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Academy Debate Team Places at Kenyon College’s Forensics Classic

Columbus Academy’s first debate team in decades made its anticipated debut on Saturday November 21st at Kenyon College. The team placed 6th out of the ten schools that participated, an impressive result for our young team against the packs of veterans at Kenyon.

19 teams of Ohio high schoolers debated a timely topic that has gripped the media, confounded politicians, and ignited public discourse: a government should prioritize the humanitarian needs of refugees over national interests. Prepared to defend both sides, the Vikings excelled in the Public Forum debate.

The students competed in pairs, and of Columbus Academy’s seven pairs-two placed. Cameron Fachman’16 and Varun Vallabhaneni’16 placed fourth, boasting a 3-1 record, and Rhea Rao’17 and Jessica Griffin’17 snatched the sixth rank.

The debate consisted of four total rounds. First, they gave a prepared speech followed by a questioning round. After, they would fire back with a rebuttal speech and close with a short speech. A coin toss decided which side they were to support.

The Vikings arrived at Kenyon with nascent talent and hours of preparation under their belts. They dedicated blocks of free time at school to research and practice, with lessons led by senior co-captain Michael Retchin, who has helped Academy’s debate team after a successful debate career in Virginia and has filled the team members with enthusiastic dedication that will ensure more success in the future.

Retchin says he is, “extremely proud and grateful for all the work and time that members of the team have invested.”

The team is deciding between December 5th or 12th for its next event which will cover the benefits and harms of standardized testing, a topic to which stress ridden high schoolers can relate.

The competitors included seniors Cameron Fachman, Alex LiChen, Sooji Kang, Michael Retchin, Varun Vallabhaneni and juniors Rebecca Amonor, Caroline Anders, Suzie Frankovich, Parker Graham, Jessica Griffin, Camila Jones, Sid Menon, Rhea Rao, and sophomore, Briyana Dragin.

In addition to Retchin’s dedicated leadership, Alex Lichen (who initiated the formation of team) serves as co-captain.


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