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The Falcon

The Student News Site of The Kinkaid School

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Public forum debate duo conquers local and national circuits

Zhang+and+Yang+pose+at+the+Tournament+of+Champions+at+the+University+of+Kentucky+last+spring.
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Zhang and Yang pose at the Tournament of Champions at the University of Kentucky last spring.

A Kinkaid debate duo has taken the national debate circuit by storm.

Juniors Jason Zhang and Charlie Yang have been one of the most successful teams in Public Forum debate in the nation this year.

Both have been involved in debate since their middle school years, but their partnership only began in their sophomore year. Yang qualified for the Texas Forensic Association State tournament in his freshman year, a difficult achievement for debaters in any grade. 

This year, they have reached the top 20 in the nation in Public Forum debate. This comes after their sophomore seasons, qualifying for the prestigious Tournament of Champions and National Speech and Debate Association Nationals, and reaching octofinals (the top 16 debaters) at TFA State. 

“After debating with Jason and Charlie for almost five years, they really deserve their success after all the time and effort they have spent,” junior Ryder Tang said. “They have put in the work since middle school and it has paid off.”

The team has found success at every tournament that they have attended this year. They qualified for TFA State in October, one month into the season. In addition, they achieved third place at the Apple Valley MinneApple Debate Tournament, one of the most prestigious national tournaments. They also were co-champions at the Katy Taylor Debate Tournament, gaining a gold bid at each tournament. 

After their success at these two national tournaments, their two gold bids qualify them for the Tournament of Champions this year. Qualification is seen as one of the best accomplishments a debater can attain and the pair did it in just one semester.

Their success can be accredited to two main reasons: their chemistry and love for the activity.

“Working together is one of our strengths, having the same vision and staying cohesive as a duo in the round really has accelerated our success,” Yang said. “Without excellent chemistry, a Public Form partnership can’t achieve these results nationally.”

Additionally, their love for debate has given them new opportunities to learn and research about events happening around the world. 

“Learning about current events and expanding my knowledge are the main reasons for my interest, as I get to learn things I would’ve never known about,“ Zhang said. “Another reason is that I get to express my ideas and strategies creatively against opponents that will test my skills.” 

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