Debate and MUN participate in national tournaments


For members of the debate team, President’s Day weekend included several rounds of debate, countless card games, and many delicious meals, all to result in impressive individual performances from team members. On February 14th, the debate team embarked on a journey to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they competed in the 46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament over the weekend.
“The President’s Day weekend tournament is unique because each school gets unlimited spots, and anybody who wants to go can go,” Sasha Snyder (11) said. “There were between 40 and 50 students from our school, including all of the freshman debaters, and for a lot of people it is their first tournament ever,” she said. This year, the HM team brought a larger number of competing freshmen to the tournament.
“This tournament was also very competitive,” said Jiyon Chatterjee (9). “It was definitely one of the most competitive, since it’s the largest.” Chatterjee won first place speaker in his J.V. division with his partner Gavin Song (9).
At the tournament, students debated whether the United States federal government should replace all means-tested welfare programs with a universal based income, Leyli Granmayeh (11) said.
Some impressive performances included Rhea Sanger (12) who placed third out of a total of 800 people for the varsity individual speaker awards, and Annabelle Xing (11) who placed as the eighth speaker for varsity.
Partners Ben Lee (12) and Owen Karpf (12) also performed particularly well, making it to the varsity elimination rounds and eventually advancing to the octafinals, Michael Shaari (10) said.
“They are both very skilled debaters who have just gotten unlucky at the past few tournaments, so they definitely deserved the success that they had at this tournament,” Snyder said.
Lee and Karpf have done incredibly well, especially considering that this is their first year working together as partners, Granmayeh said.
In addition to Lee and Karpf, Granmayeh and Snyder also saw great results, making it to the octafinals.
For some seniors, this tournament was one of the last in their highschool debate careers. “I think that given it was my last year, I really tried to enjoy debating and give it my all rather than getting too stressed over bad judging or messing up something in one of my speeches,” said Rhea Sanger (12). “I also wanted to cherish my last few moments of participating in debate as it has truly been something I have loved and will miss.”

Following days of hard work, the school’s Model UN (MUN) team won “Outstanding Large Delegation,” second place award at the North American Invitational Model United Nations Conference (NAIMUN). The conference took place at the Hilton Hotel in Washington DC over president’s day weekend, with hundreds of schools participating.
The team had been prepping for two weeks, delegate Rowan Mally (10) said. “We like to be well prepared because if you want to win we all have to know our topic front and back and be ready for anything that could come up,” he said.
Prepping consists of making fact sheets, position papers on a country’s stance and solution to a given topic, and becoming well versed in the topic, delegate Ria Chowdhry (10) said.
NAIMUN is one of the most competitive competitions of the year, delegate Roey Nornberg (12) said. “Our biggest competitors from the country and the world attend,” he said. “It’s a really good opportunity for our team to show what we’re all about and how we stack up with the best competition in North America.”
Out of the 20 members who attended the conference, 10 won best delegate, meaning that they won first place in their assemblies, Nornberg said.
The team’s success can be credited to a number of factors, co-Secretary General Eliza Bender (12) said. “This year we really prioritized going to as many competitive conferences as possible,” she said. “Making sure that we had a competitive conference schedule kept everyone in the right mindset and made sure that all members had a lot of experience.”
Due to the competitive schedule, the team had to work extra hard to be prepared for this conference, delegate Maya Nornberg (10) said. “This meant we researched really intensely and had a bunch of meetings during I periods and after school to make sure we were extra prepared and ready,” she said.
The team dynamic this year also played a big role in their success at NAIMUN, Mally said. “We’re all really close so we work well together and learn from each other.”
“It’s this team and family dynamic that powers us to such impressive results,” Nornberg said. “This time we came hungry and ready to go and we got really great results.”