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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Junior joins speech and debate

Three years ago, junior Spencer Robinson did not attend Saratoga High. In fact, he didn't attend any school at all since he had been homeschooled through ninth grade.

As a sophomore new to the school, Robinson had an interest in joining speech and debate, but didn’t join because he felt like he couldn’t make the commitment and was too far behind other participants.

As he became accustomed to life at Saratoga High, he decided to try the program again this year. Robinson realized that with the support of his teammates and coaches, the activity was less intimidating than he had believed.

“I’ve always been an argumentative person,” Robinson said, “And I also thought that it’d be a useful skill to have, like being able to talk to people and convince them of an idea.”

He said the most challenging part has been getting used to the new terminology, but coaches have been patient with him and he is catching on.

Robinson hopes to try some individual events like Impromptu, but he hopes to focus on Policy Debate, true to the current focus of the team.

Every debater on the team this year is participating in Policy Debate, which is the foundation for all other forms of debate, and head coach Christopher Harris and returning assistant coach Steve Clemmons aim to strengthen this foundation to improve the performance of the debate team.

“There are inherent components of policy debate that all debaters must understand and learn to exploit to learn to be good debaters,” Harris said.

On Oct. 25 during the Super Debate at Milpitas High School, sophomores Sathvik Koneru, Karthik Ramachandran, Arun Ramakrishna, and Mervi Tan each had a record of 1-3 as they competed in varsity public forum. Sophomore Austin Wang won a spot in the Lincoln Douglas State Tournament in March with an undefeated record of 4-0, while junior Siavash Yaghoobi came close with his record 3-1, respectively. In addition, seniors Alex Li and Aakash Thumaty participated in varsity Parliamentary Debate and went 3-1.

According to Harris, each student will hone their skills even further by assessing their weaknesses and learning from their past mistakes. The whole team will attend the Santa Clara University Invitational on Nov. 20-22, where Robinson plans to compete as well.

As he continues to improve, Robinson is confident that he will do well this year. He has high hopes for the season.

“I want to win debates,” Robinson said. “I want to get better and get a foundation to become a power debater senior year.”

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