New EGHS Debaters Come Out Strong

by | Nov 20, 2014

A year ago, the EGHS Debate team had 10 members – not bad for a brand new effort. One year later, the team has grown to 36 students. And already this year, many of the new members have tasted sweet success.

East Greenwich had the top “novice” debate team in its first tournament of the season, at Cumberland High School last week – Ben Markstone and John Hare placed first out of 66 teams. Individually – out of all 130 novice debaters – Hare placed second and Markstone placed third.

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John Hare, left, and Ben Markstone place first out of 65 novice division teams.

Six EG novice teams placed in the top 20 (see results below).

I’m very proud of the team we have fielded this year, “ said Michael Penza, EGHS English teacher and coach. “To go from 10 students to 36 in a year is amazing and the results speak for themselves.”

The big boost in numbers is partly because the English Department just started offering Parliamentary Debate as an elective this year, Penza said.

“It’s an amazing class,” he said. “So we’re kind of casting this big net and some of these kids who see they’re doing very well in class wanted to come to the tournament.”

There are only two divisions in debate, novice and varsity, so the students who were on the team last year are competing against a lot of students who’ve been debating for years. At the Cumberland tournament, none of the members of the varsity team were recognized.

“We didn’t have a place finish there yet but we’re working toward that,” Penza said. In competition, after three rounds of debating, the top 30 percent of teams and the top 30 percent of speakers are awarded.

“We’re building foundations now. These kids are so excited to be there – practicing and really getting into it. Extemporaneous speaking is really off the cuff and it’s a tough skill to master.”

It seems like EGHS is well on its way.

Debate results for East Greenwich:

Novice Teams (out of 66 teams)

1st          Ben Markstone & John Hare

11th        Angela He & Christian Liu

15th       Dan O’Hara & Zach Lepre

18th       Elise Warren & Abby Allaire

19th       Grace Webb & Jared Maymon

20th       Stephan Toljan & Sam Wronski

Novice Individuals (out of 132)

2nd        John Hare

3rd         Ben Markstone

13th        Dan O’Hara

14th        Elise Warren

15th        Connor VanWinter

16th        Angela He

19th        Sam Wronski

21st        Grace Fitch

38th       Grace Webb

40th       Christian Liu

Places of Varsity Teams (out of 66)

25th       Zack Johnson and Yash Dhuri

48th       Katie Hollingsworth and Jeremy Bernard-Sasges

55th       Molly Bisset & Katie Allen

58th       Michaela Natal and Milan Toljan


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