Debaters Rank High at TFA State

Emily Quinn and Kaylee Wilson

Greenhill’s award winning debate teams competed at the TFA State competition, yielding several high rankings and speaker awards for the debaters.

The tournament was a three day virtual competition beginning, Mar. 11 and ending on Mar. 13.

Greenhill debaters competed in a number of events, including World Schools (WS) debate, Lincoln- Douglas (LD) debate, Program Oral Interpretation (POI) and Cross- Examination.

Throughout the year, students earn points from successes in local tournaments to qualify for the state competition.

Several schools in and around Texas compete in the tournament (Hockaday, Southlake Carroll, St. Johns, and several others). Similar to previous tournaments, the state tournament was held online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual nature of the tournament introduced some difficulties students have adapted to throughout the year.

“Before you used to read off of a legal pad, and pen and paper, but now you’re reading off your computer,” first time member of the varsity team, freshman Kaden Alibhai said.

His teammate, freshman Pooja Sanghvi, agreed that debating virtually added challenges.

“A lot of times you could tell how the judge was responding to your argument when you saw them in person, but it’s harder now when you are looking at them through a screen,” Sanghvi said.

The World Schools teams, which compete in groups of three to five debaters, have learned to adapt to different forms of communication as a result of  COVID-19.

The students qualified to compete were split into three teams.

Team Greenhill Green included juniors Caroline Greenstone, Aimee Stachowiak, Cameron Kettles and Ashley Shan. Team Greenhill Hornets included junior Ashton Higgins, sophomores Nate Stitt, Carcyn Coleman, Sophia Mohamed and freshman Kaden Alibhai. The last team, Greenhill Gold included freshmen Natalie Stachowiak, Pooja Sanghvi, Emily Hu, Jeannette Yang and Sophia Li.

The WS competition is made up of several rounds, each of which introduces a new topic in the form of impromptu or prepared motions. In impromptu rounds, students aren’t given the topic until 60 minutes before the debate and in prepared rounds, the motion is known in advance of the tournament.

“You don’t have anything for impromptu except a dictionary and an almanac, and you have to prepare cases,” Alibhai said. “This is harder because it’s more spontaneous and you have to adapt quickly.”

The Greenhill WS teams ranked high in the competition. The Greenhill Hornets team made it to the quarterfinals, Greenhill Gold made it to the semifinals and Greenhill Green placed second overall.

Four Greenhill WS debaters also ranked in the top ten speakers. Cameron Kettles placed first, Caroline Greenstone ranked seventh, Aimee Stachowiak placed eighth and Nate Stitt ranked tenth.

In addition to the WS debaters, several other Greenhill competitors ranked high in their various competitions.

Senior Lindsay Jade Feinstein and junior Shruti Siva ranked second in Cross-Examination. Senior Joshua Timmons placed first in POI. Sophomore Nikitha Thoduguli made it to the octofinals in LD debate and junior Krutin Devesh made it to the semifinals in LD debate.