Science Academy High School Debate Team Closes Out a Successful 1st Year
by Sarah Lane & Scott Oberholtzer
The Science Academy High School speech and debate team has just closed out a very successful first year of competition. The team as a whole prospered in every competition, consistently placing at or near the top, with one student making it all the way to the state competition.
The team engaged in its first novice competition on Halloween, with Sarah Lane, Leila Muney, and Mary Sarukhanyan all placing within the Top 5 for Spontaneous Argumentation, as well as Gregory Kislik placing in 5th for Original Oratorical Speaking. The team was congratulated by the League President, Bobby Lebeda, for their high placements in their first competition.
The second speech competition for the year, and the first advanced speech competition for the team, came on November 19, 2020. Sarah Lane, Nicholas Carone, and Cristiana Phelan all placed within the top 10 in Spontaneous Argumentation. In addition to this, Sarah Lane also placed fourth in Impromptu Speaking.
On January 16, 2021, the team conquered its first-ever debate competition. Multiple students competed in a myriad of team and individual events. Gregory Kislik competed in the Lincoln Douglas debate and earned a superior award, while Leila Muney and Cristiana Phelan competed in the Public Forum debate, also earning a superior award. Parliamentary debate had the most entries from the team, with two teams: Rhonen Harris and Sarah Lane, as well as Nicholas Carone and Leila Muney. Both Parliamentary entries earned superior awards at the open debate competition.
In the spring open speech competition on February 20, 2021, the team had an impressive showing in the Spar and Impromptu events yet again, with Leila Muney, Rhonen Harris, and Xander Ashtrafi all placing within the top 10. Rhonen Harris also placed 6th in the impromptu speaking event at the competition.
The team then entered into the debate state qualifiers, on February 27th. At these qualifiers, Mary Sarukhanyan and Leila Muney made it all the way to the finals in Public Forum debate. The team eventually placed 7th in the event.
The next state qualifying event was for speech on March 19th, 2021. Many competitors from the team went to compete against some of the best speakers in the state, with two students from the Science Academy Team placing in finals. Michelle Dupont placed 7th, just short of qualifying for states in the program Oral Interpretation event, while Sarah Lane placed 6th and qualified for the state competition in Impromptu Speaking.
The CA state competition took place over multiple days, from April 19th to the 25th. Sarah Lane ended up competing over three separate days in Impromptu speaking, eventually making it to the semi-finals for the event. Sarah placed 13th overall out of 50+ state competitors.
Team coach Mr. Brooker, club President Mary Sarukhanyan, and the entire team are extremely proud of their stellar performance this pioneering season. With Mary stating, “I’m astonished at how far our team has come, especially since it was all done through a screen. Mr. Brooker and our team members worked really hard to get here”. Both Mr. Brooker and the team hope to return next year even more successful than the last, sending more competitors to state in both Speech and Debate events.
The team has also expressed a desire for new members, as stated by Mr. Brooker. The team is open to all high schoolers, including current 8th graders who will be starting 9th grade with the Science Academy next year. If you’re interested, please reach out to Mr. Brooker via Schoology message. Hope you will consider joining us!