The following item was written by Milton High School senior Isabelle Smith. The article was originally posted in the March 4th Eblast from Superintendent Gormley.
At the start of February vacation, the Milton High Debate Team competed at the 39th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament. Debaters each year fly from all around the country, and even around the world, to compete at Harvard–we encountered teams from Florida, Texas, and South Korea.
Two of our varsity teams, juniors Chris Ricciuti and Jack Caljouw, and junior Chris Dsida and senior Isabelle Smith, attended this highly competitive tournament.
Each team also has to bring a certain number of judges, and parent Suzanne Owens volunteered to judge along with our coach, Mr. Fitzgerald. In our form of debate, a topic is released at the beginning of each month, and then feverishly researched and practiced until the tournament. Not only was the competition especially stiff at the famous Harvard tournament, but the topic was also especially complicated: “The rise of China is beneficial to the interests of the United States.”
Each round included arguments about international economics, global stability, and geopolitics. The tournament lasted three long days, with preliminary rounds on Saturday and Sunday and finals on Monday. Both our teams finished Sunday with a 3-3 record, which is pretty good for Harvard, but did not qualify us for any final rounds. There is little doubt, however, that our returning juniors will do even better next year.
As exciting as the Harvard Tournament was, the debate rollercoaster only goes up from here. March, the final month of the season, is a very busy month for the Milton High School debate team. We have three tournaments on three successive weekends. Two of our varsity teams will attend the Catholic Forensics League Qualifying Tournament on March 10th, hoping to win a bid to the National Catholic Tournament. This is Milton’s first year competing in the Catholic Forensics League. On March16th we have our last local tournament before states, held in Needham.
Finally, in the exciting season finale, the Massachusetts State Debate Tournament will be held on March 23rd at Milton High School. This is our first time hosting a tournament, and we are quite excited. Several hundred students from around the state are expected to swarm the school on the 23rd, competing in various debate events including Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, Congress, and our personal favorite, Public Forum.
We anticipate everything going smoothly thanks to the many parent and student volunteers that have been helping us organize this logistically daunting tournament. We have had a great season, and we expect to see many of our increasingly formidable debaters qualify and excel at states.