Debate and Public Speaking Society Winter Term Competition Update: Around New England and Beyond!
by Karen Suchenski
One-third of all SBS students are members of our Debate and Public Speaking Society, and many have chosen to activate their skills in competition this winter. Following our successful January intramural tournament, hosted by tireless student officers, Jax Morgan ’19 and Joy Lundberg ’20, SBS speechmakers have been busy speaking and debating throughout New England.

Aurola Zhang ’21 advanced from the school, zone, and district levels of the Lion’s Club Youth Speech competition to participate in the Massachusetts regional finals, representing Western Mass on Jan 26. She received a monetary award as a runner up for her strong speech on the required topic, “Integrity: what does it look like?” with the Lion’s Club judges noting her “excellence” that day.

Sofia Sherman ’20, Mia Mullings ’20, Sophia Phillips ’20, and Sophie Reitz ’20 participated in the novice division of parliamentary extemporaneous with straight resolutions at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT on Jan. 27 with other 18 schools in the Debate Association of New England Independent Schools (DANEIS) league. Sophie took top SBS speaker that day.

Next, SBS was very successful at the public speaking tournament hosted at Kingswood Oxford School on Feb. 1. Joy Lundberg ’20, Sophie Reitz ’20, and Sophia Phillips ’20 prepared impressive speeches for the tournament. Congratulations Sophie who won 2nd place in ethical dilemma, and Joy who placed 2nd in after dinner, 3rd in impromptu, and received a 3rd place award for top speaker overall.

The SBS team engaged in spirited debates on Feb. 17 at the St. Sebastian’s School tournament. Twenty schools from New England participated in this novice event. The following students should be commended for their hard work in preparing for the tournament: Lucy Wu ’22, Lucy Wang ’22, Claudia Narberhaus ’21, Claire Su ’20, Natalia Sherman ’23, Lilly Yang ’23, Sophie Reitz ’20, and MJ Campos ’20. Our top SBS team novice speaker for the day was Claudia.

Many thanks to Head Stephanie Luebbers for being a strong advocate of the society. Thanks, too, to the students and faculty who have pitched in to help teammates prepare for tournaments, so that each SBS competitor experiences each event as a benchmark of personal advancement, if not always garnering team success.

Advisors to the team look forward to students’ final foray into the speaking world at three closing events. A public speaking tournament will take place on Sunday, March 31 at Northfield Mount Hermon. The final league tournament of the year in parliamentary extemporaneous debate will take place at Deerfield Academy on Sunday, April 28 with both a novice tournament and (simultaneously) a Tournament of Champions.

Finally, Jax Morgan ’19 is currently preparing for the upcoming World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships April 11-17 in which she and 13 other students will represent the U.S. at a world tournament of approximately 160 international competitors. Worlds is being sponsored by Branksome Hall, an International Baccalaureate (IB) girls school in Toronto, Canada. Having earned a spot on Team USA twice over during the DANEIS league season, Jax is busy honing her skills and preparing speeches across all genres from debate and impromptu to after dinner and interpretive reading. Read about Jax’s road to Worlds on the SBS website.

As advisors, we are proud of the way our students take risks and raise their voices; we anticipate great things for our speaker at Worlds and for our students in the world beyond.