After capturing our second California State Championship in April, the Mitty Speech and Debate team travelled to Birmingham, Alabama for the 2017 National Speech and Debate Tournament. Let’s take a look at our journey…

Immediately after graduation, we began meeting to cut new scripts, block new pieces, put together new cases and rehearse our speeches. After two weeks of blitzes, team members surprised us with an Ice Cream Party and care packages to send us off!

Competitors met at San Jose Airport on Saturday morning to catch their flight to Atlanta. After landing in Atlanta and making the quick journey to Birmingham, we got to our hotel.

Early the next day, we went to the Sheraton Hotel for tournament registration as well as to the grocery store to stock up on tournament snacks.

The night before preliminary rounds saw some inspirational talks by the coaches as well as some well thought out, personalized tangible metaphors made by Lucas! Not only that, but the parents sent us a thoughtful Edible Arrangements gift as well. 

On Monday morning we had four preliminary rounds followed by two more preliminary rounds on Tuesday.

Everyone put energy, passion and poise into each of their rounds and now it was time to see the results. Cutting from the top 240 in the nation all the way down to the top 60, the breaks were tough, however MSD did outstanding. The breaks to octo-finals were as follows:

In Dramatic Interpretation: Erica Johnson

In Humorous Interpretation: Arjun Biju

In Duo Interpretation: Pranavi Javangula and Esha Bhatia

In Original Oratory: Lucas Kernan

In Program Oral Interpretation: Conor Sherry

In International Extemporaneous: Eshan Gupta and Akaash Tawade

In Public Forum Debate: Koji Flynn-Do and Jolie Leung

After two tough octofinal rounds, the competition pool narrowed from the top 60 to the top 30. We were left with 3 national quarterfinalists!!... 

In Original Oratory: Lucas Kernan

In Program Oral Interpretation: Conor Sherry

In International Extemporaneous: Akaash Tawade

In Public Forum Debate, Koji Flynn-Do and Jolie Leung, also made it to round 9 on Wednesday morning.

Following two more quarterfinal rounds on Wednesday and incredible performances by the three quarterfinalists, the breaks to national semifinals (Top 14) were announced. We emerged with our national semifinalist... 

In Program Oral Interpretation: Conor Sherry

Koji and Jolie also continued their run in Public Forum remaining in competition until Round 13 on Thursday morning!

On Thursday afternoon, the team made a quick run to Build-a-Bear Workshop. Following Nationals tradition, every competitor made their own bear to remind them of this tournament or the piece that they delivered.

Oh, and don’t think we didn’t have amazing food all along the way! We had everything from Thai food to Barbeque Chicken as well as some yummy cake for Koji’s birthday.

Starting Thursday, final rounds began at the Birmingham Concert Hall. The team, along with hundreds of other students, watched the incredible Interp final rounds all of Thursday evening.

After watching debate final rounds as a team on Friday afternoon, the much anticipated awards ceremony began in the evening. At the awards ceremony, Mitty Speech and Debate was given the highest possible award – The School of Outstanding Distinction Award. This means that for the THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR, MSD was one of the Top 10 Speech and Debate Schools in the nation. In addition to an incredible team showing, individual results were as follows:

Dramatic Interpretation:
Octofinalist (Top 60) – Erica Johnson

Duo Interpretation:
Octofinalists (Top 60) – Pranavi Javangula and Esha Bhatia

Humorous Interpretation:
Octofinalist (Top 60) – Arjun Biju

Program Oral Interpretation:
10th – Conor Sherry

International Extemporaneous:
Quarterfinalist (Top 30) – Akaash Tawade
Octofinalist (Top 60) – Eshan Gupta

Original Oratory:
Quarterfinalist (Top 30) – Lucas Kernan

Public Forum Debate:
9th place -  Koji Flynn-Do & Jolie Leung

With the tournament now behind them, the team took a Saturday morning flight back home where they were greeted by family and friends. A truly amazing way to end the week. A huge thank you to everyone who came out and welcomed us – the support and love means the world.

The end of the national tournament marked the official end to the 2016-2017 season. A final thank you to everyone who has supported us through the entire journey – friends, family, teammates, teachers, coaches and the Mitty administration. We are excited to build upon all that we have learned this year to come out even stronger next year. Even more however, we hope to continue fostering our relationships and learning more of the meaningful lessons that this activity has to offer.