On April 6th, 2019 the Speech and Debate team took part in the State finals. The competition took place at Acton-Boxborough High School. The students who attended this event were Jenny Chen, Birukti Tsige, Rasmee Ky and Sara Zakaria (head of sports in the Blue and Gold Newspaper.)
The team also made history in having more students attend states than any year prior, with having two students qualify and two selected. In addition, senior Jenny Chen also placed in the top 12 in the state for Student Congress and Zakaria placed second in her first round of poetry reading.
Getting into the state finals is no easy task. The Malden High school team went up against 519 other students from 25 other schools across the state of Massachusetts. In addition, as Ky explained, “in order to qualify for states [one] needs to rank third or higher on average during preliminary rounds at two of the state-wide competitions, which is how Birukti and [Rasmee Ky] qualified, plus each team gets to send two wildcards [which were] Jenny [Chen] and Sara [Zakaria].”
Going into the competition the team did a lot to prepare, Tsige mentioned how she “practiced about 30+ hours and competed in about 20 rounds in five tournaments.” Other students worked on certain parts of their performance before the competition Ky “practiced a lot in front of the mirror everyday to make sure that [her] facial expressions and body language felt natural and worked to enhance [her] speech”
The team was very proud of their accomplishments at the competition. This was their most successful year in team’s history. “Everyone performed very well, we have been practicing our events for months and poured all our passion into our final performances of the year,” explained Ky.
Tsige mentioned how “[she] [was] proud of performing with all [she] had and winning first place in the first round. It was a poetry piece [she] had practiced and trained for all year, and [she believes] that she] performed as well as [she] could.”
With all of their accomplishment the team is still able to acknowledge what the team needs to work on in the future. Tsige explained that they “are working on becoming more competitive and especially training the underclassman early so by the time they are seniors, they can hold their own against top competitors.”
Jenny Chen shared how “the final round at state finals was the hardest competition [she’d] ever had” and “finding out that [she] was a finalist and would have to compete again while completely unprepared [had] taken [her] by surprise.” Chen continued that “the news was the best possible news to receive, but [she] [is] an overachieving perfectionist and being caught off-guard was not [her]idea of fun.”
The team did have many upsides for the day and left feeling very proud and felt as though they have learned a lot. Ky explained that “attending states gives everyone a good experience to give back to the team. By seeing the best competitors in our league, we can better advise next year's team about tip and tricks that we have picked up from other performances, plus we get to learn about new events by watching their finals competition.”