STAMFORD, CT – Thirty-two Stamford Public Schools (SPS) students, more than any other Connecticut school district, qualified and participated in the Connecticut Debate Association (CDA) State Finals on Saturday, March 25, bringing home 15 individual and team trophies.
Stamford High School proudly hosted this year’s championship competition, for the first time in over a decade. Out of 58 varsity speakers statewide who competed, Stamford High School (SHS) Senior Ryan Shoztic won First Place Varsity Speaker, and Ryan and his partner Julia Schager took home the third place Varsity Team trophy. Of the 54 novice speakers statewide, Stamford High School (SHS) Sophomore Hayden Katz won First Place Novice Speaker and Hayden and his partner Jain Mehen were named the State Champion Novice Team. Westhill High School (WHS) students Ilana Gilbert and Zachary Goldberg won 2nd place Novice Team. Other SPS winners included:
Zachary Goldberg (WHS), 3rd place Novice Speaker
Jain Mehen (SHS), 4th place Novice Speaker
John Morse (AITE), 7th place Novice Speaker
Mey Silvey (SHS), 10th place Novice Speaker
Sarah Barry (AITE), 9th place Varsity Speaker
SHS’s Silvey & Morency, 6th place Novice Team
SHS’s Lien & Molineaux, 9th place Novice Team
AITE Goldberg & Sanghavim, 8th place Varsity Team
WHS Nayak & Sharma, 10th place Varsity Team
“I’m super proud of our team in Stamford,” said SHS Debate Coach and IB teacher, Jeremy White. “This is recognition of not only the work we have done at SHS, but also the work that Joe Petrone and Claude Morest have done at Westhill and AITE respectively. Together, we have helped make the city of Stamford a force to be reckoned with in the debate community.” This was Mr. White’s last tournament as the SHS debate coach, as he is stepping down after 22 years to focus his attention on coaching another after-school activity. In recent years, SHS has heralded eight state champions and a national champion, and SHS has led the state in the number of qualifiers to compete for these championships in each of the last three years.
“Debate is such an important tool in preparing our students for the real world,” explained AITE Debate Coach Claude Morest. “It is inspiring to recognize that these students spent their Saturday thinking deeply and speaking eloquently about America’s complex relationship with China. It was definitely time well spent.”
“Debate teaches valuable skills, including the ability to think for yourself and to see value in other people’s perspectives,” AITE senior and co-captain of the debate team, Zoë Goldberg, said in reference to her four-year experience debating before, during, and after the pandemic. “Debate has been a wonderful experience helping shape not only the way I speak but how I interact with others.”
The 2023 CDA in-person tournament followed a Parliamentary format and featured high school students who qualified throughout the year by finishing in the top five at a statewide tournament. The topic of this year’s championship debate was: “This House supports a policy of containment with respect to China.”
AITE is hosting the Connecticut Middle School Debate League (CTMSDL) Championship tournament this Saturday, April 1st, starting at 9am. The AITE Middle School Debate Team, which is funded through a grant from State Street Debating Society, has a team that qualified and is competing in the championship.