On Sunday March 18th, the students of Malden High School embarked on a journey to participate in a Debate Tournament in Needham, Massachusetts and compete with other schools from the state. The event consisted of many competitions with each focusing a specific field or skill. “There are various types of speech and debate that students can compete for, [such as] poetry reading, impromptu speech, student congress, group discussion,” says Candra Cho, the parent of freshman Rasmee Ky who was a part of the contest. The event last from late morning until late afternoon.
For freshman Matthew Mijares, joining the tournament is “an important thing to do as a member of the debate club” Said Mijares. To him, the competition is a great way to let others know that Malden High has a strong debate team.
On the other hand, some, like freshman Brian Nguyen and junior Carla Rosales-McFarlane participated in the competition partly because of a friend. From Nguyen’s perspective, the contest is a way to “make a name for yourself and put it out there” and to “do something great for the school and yourself.” “[Her] friend talked [her] into doing it” explained Rosales-McFarlane, “the other reason for joining is [her] passion for poetry in general. [Poetry] helped [her] with speaking to a room full of audience and keep them engaged [in] a topic people would not normally be comfortable to talk about.” Additionally, her reason of being a part of the contest is because it is a chance to get to know the world out there and it is also a way for her to prove that “regardless of [one’s] background or where [one] comes from, there are opportunities out there for people to challenge themselves and those around them.”
Being in a competition also has a perk. “[Joining tournament like this] will help you, especially during college admission,” explained Mijares. In sophomore Birukti Tsige’s opinion, it is one of a kind social gathering and a great way to meet others. “It is good to get out there and see how other people interact with one another,” says Tsige “Being with other people for almost a whole day would bring us together.”
Additionally, it provided students with “public speaking as well as a way to build confidence and poise as some students don't get exposure/opportunities for such experiences,” explains Tsige. As she is doing poetry and has to express herself in front of a big audience, Tsige expected it to be a little bit overwhelming soon since she “had not taken in what is going to happen yet.” For Rosales-McFarlane, however, despite having to perform in front of a huge audience just like Tsige, had a different reaction as she is “excited for what could happen.”
The competition ended with Tsige being able to break through (a term used to describe when someone made it to the final); she came in fourth place for poetry reading. The others were not able to break through. Though her daughter was not able to make it through the final, Cho said that she is “very happy that [Rasmee] was willing to give it a try as she wasn't sure if she'd like it. [It] turns out that she enjoyed the tournament very much & would like to attend as many tournaments as she's able to next school year.”