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Three Harker speakers finish strong at NIETOC 2017

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Nikki Solanki (9), Nikhil Dharmaraj (10) and Avi Gulati (9) pose with Harker speech coach Marjorie Hazeltine in front of a sign at NIETOC. Nikki competed in Dramatic Interpretation, while Nikhil and Avi both competed in Original Oratory.

Nikki Solanki (9), Nikhil Dharmaraj (10) and Avi Gulati (9) pose with Harker speech coach Marjorie Hazeltine in front of a sign at NIETOC. Nikki competed in Dramatic Interpretation, while Nikhil and Avi both competed in Original Oratory.

Courtesy of Nikhil Dharmaraj (10)

Courtesy of Nikhil Dharmaraj (10)

Nikki Solanki (9), Nikhil Dharmaraj (10) and Avi Gulati (9) pose with Harker speech coach Marjorie Hazeltine in front of a sign at NIETOC. Nikki competed in Dramatic Interpretation, while Nikhil and Avi both competed in Original Oratory.

by Tiffany Wong, Aquila News Editor

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Three students from Harker’s speech and debate team competed at the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions (NIETOC) last weekend in Kansas City, Missouri.

Original Oratory entrant Nikhil Dharmaraj (10) placed fifth out of a pool of 142 competitors. Speakers Avi Gulati (9) and Nikki Solanki (9) also participated in the events Original Oratory and Dramatic Interpretation, respectively.

“The tournament was so different than any other. There was this vibe of just having fun—there was ‘pump-up’ music, smoke effects, puppies and musical numbers. It was seriously a party tournament, and I really think that that energy helped me succeed as a speaker,” Nikhil said.

The NIETOC was one of the last tournaments of this year’s competition season. While Avi and Nikhil will attend the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament in June, Nikki plans on working on preparing for competitions in August over the summer.

“Over these next few weeks, I’m going to finish up pieces for next year so we can start the year with a bang. Over the summer, I plan to memorize, but other than that, I think I’m going to take it easy,” Nikki said. “We’ve had a really intense competition year, and we will continue to have those in years to come, so I think this is a well needed break. Overall, my main goal is just to be prepared for next year.”

NIETOC traditionally only invites students who have acquired at least two tournament “bids,” earned from clearing elimination rounds at other national speech and debate tournaments in the same competition year. At last year’s NIETOC, Nikhil placed fourth in Original Oratory. Competitors Divya Rajasekharan (12) and Sana Aladin (12) also attended the tournament as a Duo Interpretation team.

The final event for the speech and debate team in the 2016-2017 school year is the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament, which will be held this year from June 18 to 23 in Birmingham, Alabama.

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The student news site of The Harker School.
Three Harker speakers finish strong at NIETOC 2017