The Stuyvesant Speech & Debate team had an award-winning performance at a regional tournament in Baskin Ridge, New Jersey, on Saturday, December 10. This tournament included schools from the tri-state and New England areas.
This is not the first time Stuyvesant has attended this tournament. However, for senior and public forum debater Jong Lee, the tournament has changed greatly since he last attended as a sophomore. “The teams that competed [this year] were very different,”
Lee said. “Though the field was larger and there were about seventy teams, the teams [this year] were less experienced and much younger.”
There were three divisions in the tournament: public forum debate, policy debate, and Lincoln Douglass debate. In both Public Forum and Policy tournaments, there were five preliminary rounds. After these first five matches, the sixteen teams with the best records advanced to the knockout rounds, where the winner advanced and the loser was disqualified.
The topic of the public forum debate was “Resolved: current income disparities threaten democratic ideals.”
According to Lee, one of the challenges was debating the Con side. “It was very easy to affirm the resolution,” Lee said. “For the con side, it was hard to argue that democratic ideals were not threatened.” However, Lee reached octofinals with his debate partner, senior Chang Tang.
For junior and policy debater Ezra Louvis, the main challenge of his debate – “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its development and/or exploration of space beyond the earth’s mesosphere” – was the research behind it.
“Policy requires a lot of technical skill and concentration,” Louvis said. “It requires us to research a broad base of government agencies and understand how these policies are perceived both domestically and internationally.”
Despite the challenges, Louvis and Lee won the first speaker award in their respective debates. This is given not just to speakers who received the highest debating points but also to speakers who spoke with fluency and a unique style.
Additionally, freshmen policy debaters David Belinsky and Mindi Cao won ninth and seventh place, respectively. As for Lincoln Douglas, senior Grant Weisberg reached the semi-finals.
Seniors and public forum debaters Claudia Yau and Brendan Collins placed first in the tournament. “Our finals round was against Bronx Science, [a] team that we were friends with,” Yau said. “I was pretty nervous at first, but seeing my teammates in the audience helped a lot. It was a really exciting experience.”
Because Yau and Collins entered finals, they each received a bid for the main Speech and Debate competition, the Tournament of Champions (TOC), which will take place from Monday, June 4, to Saturday, June 9.
“[The Tournament of Champions] has good competition and good judges,” Yau said. “We hope there will be enough funding at the end of the year for everyone with enough bids to go.”
Speech and Debate Assistant Coach Duval Bodden is proud of his debaters. “Stuyvesant has had a great year so far and we are excited for the rest of the season,” Bodden said.