• Jamie Saito

Recap of the State Debate Tournament

Updated: Apr 26, 2021


The Parker School debate team competed at the state tournament this past week, the final regular-season competition of the year. In four of the six categories, Parker students competed against teams from Punahou, Iolani, Kamehameha Schools Kapalama, Roosevelt High School, and Hilo High School.


This year, the tournament was held entirely online, just like the other regular-season competitions. Students joined video calls with their opponents and judges, where they competed virtually. Unlike other years, this meant that the Parker team did not have to travel to Oahu to compete, where the tournament would usually take place at the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama campus and Punahou School.


Nineteen Parker students competed, twelve of whom broke to elimination rounds.

Lucas Koranda and Maddie Weigle made it to quarterfinals in Advanced Public Forum Debate, and in Novice Lincoln Douglas Genevieve Savage and Ramsey Hauanio placed second and fourth, respectively. In Policy Debate, where only two Parker teams were competing, Rachel Pessah and Sheinah Bumgardner took first in the Junior Varsity category while Rebecca Tang and Eloise Robertson took first in the Varsity category, qualifying for Nationals.


The State tournament also marked the final competition with Mr. Smith as head debate coach. For the Seniors on the team, Mr. Smith has been a coach for the debate team all four years, which makes his departure a bittersweet ending to this season.


“He’s the best coach in the world, and I’m so grateful for his four years of unconditional support,” says Rachel Pessah.


As the team moves on, however, they will be in the hands of Mr. Pogreba, who has also dedicated his time during this school year to ensuring that debaters are prepared for every tournament.


The wrap of the State debate tournament is not the end of the season for some members of the team. On Saturday, six students will compete in the state competition for speech, and those who qualify for the National tournament in speech or debate will have the opportunity to compete with other students across the country this summer.


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