While millions of East Coast residents braced for Hurricane Sandy on Sunday, Oct. 28, seven members of Kingswood Oxford’s Forensic Union were busy earning honors at two different debate tournaments – and two of the students qualified to compete on the U.S. team in the Worlds competition in South Africa next spring.
"This fall’s performance of our Forensic Union – both individuals and teams -- shows incredible breadth and depth,” said Kathy Lynch, moderator of KO’s Forensic Union and chair of the English Department. “From the novice ranks to the most advanced, as public speakers and debaters, in prepared and extemporaneous competitions, KO's students present with a mixture confidence and humility that makes great speakers and ultimately great leaders."
At an Oct. 28 cross-examination tournament at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, KO’s four-person team -- Rudy DeBerry ’13, Mike Hathaway ’13, Caley Henderson ’13, and Matthew Kahn ’13 – competed against advanced teams from 10 schools belonging to the Debating Association of New England Independent Schools (DANEIS).
All students debated a prepared topic: “The U.S. Government should cease using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to assassinate individuals in foreign countries.”
Out of the 10 schools, KO won the award for first place advanced team; the affirmative pair of Henderson and Kahn placed third, the negative pair of Hathaway and DeBerry placed second.
DeBerry won the top award as overall advanced individual speaker, which qualified him for a spot on the U.S. team that will compete in South Africa.
The schools competing with KO at St. Paul’s were Belmont Hill, Choate, Deerfield, Groton, Phillips Andover, Phillips Exeter, Roxbury Latin, St. Paul's, and St. Sebastian's.
Meanwhile, from Oct. 25-28, KO had a three-person team competing against 38 schools from seven countries at the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Championships (IISPSC), held at an independent school just south of Calgary, Canada.
John Chatigny ‘14, Sophie Kruger ’14, and Maddie Pazzani ’14 placed 15th overall, against seasoned international competition. In addition to the U.S., the countries that competed were Bahamas, Canada, Cyprus, England, India, and Lithuania.
Pazzani placed 13th in Interpretive Reading and 25th in After-Dinner Speaking. Chatigny came in 3rd in Impromptu Speaking and 21st in After-Dinner Speaking. Kruger placed 7th in Parliamentary Debate and 34th overall (out of 129 speakers), and also qualified for the U.S. team that will compete in South Africa.
As a result of travel complications arising from Superstorm Sandy, the three KO debaters stayed in Canada a bit longer than planned, and ended up flying to Montreal and driving a rented van home to West Hartford on Oct. 31.