The Webb Debate Team is celebrating top awards after its first two league debates of the 2018-19 season. Junior Renny Jiang won First Place Speaker, her second gavel at Webb, which marks just the third time in Webb history a student has won the coveted award twice. Additionally, Webb charted a first place Tournament Award, two individual speaker awards, two second place speaker awards and several undefeated teams during the nascent season.
Early in October, Webb traveled to Sequoyah School in Pasadena to debate the following topics:
- The United States should establish a comprehensive sixth military service – The Space Force. (pre-announced)
- Facebook does more harm than good. (pre-announced)
- The US should establish English as the official language (impromptu)
- Divide California into 2 or more states (impromptu)
Three of our teams went 4-0: Eunice Yip ‘19, Renny Jiang ‘19, Alina Hu ‘20 (First Place Team award); Eleanor Corbin ‘20, Elena Tiedens ‘21, and Roger Yen ‘21; and Bridgid Corbin ‘19, Jill Ji ‘20, and Nnnenna Ochuru ‘21.
Two other Webb teams went 3-1: Cathy Yan ‘19, Jenny Han ‘21, and Leslie Huh ‘22; and Jacob Passalaqua ‘19, Jay Gupta ‘20, and Togrul Savalan ‘20.
Webb went on to win First Place Speaker Gavel (Jiang ’20), Third and Fourth Place Speaker (Passalaqua ’19, Yip ’19), First Place Team (Yip, Jiang, Hu), and finally First Place Overall for most wins in the day and First Place Tournament for highest percentage of wins.
The second debate of the season took place on the beautiful campus of Claremont McKenna College and the Webb teams debated the following topics:
- Schools should abolish homework (pre-announced)
- The California cashless bail system will do more harm than good (pre-announced)
- Students should be required to complete a year of national service before attending college (impromptu)
- Saudi Arabia is more of an enemy than an ally (impromptu)
As the points were tallied at the end of the day, Webb had a 75 percent win rate which earned them the First Place Tournament Award for the highest percentage of wins. All four of Webb’s teams placed in the top ten for the tournament, with two speakers (E. Corbin ’20 and Jiang ’20) tied for second place speaker. Gupta ’20 and Passalaqua ’19 also won individual speaker awards. In addition to the strong showing of experienced debaters, Webb brought along eight novice debate team members to observe for the day.
Webb’s debate program has grown into one of the largest extracurricular activities since its contemporary inception in 2008--when it was re-established by then students Dakota Santana-Grace '11 and Elena Scott-Kakures '11 with volunteer coach Lee Harris. Boasting an active student membership of more than 50 debaters, the team holds regular practices and is a fully recognized after school activity during the winter season. Team captains are elected by their peers and lead the team in organization for pro and con arguments for pre-announced topics, as well as coaching younger and more noviced debaters to become stronger participants.