South Loop cleans up at first debate tournament of the year

By Brandon B., 4th grade
Just this Saturday, Oct. 27th, there was a debate tournament and several South Loop students won awards.

It took place at Pierce Elementary School. Other schools were there too, including Skinner West, Thorpe, and Bell. Students were sorted into divisions such as novice, junior varsity and varsity. In novice there were 100 kids competing, in junior varsity there was 30 and in varsity there were 15.

In third place for novice came 5th grader Maya Agrawal. When asked why she joined the debate team, Maya says, “One reason is because my dad is the coach. Another reason is that I really like to talk.”

Her coach, Rishi Agrawal, says that they get confidence from it. “That’s what debate team is all about. Having the confidence to stand up in front of people and to think on your feet and stand up and be able to make an argument,” says the coach.

Maya has been doing debate tournaments for 2 years. But on the other hand, Phillip Melhado just joined and has already won an award. Phillip joined 4 weeks ago because he wanted to learn to debate and he already won an award for 17th place speaker.  Phillip says, “They called me in 17th place and I went insane!” To achieve this, Phillip had to quiz and challenge himself. 

In the next tournament Phillip aims to get more awards. 

The other winners were Grace Bauer, Miles Reeves, Becky Chan and Zach Ziegler for varsity. The junior varsity winners were June Stevens, Claudia Ouimet, and Kya Somers. A special judge award for exceptionalism went to Eleanore Wallace.

“I feel very proud that they won so many awards and they did a great job,” Coach Rishi Agrawal says.