March 1, 2018

Middle School Debate Builds on 10 Years of Success

Justin Sweitzer

From the moment, some ten years ago, that Hannah Watzke, Zack Jacobs, and William Anderson reached the Public Final at Chaminade, Oakwood Middle School Debate has enjoyed a decade of success and accomplishment. In 2011, Sophie Kupetz, Isaac Cotter, and Cal Klyman completed the first Oakwood sweep at Oaks Christian and gave us our first league championship. In 2013, debaters like Ari Mostow, Charlie Tent, and Ella Fanger help set a record for win percentage finishing the year at 70.7%. Two more league championships came in 2015 and 2016, a Nationals gavel was won, and a flag had been firmly planted high among pinnacles where only the best schools in the U.S. reside.

And now it is 2018.

In an at least temporary stay from the inevitable regression to the mean, the current Oakwood Debate Team once again sparkled at a league tournament at Chaminade finishing 26-9, qualifying two teams for Nationals and taking the Overall Wins and the most-coveted Tournament award for best win percentage. Doing this once, as they did at Colina in November, is one impressive thing; doing this again after the the competition becomes further motivated is an entirely more impressive thing.

This year’s team’s record is currently at 58-17…Let me type that again: 58-17.

That’s a 77.3 win percentage in what is generally considered to be the most competitive league in the most competitive region in the country.

How is this done? It is done with a collective effort from parents who judge and scout every practice, former MS debaters who give their valuable experience and feedback to the kids, and sheer sweat and tears from veteran 8th graders and their 7th grade counterparts. It is a system, organic and versatile, that thrives on hard work and inspiration.

Below are the placements at Chaminade, but keep in mind that awards naturally narrow the focus. The big picture is about every last debater, awarded or not.

Speaker awards: 30th Noah ’22, 28th Miles ’23, 27th Henry ’22, 24th Owen ’22, 17th Alex ’22, 13th Miller ’22, 12th Kiki ’22, 11th Gabby ’22, 8th Maggie ’22, 5th Arun ’22, 4th Ily ’22.

Team awards: 12th Kiana ’23 / Maggie ’22 / Henry ’22, 8th Avalon ’23 / Otis ’23 /Oscar ’23, 6th Kate ’23 / Noah ’22 / Gabby ’22, 5th Willa ’23 / Naomi ’22 / Ily ’22, 3rd Owen ’22 / Alex ’22 / Miller ’22, 2nd Emma ’22 / Kiki ’22 / Arun ’22 (this team hasn’t lost in a tournament or, supposedly, practice).

More results:

6th Annual Debate Night!

Speaker awards: 10th Henry ’22, 9th Otis ’23, 8th Emma ’22, 7th Willa ’23, 6th Avalon ’23, 5th Oscar ’23, 4th Kiki ’22, 3rd Gabby ’22, 2nd Ily ’22, 1st Arun ’22

Team awards: 5th Kiana ’23 / Maggie ’23 / Henry ’22, 4th Kate ’23 / Noah ’22 / Gabby ’22, 3rd Willa ’23 / Naomi ’22 / Ily ’22, 2nd Avalon ’23 / Otis ’23 / Oscar ’23, 1st Emma ’22 / Kiki ’22 / Arun ’22

Next up:

We will mix and match the teams for a four league event at Pasadena Polytechnic on March 17th, compete with at least four three-person teams at Nationals in April, and go for a school-award yearlong sweep at the league championship in May.