Six Blair debate team members competed in the 43rd annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious high school debate tournaments. From February 17 to 20, Blair’s speakers and debaters tested their oratory skills in a variety of categories against students from all over the country, and it was an opportunity that debate team coach, English and theatre teacher Micki Kaplan McMillan, was thrilled for the team to experience.
“Our students interacted with excellent debaters and had the chance to see how many students nationwide are involved in—and serious about—speech and debate,” Ms. McMillan said. “We polished our skills throughout the season, and our students realized great success at the Harvard tournament.”
Blair team members participated in four categories: Varsity Public Forum (team captain Alecia Mund ’17 and team president Emily Choi ’17); JV Lincoln Douglas (Irena Panchenkova ’19 and Priscilla Sharma ’20); Informative Speaking (Glenn Bechtler ’18); and Original Oratory (Kendrick Ng-Yow ’19). Every debater at the tournament competed in six rounds. In the JV Lincoln Douglas category, Priscilla advanced to elimination round finals and placed among the top 24 of 218 debaters.
“Some schools attend this tournament every year and never have a competitor break to finals, so this impressive,” Ms. McMillan said. “Priscilla earned a trophy for her efforts to add to our growing collection.”
“This trip and participation in the Harvard National Forensics Tournament marked a great end to our season,” she added. “The challenging tournament was a good test of our progress and helped us determine areas to work on next year.”