Speech and Debate Team participates in Harvard Tournament


Speech and Debate Team has been put over to the test in grueling practices, but their hard work paid off during the Harvard Tournament that took place President’s Day Weekend.

37 students accompanied by five adults traveled to Boston for the national competition. 40 states were represented and the field included many teams from Illinois. All sections of both debate and speech participated in the tournament. ETHS excelled with a young team considering 25 out of the 37 students that competed were underclassmen.

Policy debate partners Adam Marquardt and Chirasree Mandal, finished in the quarterfinals with a 7-2 record.

“Making it to elimination rounds has qualified my partner and I for several other invitational tournaments,” says Adam Marquardt, sophomore.

Upperclassmen also made their mark on the East Coast. Logan Pearlman, senior, who competed as an Extemporaneous speaker finished in the top 70 for his event. In the Extemporaneous speaking event speakers write a 7-minute speech answering current events questions. Students are given 30 minutes to prepare and they cannot use their notes.

“I learned that I can compete with the best of the best and that I am prepared for nationals in June,” says Pearlman.

The team bonded in big ways on this trip from traveling in an unfamiliar city, to sharing hotel rooms and always being on call and available as supportive teammate. Being in different events means that you have different practice times at ETHS, as well as a different competition experience, however, this trip allowed team to unite and represent out school at the next level.

“This is one of those rare opportunities that all of them are at the same tournament,” says Coach Jeff Hannan. “To see new friendships made across different events is really important.”

Hannan continued that debate is helping students gain confidence in public speaking and that that competing in these tournaments reminds them that they can always get better. Students get to experience the highest level and start to strive to get to that level.

“We sat in in on duo finals at the Harvard Tournament. One of very strong pieces was about a lesbian who wrote a memorandum about her closeted gay father,” says Hannan. “The rest of the day students were having conversations, not only about the power of speech, but also talking about their personal experiences.”