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Debate team argues their way to success at Jack Howe Tournament

Debate team argues their way to success at Jack Howe Tournament
Phoebe Cho

Poly’s debate team has started this year’s season on a high note after achieving numerous wins at the 31st Annual Jack Howe Memorial Tournament in Long Beach over the weekend of Sept. 30. The season-opening tournament boasted hundreds of competitors from schools across California.

“It was quite exciting, being the first tournament,” shared history teacher Norman Frazier, who supervises Poly’s debate program.

Twenty-five Poly students from all four grade levels competed across four events: World Schools Debate, Open Policy, Novice Policy, Public Forum and Open Impromptu.

“Despite the outcome of any of the rounds, there was such an energy in the air with all of us being together as a Poly team. It was a really great start to our year and the season,” Frazier added.

For the 2023-24 school year, Poly hired new debate coaches Jack Stern, who ranked 9th nationally for Lincoln-Douglas debate while in high school and most recently served as Debate Coach for Oakwood School, and Ali Medina ’18, an alumna currently attending Harvard Law School who competed in Worlds School Debate and Moot Court while at Poly. Both coaches train and assist the team with its biweekly, year-round practices to prepare them for the busy tournament season from September through June.

Senior Jeffrey Liu, the debate team’s co-captain and Policy competitor, was pleased with the tournament. “It gave us a good starting point for the novices. I think we have a very promising path forward this year,” he said.

Liu and co-captain senior Brendan Poon ranked eighth as a team, and Poon individually ranked fifth best speaker at the National Speech and Debate Tournament this past summer.

At the Jack Howe Tournament, sophomore Maddie Delbridge, an Open Impromptu competitor, advanced to the semifinals, ending with a tenth place win in the tournament. Worlds competitor sophomore Clive Burt said, “The preparation that our coaches put forth really shines through.”

Second place speaker in Worlds, freshman Sophie Converse, confirmed, “[the] feedback the judges gave me really helped.”

After a slew of successes at Jack Howe, the debate team will next compete in the Damus Hollywood Invitational from November 10th to 12th.

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About the Contributor
Maddie Delbridge
Maddie Delbridge, Assistant News Editor
Grade: 10 Years on Staff: 2 Fun Fact: This past summer I reached an exciting milestone as an international vocal soloist, honored to be the youngest artist invited to perform opera in a special series of masterclasses and concerts in Chianti, Tuscany, the birthplace of the Bel canto operatic style. Favorite Books: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare Favorite Movie: La La Land by Justin Hurwitz with lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
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