On November 9, the University High School (UHS) debate team participated in the first varsity Orange County Speech League (OCSL) tournament of the year.
Hosted by Northwood High School, the OCSL tournament included both speech and debate events. UHS sent four novice teams to participate in debate events.
Kevin Li (Jr.) and Jasun Chen (Fr.) placed in the Top 5 of Orange County for policy debate in which opposing teams of two students argue the pros and cons of a proposed resolution that calls for a federal government policy change. Li said, “The OCSL debate tournament was a wonderful experience where we got to have fun and spend time with friends as well as make new friends from other schools. More UHS students should join the Speech and Debate club because it offers one of the most intellectually challenging activities at UHS.”
Jason Park (Sr.), co-president of the UHS Speech and Debate Club, noted that the turnout for this month’s OCSL tournament was lower than what the club had hoped for, possibly due to conflicting school events. Park said, “But the results are promising, especially considering that it was the first tournament for the teams that went.”
Captains and members of the team continue to work together every Monday for upcoming tournaments, including the next OCSL tournament in January. Park said, “I would like to credit Sparsh Sah (Jr.) and Lohit Velagapudi (Jr.) for working tirelessly Mondays after school to train members every week, and Mr. Mark Michalak (Foreign Languages Dept.) and Mr. Bryan Kinney (Math Dept.) for their continued support of the club.”
Although the UHS Speech and Debate Club was discontinued in the 1990s, the club started again in 2008. Nikki Kathuria (2011), a UHS graduate who is currently a junior at University of California Irvine, was one of the founding members and leaders of the UHS Speech and Debate Club. Kathuria said, “the club teaches critical thinking, coherent argumentation and strong communication. We started as a team with no resources battling against schools with a plethora of money, skilled coaching, and tons of experience. Speech and debate has accomplished a lot since it started.”
According to the National Debate Coaches Association Baker Standings, the UHS Speech and Debate Club’s policy team is now ranked within the Top 200 policy teams across the nation.