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Upper school debaters compete at Presentation Invitational

Public+forum+team+Amanda+Cheung+%2810%29+and+Annie+Ma+%2810%29+pose+with+their+varsity+octofinalist+award+from+the+Presentation+Invitational.+Harker+had+15+public+forum+teams+competing+in+the+tournament.
Public forum team Amanda Cheung (10) and Annie Ma (10) pose with their varsity octofinalist award from the Presentation Invitational. Harker had 15 public forum teams competing in the tournament.

Public forum team Amanda Cheung (10) and Annie Ma (10) pose with their varsity octofinalist award from the Presentation Invitational. Harker had 15 public forum teams competing in the tournament.

Courtesy of Greg Achten

Courtesy of Greg Achten

Public forum team Amanda Cheung (10) and Annie Ma (10) pose with their varsity octofinalist award from the Presentation Invitational. Harker had 15 public forum teams competing in the tournament.

by Nicole Chen, Aquila Features Editor

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The upper school debate team attended the Presentation Invitational from Oct. 6 to 8 at Presentation High School in San Jose.

A total of 49 Harker debaters participated in this tournament, competing in varsity and junior varsity Lincoln-Douglas and public forum debate. Harker had 15 public forum teams and and 20 Lincoln-Douglas debaters in this competition.

In public forum, team Amanda Cheung (10) and Annie Ma (10) advanced to the octofinals while Naveen Mirapuri (10) and Chandan Aggarwal (10) placed as the 44th and 53rd speakers out of 90 debaters, respectively. While no Harker debaters made it to the octofinals in Lincoln-Douglas debate, Kelly Shen (11) and Serena Lu (12) were the 22nd speaker and 39th speaker out of 98 debaters, respectively.

“I thought the tournament went super well; we had a number of students win awards [and] we had a number of students make it to the elimination rounds. All of the students had really awesome debates and had really good experiences,” upper school debate coach Greg Achten said. “Because this is a relatively early tournament in the year, we had a lot of students [for] whom this was their first tournament or one of their first tournaments.”

Formerly known as the Voices Foundation Lincoln Douglas Debate Tournament, money raised from this tournament goes to the Voices Foundation, which provides financial assistance and opportunities for debaters in need.

The Presentation Invitational invited debaters from schools across California, including the Bay Area region and Southern California.

“For me, personally, it was a pretty hard tournament. I’d say it’s one of the hardest I’ve been to,” Aditi Vinod (9), who won two out of six of her Lincoln-Douglas rounds, said. “My first round was competing against someone really good, so that just set me off in a bad way. I learnt quite a bit, [including a] few mistakes that can be fixed easily that lost me rounds.”

Kelly, who won three rounds, found difficulty in finding preparation time in the short breaks between rounds.

“One of the difficulties was that after pairings came out, there was only half an hour before the round started, which meant that there wasn’t a lot of time for coaching,” she said. “I think that our team was a little lacking in preparation for this tournament and that we definitely could have practiced more in general.”

In addition to effective preparations, smart and strategic decision-making is a skill that Aditi feels she can improve on in the future.

“You just have to resist the urge to go for everything, [and] you have to accept the losses in some areas and pick which can win you the round,” Aditi said.

The team’s next tournament is the Heart of Texas Invitational, hosted at St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas, from Oct. 13 to 16.

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Upper school debaters compete at Presentation Invitational