Garnet Valley Speech and Debate Club Wins Big at Districts!

 By Robert Gamble

Looking back, I recall a moment I experienced at Districts Debate 2018/2019. I remember the bus ride our debate team took last year to the competition. Garnet Valley High school, represented by only two Public Forum (2v2) teams and one Parliamentary (3v3) team, was barely able to fill the spots in order to attend the competition. Heading into it, my partner, John Teng, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Adrenaline coursing through our anxious veins, our scrawny team entered Harriton High School and made our way towards the belly of the beast. While passing through the doorway, I remember our team being taken aback by the sea of competition we saw awaiting us.

By the conclusion of the night, after all rounds were finished, the teams regathered in the cafeteria for the victors of each event to be announced. As always, first and second place would move on to the States competition and a third place team will be announced as an alternate. While the director of PHSSL made the announcements I remember seeing the utter shock and disbelief plastered across the faces of the Garnet Valley High School delegation when John Teng and my name was announced as alternates (third place)! No one was expecting this win, but this victory changed everything for me. I had never achieved an award at such a high level for a team, and I remember that amazing feeling of extraordinary pride for succeeding in representing my high school at that moment. I desperately wanted to be able to share that moment with others. This exact experience was my motivation to run for officer of the subsequent season.

I thought I had felt pride and satisfaction when winning my own award, but watching it happen to someone else—someone who you care about so dearly and watched grow and mature for six months—is an entirely different experience altogether. Every single time I heard one of our members names called, I experienced a euphoric feeling of pride and happiness. Watching those prospective students, who joined this club not knowing what to expect, and seeing them grow and develop into such amazing speaking and debaters, and then observing them being rewarded for their hard work and effort. . . utterly indescribable. 

Over the last two weeks, the GVHS Speech & Debate team has officially made history! The Garnet Valley delegation made waves at the District debate competition, by having nine of twelve (seventy-five percent) of our members qualify for States; thus, tying our school for the most awards brought home by a single school for the night! Our speech team, too, had amazing success at districts and have five members qualify for States! We are so proud of our competitors and are truly grateful for the hard work and dedication that they put in this season. The team remains optimistic in our ability to continue this truly amazing success at the States competition in March. 

Districts Debate Representatives:

Front (Left to Right): Shivananth Ilayanambi, Eric Chen, Atreya Ghosh, Robert Gamble, Carissa Preston, Katherine Li, Elizabeth Qian, & Morgan Dempsey
Back (Left to Right): John Teng, Brandon Gorski, Akshat Anapindi, & Riley Stoddard

Districts Speech Representatives:

Left to Right: Andrew Murray, Melanie Bloodwell, Ananya Gupta, Elizabeth Masciantonio, Alden Lipiarski, Chideraa Emma-Ugwuoke, Sujana Kakarla, & Robert Gamble

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