodles, volleyball and spike ball," Zhang stated in a message to The Paly Voice. Photo: Zhang.

    ASB

    ASB activities encourage safe interaction as students return

  • Many students hesitant to return in-person to secondary schools

    COVID-19

    Many students hesitant to return in-person to secondary schools

  • FAQ

    COVID-19

    FAQ’s on school reopening with Paly Principal Brent Kline

Navigate Right