Patrick Noonan ’19
This past weekend, the Roaring Tigers of Woodberry Forest traveled for a debate tournament to The University of Pennsylvania. The Tigers showed their strength and skill in a national tournament hosting well over 100 schools and over 900 competitors in 11 different debate events. Working all season, the tournament served as the culmination of their hard work and dedication, challenging them as they hadn’t been before. They competed against some of the best debaters on the East Coast with a strong showing, and represented Woodberry very well.
The team competed in various events, from Lincoln-Douglass to Student Congress and Public Forum, tackling the task with sound speeches.
Both William Xie and Ian Kim took part in Public Forum debate, winning early prelim rounds in route to their qualification as one of the top 16 teams. Over 70 teams took part in this event debating whether to abolish the capital gains tax. When recapping the event, William Xie revealed that, “The competition gave [him] a whole new view on Public Forum Debate and showed him a new level of competition for which to strive.”
Nam Bui also broke the sweet 16 in a phenomenal weekend debating in Student Congress. One of the most popular events to compete in, the strong congressional debaters from across the East Coast gave Nam a tough challenge. He spoke with great vigor, barely missing out on the semifinals by the slim margin of a few points.
Michael Garifullin and Beau Adams took to the challenge of Lincoln-Douglass Debate. Michael, up against some of the strongest competition of the whole tournament, took the challenging circumstances in stride as he debated on plea bargains at the varsity level. Beau took home a win in the JV competition, his first ever in Lincoln Douglass.
Multiple students presented original speeches, including Josh Odoom, Wenbo Xing, Leo Lu, Ahn Vu, and Bo Hrytsak. Josh spoke on healthy living, Wenbo presented on slowing down your life, and Leo on the internet freedoms he sees in the US versus his homeland, China. Ahn Vu continued the speeches, giving a humorous perspective on the purpose of religion. Bo Hrytsak rounded out the original speeches, detailing his work helping the visually impaired with 3D printing projects, which he says has been, “One of the greatest learning experience of my life and a a phenomenal opportunity to help underprivileged members of my community.”
In addition to their original speeches, Josh and Wenbo took on a second load, as josh presented the concert rant by Kanye West and Wenbo the funeral oration by Pericles. When asked about the extra weight he carried, Josh detailed that, “It was stressful but rewarding because it was challenging to perform speeches four times each day at the same level. At the end of the day, the experience [was] worth it,” Josh remarked, “because I was able improve as a speaker myself and spectate some of the top speakers in the country.”
“We performed well despite the fact that this tournament is one of the most competitive events across the nation,” exclaimed William Xie, the captain of the team. He continued, explaining that “[The team] has learned a lot from the other debaters, and, hopefully, that their improved skills will help [them] perform well at the state championship level.” It was a wonderful winter season for the Speech & Debate Team, and their hard work and improvement showed throughout the event.