Multiple Wins to Show For a Long Day

Kiana Schmitt, Staff Writer

For the typical high school teenager, most Saturdays are days for relaxation and fun, a break from the grueling stress of homework, tests, and waking up early.  Saturdays are usually spent strolling through the mall, going out to see the latest blockbuster, or simply spending time with friends.   However, a slightly different definition of Saturday can be provided by any member of West High Debate.  For them, every few weeks, their Saturday is occupied by events which require hard work, determination, confidence, and yes…waking up early.
These events are tournaments; Saturday, December 10th, marked the sixth tournament of the year for West High Debate.  Specifically, it was an IE tournament, the second one to have occurred thus far.  IE stands for Individual Events, which fall under the “Speech” part of “Speech and Debate.”  As defined by varsity debate member, Jeff Hsiao (11), “IEs provide a variety of ways for people to express themselves and entertain.”  There is a wide variety of ten different events to participate in, each very diverse.  Each member of the team must select two events to participate in each tournament.  Though switching events throughout the year is allowed, the debate coaches strongly advise against it, mainly because it is necessary to memorize each ten-minute piece and working with the same pieces all year helps students become more comfortable and confidence in performing their pieces.
Evidently, many of the members of West High Debate were more than comfortable with their pieces.  That day, West brought home eight trophies and a plaque, which goes towards the team as a whole for earning 3rd place in the total accumulation of points from all debaters on the team.  The trophies were awarded as follows: 2nd place in Oratorical Interpretation to Jason Zheng (12), 3rd place in Original Advocacy to Austin Ralph (12), 2nd place in Extemporaneous to Dhanu Prathap (12), 3rd place in Original Prose and Poetry to Michelle Wu (12), 1st place in Original Prose and Poetry to Amanda Sun (12), and 3rd place in Duo Interpretation to both Wu and Sun, who were on a team together.  There was one member, however, who did not expect to achieve such merit. After winning, Zheng admitted, “There was feeling of shock since in all honesty I wasn’t prepared at all for that tournament. I was really surprised that I had won.”  Regardless of this astonishment, Zheng was nonetheless “happy with how things turned out.”

Undoubtedly, Zheng was not the only one pleased with the results of Saturday’s tournament.  With the tournament beginning at 7:30AM and ending at 6:15PM, the days are long and tiresome for West High Debaters.  Even so, tournaments are always events to look forward to, not only because of the chance to compete and demonstrate skills, but also because “it’s always fun to see your friends there and hang out” explained Hsiao.  It is clear that even though a good portion of their Saturdays are not spent at home relaxing or going out, the West High Debate members can still enjoy the competitions and succeed simultaneously.