Northwood Speech and Debate competes at State Championships
Northwood’s Speech and Debate team competed in the California High School Speech Association (CHSSA) State Championships over the weekend of April 28-30. The tournament was held at Arcadia High School.
Competition was fierce in all 12 speech and five debate events offered at the state tournament, with the best speakers and debaters from all over California travelling to compete at this tournament. Northwood’s team shined at the tournament, with sophomores Viren Abhyankar and Ethan Hong making it to round four in Parliamentary debate, sophomores Daniel Luo and Estelle Lee making it to round five in Policy debate and juniors Atharva Patil and Christopher Pettit being named semifinalists in Public Forum debate.
“This was my first year at state, and the experience has definitely been the highlight of this school year,” Hong said. “Viren and I were nervous about results, but we just did our best to keep advancing and focused on winning, giving it our all every round. It was a fun experience and I’m already looking forward to next year!”
State competitors were chosen at qualifying tournaments held throughout the month of March. Northwood’s team was able to qualify 37 students in a variety of both speech and debate events. After qualifying, the competitors spent weeks engaging in intensive practice and preparation.
“The bulk of my preparation came from attending a local tournament and looking for different arguments to make,” sophomore David Choi said. “With that experience, I was able to prepare accordingly and build answers around common arguments.”
While overjoyed by the team’s success, the tournament itself was still a bittersweet moment for many seniors as they presented their last speeches and debated their final arguments of their high school career.
“It blows my mind that this was my last tournament,” club president and senior Sally Kang said. “Speech and debate has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I almost can’t believe that it’s all over. What makes our team incredible is that we’re a family and everyone has been so passionate, hardworking and supportive. The memories I’ve made in this program and with the people in it are definitely moments I will remember forever.”