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Debate: Anders and Graham Finish as Octa-Finalists at States

Academy Team AG, comprised of juniors Caroline Anders and Parker Graham, ventured to Cincinnati this past Friday to compete in the Ohio High School Speech League’s State Tournament. The Public Forum team ended its state run as octa-finalists, meaning they were among the top 16 of 64 teams left in the competition. 83 schools were represented.

The tournament was held in Cincinnati at  Princeton High School, which hosted the state finals for four different kinds of debate: Public Forum, Lincoln Douglas, Policy, and Congressional. Additionally, nine different speech events also took place.

The topic of debate for Public Forum was “Resolved: the United States should withdraw its military presence from Okinawa.”

In a Public Forum debate, a judge flips a coin at the beginning of each round to determine which team will argue for or against  the resolution. Anders and Graham’s preference was for arguing the “pro”; that is, staying in Okinawa. While this may have been their bias, it was not always their choice. Hence, the toin coss.

Team AG “broke” or advanced beyond the preliminary rounds of the tournament by winning at least four out of its six rounds between Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

Following these rounds, the team won its “partial double-octa” round against University School, allowing Anders and Graham to advance to the octa-finalist round.

Academy’s Debate Team has had a fulfilling first year, placing at every competition and gaining national recognition.

Anders and Graham are thrilled that they had the opportunity to participate in the whole weekend.

Anders says, “For me, it’s not just about the rounds or the tournament or any of that. It’s about the fact that you can go in a room with a team and argue for 45 minutes, but when you walk out of the room, your opponents are complimenting your speaking style or one of your arguments. It’s a very interesting dynamic.”

Anders and Graham agree that the weekend was made especially impactful for them because of the people they met and because of those students with whom they forged friendships. They refer to the teams competing as a “community.”

As Graham says, “We felt like we had people rooting for us, even if we had just met them.”

Graham, who had formerly debated with the team’s captain, Michael Retchin’17, advances to the National Tournament  in June. This event will be held in Salt Lake City.

Retchin will pass the team’s leadership to Anders and Graham for the 2016-17 school year.

Team AG attributes much of its success (as do the other team members) in qualifying for states to Retchin’s  “wonderful leadership.”

As Anders and Graham say, “We really couldn’t have done any of this without him.”


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