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The Falcon

The Student News Site of The Kinkaid School

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Debate season starts with success

Kaveen Shah
The World Schools Debate team composed of seniors Wills Leighton, Kaveen Shah and Catherine Moursund, as well as junior Caroline Pielop, at a tournament in Dallas.

The Kinkaid debate team continued its success at the Grapevine Classic, which awards bids to the prestigious Tournament of Champions. 

Located just outside Dallas, the Grapevine Classic, which is in its 35th annual competition, was the first major tournament of the season for Kinkaid debaters. 

Building off their recent success at the invitation-only Tournament of Champions in April, juniors Charlie Yang and Jason Zhang, as well as senior Jesus Lara and junior Ryder Tang, reached double octofinals in public forum debate.  

Both pairs were one round away from receiving a bid, and both had three wins and two losses in the preliminary rounds.

“We did pretty well at the tournament, but I think we can do better at upcoming tournaments throughout the year,” Lara said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the debate season and I’ll be trying to earn a bid to the Tournament of Champions.”

Sophomore Sophie Zhou also gathered three wins and two losses in the preliminary rounds in Lincoln Douglas debate and was a near miss, failing to advance. Sophomores Abby Ahuero and Audrey Koo had a strong first tournament after an excellent freshman season, ending one win away from the elimination rounds in policy debate.

Seniors Kaveen Shah and Wills Leighton along with junior Caroline Pielop were the fourth seed after preliminary rounds, attaining four wins and only one loss in world schools debate. They finished fifth place overall, reaching the quarterfinal round.

Mr. Eric Emerson, Upper School debate coach, has led the team to success the past few years.

“Kinkaid has the potential to be great across an array of events unlike other years, as we have a youth in some events like Lincoln Douglas, policy, and oratory,” Mr. Emerson said. “Public forum and world schools debate are established and the debate team has a great future, as established by the results of Grapevine.”

Shah has been one of the most successful debaters in the country during his time at Kinkaid.

Recently, Shah received an invitation to be a part of the Texas State World Schools Debate team, composed of the top 16 high school debaters in the state. He attained this honor by attending over 50 tournaments during the past three years, earning third place in the California Invitational Berkeley Debate tournament; making it to octofinals at the Texas Forensic Association State tournament; and reaching elimination rounds at the National Speech and Debate Tournament

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to compete on the state team,” Shah said. “It’s been a goal for me since I’ve started debating. I’ve focused on debate throughout my high school career, and I’m thankful that the hard work has paid off.”

He hopes to continue his success through this season, supporting both the Kinkaid team and the State team.

“Kaveen has had a historic influence at Kinkaid, being the first to accomplish many feats in World Schools Debate like being nominated for the Team Texas Worlds team,” Mr. Emerson said. “He has personified success for the debate team.”

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Alex Cai, Staff Writer
Kaveen Shah, Staff Writer

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