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Speech and Debate Team takes second place at states

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Lend Them Your Ears

photo by Cassidy Kufner

photo by Cassidy Kufner

photo by Cassidy Kufner

Cassidy Kufner, Reporter

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The Debate Team did it once again, with over twenty qualified students pushing off from NASH last Thursday to compete in the Pennsylvania High School Speech League State Competition at Bloomsburg University. By the time the competition ended earlier today, three members had won first place in their respective events, and the team as a whole took second place.

“We continue to have strong teams year after year because of the continuing quality of speakers and debaters that we get,” team coach Sharon Volpe said.

Due to the hard work of Volpe and her team, the group has a clear sense of justified pride. They won the state championship last year and have won three times in the past five years.

At Bloomsburg, students engaged in acting, public speaking, and debating events, and as the team departed for the competition, the energy was palpable.

“We’re all super excited for states this weekend,” Treasurer Joy Fu said last week. “We’ve been preparing all year and we’re looking forward to some great competition.”

Though I may disagree with every single thing someone says, I know to listen earnestly and present my perspective respectfully, rather than being immediately dismissive — a valuable lesson in today’s generally polarized climate.”

— Shudipto Wahed

Because NA’s district is so strong, the team was confident heading into the state tournament, though they knew they were outnumbered by the team from Upper St. Clair High School.

“Logistically, due to just sheer number of students, Upper St. Clair will probably win first place this year” Volpe said before departing for Bloomsburg. 

Though Volpe’s prediction proved accurate, the team’s hard work was unwavering, and morale remained strong.  When the tournament came to a close, Emily Meinert had claimed the top award in Informative Speaking, and Sid Mittal and Arjun Narayan were awarded first place in Public Forum, making it the fifth year in a row that the NA team took first in PF.

For Shudipto Wahed, Debate Team President, the team’s achievements throughout the year have been particularly gratifying.

“Speech and Debate is simply a wonderful activity,” Wahed said. “It’s taught us how to have a constructive conversation with anyone, regardless of their views. Though I may disagree with every single thing someone says, I know to listen earnestly and present my perspective respectfully, rather than being immediately dismissive — a valuable lesson in today’s generally polarized climate.

The team is looking forward to Catholic Nationals coming up on Memorial Day weekend, and they depart the day after graduation for Nationals. 

“North Allegheny’s Speech and Debate Team is my family,” Wahed added, “and I firmly believe our skills may ultimately help us resolve conflict and precipitate societal progress.”

About the Writer
Cassidy Kufner, Reporter

Cassidy is a senior at NASH and hopes to study chemical engineering in college. She serves as a Spanish Club officer, and a member of student council....

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