Debate team speaks up at competition

Glancing nervously at the audience, freshman Surina Venkat read out the final line of her poem.

Venkat participated in the Speech and Debate tournament recently, as a member of the school’s team. Students were placed in groups based on their category, and received a card with a rubric on it before performing.

“It was a little bit nerve-racking,” she said. “The event I was doing, Oral Interpretation, was where you took two passages, one a poem and the other a prose [an excerpt from a novel] piece, and then you read them. It had to be five to 10 minutes.”

Freshman Tehya Bahsoun also did an Oral Interpretation at the event.

“I was originally planning on doing a debate, but then I didn’t have time to write six pages per argument and two speeches and know both sides in and out, so then I decided on doing an Oral Interpretation.”

There were two winners per category, and West Shore’s top finisher was senior Ava Russo, who placed second in the Original Oratory category.

“The competition was really good this year, and it was also the biggest category,” Russo said. “Getting second was a rather amazing feeling, knowing who I went up against.”

“It was more fun than you’d expect, even though I didn’t win anything,” Bahsoun said. “I think I’ll definitely be doing it next year.”

Bahsoun said she felt it was a beneficial undertaking.

“I think it provides me with a lot of public-speaking experience and helps me get over fears of talking to people,” she said.

By Chloe Seifert