2017-18 - Growth and Change for the MHS Debate Team

3/2018

By Jackson Markow

It was a year that began with something new, and it is soon to end with something new.  

 The MHS Debate Team, from left to right: Coach Marijke Russo, Sarvesh Sharma, Hope Petraro, Neil Rohan, Omeed Fallahi, Angus Fraser, Basil Humke, Emily Sheftman, Violet Tabacco 

The MHS Debate Team, from left to right: Coach Marijke Russo, Sarvesh Sharma, Hope Petraro, Neil Rohan, Omeed Fallahi, Angus Fraser, Basil Humke, Emily Sheftman, Violet Tabacco 

It was October, and as the first debate topic had just been released, the MHS Debate team began to meet weekly in Room 206.  However, this year, the team was quite different.  Not only had a number of underclassmen joined to carry on MHS Debate's strong legacy, but the U32 Debate team had merged with that of MHS, creating several successful hybrid teams which would, after learning the ropes of Public Forum Debate, go on to win numerous titles against Vermont competition.

One such team was the hybrid between sophomore Violet Tabacco of MHS and junior Basil Humke of U32, both novice debaters, who would go on to win Top Novice team at 3 tournaments, as well as multiple speaker awards - titles awarded to individual debaters for clarity, diction, and eloquence in tournaments (as opposed to the debater's argumentation).

Tabacco also competed with novice Neil Rohan, a freshman of MHS, at several tournaments, including the NSDA Iroquois District Tournament in Rochester, NY, where the pair came in second place in the Public Forum debate style category.  Hope Petraro, a sophomore, also competed at this and several other state-qualifying tournaments, coming in second place in the former in Lincoln-Douglas debate.

MHS's experienced teams also continued to compete successfully, albeit with the loss of senior George Huang, who moved away from the area.  Seniors Angus Fraser and Omeed Fallahi took the season with a 13-1 record, taking their only loss of the season in the final round of the Vermont State Tournament to Abigail Rosenthal and Peter Trombley of CVU.  While a loss for MHS, the round was extraordinarily civil and well-argued on both sides, with both teams (as finalists) qualifying for the NCFL National Tournament in June.

Emily Sheftman and Jackson Markow also had a successful season, competing with a winning season record and seeding 9th for the Vermont State Tournament.

The debate season, while complete in Vermont, isn't quite finished yet.  Fraser and Fallahi will travel to Washington, D.C. in late June to compete in the NCFL National Tournament, and Tabacco, Rohan, and Markow will travel to Fort Lauderdale, FL to compete in the NSDA Nationals.  The team will also be fundraising for these trips, so stay tuned for announcements to come about this.

And while every team had successes and failures, as always, it has certainly been a season that was unique and saw unpredictable growth and change for all involved.