Debate team qualifies for nationals at NFL districts

Walter Wang

Sophomore Isabelle Bouchard, senior Curran Van Waarde and sophomores Brian Kurukulasuriya and Allan Schmidt debate the public forum topic "Resolved: The United States should suspend all assistance to Pakistan." Photo by Avantika Khatri
At the National Forensics League district competition last weekend, 15 RBHS students competed for spots in nationals. The team debated Thursday, March 8 at Parkview High School and the next two days at Pattonville High School in St. Louis, Mo.
“Rock Bridge did pretty well as a whole. [Seniors] Rick [Flinn] and Syed [Ejaz] took third and qualified for nationals,” sophomore Maaz Muhammad, a member of the debate team, said. “The last time Rock Bridge qualified for nationals was four or five years ago.”
The tournament ran in a double elimination format. The players faced two rounds of debate and then two rounds of individual events, and those ranked in the bottom half of the room were eliminated; the rounds then repeated until there was a victor. RBHS went against some of the best teams in the state.
The hardest part “was going against the best debaters in the state and actually proving the power distance between us and them,” Ejaz said. “We prepared a lot and we often spent time after school and our own time researching evidence, writing cases and making up briefs. And when the national topic comes out, we’re going to do the exact same thing except harder in order to maximize our chances of success at nationals.”
By Walter Wang