English teacher steps up as Speech and Debate Head Coach

September 17, 2008 — by Abhishek Venkatarmana and Saniha Shankar

This year, English teacher Erick Rector has stepped up to coach the speech and debate team in hopes of bringing much needed stability to the program.

“I think that we’re going to be able to put forth a very strong team this year, somewhat like a phoenix rising,” said Rector. “I think we can attack this year with a very up-and-coming team.”

Rector, who participated in speech and debate during his years as a student at Saratoga, has been a part of the team since laste year, organizing team meetings during lunch, helping out during tournaments and providing his room for practices. Many students, such as Student Congress captain junior Varun Parmar, feel that he is the only one who can bring the team back together after a rough season.

“Last year we never really had team unity and many people disliked out coach,” said Parmar. “However, this year Mr. Rector is trying to build unity and friendships within our team and is making new rules and changes to ensure that we work together and have a successful season.”

Rector’s first step for the new season was hiring two alumni and former debate captains. Andrew Suciu will coach Parlimentary debate and Aditya Ullal will coach Extemporaneous Speaking and Student Congress. Both were successful debaters during their years at Saratoge and went to State Championships and National Championships in their respective events.

“I think that [Ullal] and [Suciu] will not only provide the experience necessarty,” said Speech captain senior Rishi Taggarsi, who was coached by Suciu and Ullal during his freshman year, “but since they are former Saratoga High students, they will also connect easily with the speech and debaters on a more personal level than any previous coaches [would]. Their commitment and drive is what the teams needs and having them as coaches will undeniably help carry the team to a successful season.”

Rector hopes to maintain, if not surpass, the success that they have achieved in previous years, starting with their first tournament at Menlo Atherton on Sept. 28.

“I expect that the year will be difficult, long and arduous,” said Rector, “but at the same time, fun, exciting and rewarding, as it always is.”