Stephens and McClellan Shine at Grand Debate Tournament

The preliminary rounds of the third annual Inter-House Grand Debate Tournament took place this past Monday evening from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. The tournament is run by the Speech and Debate Club, currently led by V Formers Kevin Xiao, Rishi Bagaria, and Ivy Zhang.

The preliminary rounds of the third annual Inter-House Grand Debate Tournament took place this past Monday evening from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. The tournament is run by the Speech and Debate Club, currently led by V Formers Kevin Xiao, Rishi Bagaria, and Ivy Zhang.

On the competition’s origins, Xiao said, “It was started to promote competition and debate between the Houses in friendly spirit while also working on public speaking skills and argumentation.”

Every year, each House provides one representative. The House whose contestant wins the tournament receives points towards the House Cup. Last year, Elaine Wang ’20 of the Carter House won the finals during school meeting against finalist Cameron Desnoes ’19 of the Hamill House. Wang debated the pro-side of the topic “school meeting should be mandatory.”

Monday night, for the preliminary rounds, House representatives debated school-related topics such as whether the Lawrenceville community service requirement should be hourly or whether the WiFi should shut off after study hall. Each debate lasted about 10 minutes and included three sections: the opening remarks, a cross-fire in which contestants could ask each other questions, and a refutation of the other side’s points in closing remarks.

The 16 competitors were placed into brackets with four total elimination rounds and judged by Chair of the Science Department Ilana Saxe, Co-Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program Jason VonWachenfeldt, English Master Katherine O’Malley H’07, English Master Franklin “Gus” Hedberg H’03 P’96 ’00, and Mathematics Master Stephen Wallis.

Fiona Pando ’21 of the Stephens House and Ivanna Tavarez ’20 of the McClellan House will compete in this year’s finals in front of the whole school during school meeting this coming spring.

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