2016 NSDA National Tournament

2016 NSDA National Tournament

After capturing the California State Championship in April, the Mitty Speech and Debate team travelled to Salt Lake City for the 2016 National Tournament. Let’s take a look at their journey…

Nationals Squad outside of the Salt Palace.

Nationals Squad outside of the Salt Palace.

After graduation, competitors met several days a week to cut new scripts, block performances, and deliver practice speeches. Blitzes concluded on the Thursday before the tournament with a Thai-themed team dinner (Try saying that 10 times fast!). Thanks to our amazing support squad for the delicious food and lovely care packages!

Competitors met at the Oakland Airport on Saturday afternoon for their flight to Salt Lake City. Upon landing in Utah, the team checked into their hotel and made a late run to the grocery store for some food.

The next day, the team drove into Downtown Salt Lake City for tournament registration and lunch before heading back to the hotel to practice for their upcoming rounds.

Monday brought the first four rounds of preliminary competition. All of our performers infused their speeches with passion, poise, and personality!

Speech and Congress ready to compete!

Speech and Congress ready to compete!

Tuesday saw the first elimination rounds. Congratulations to following students, who in a field of approximately 250 talented competitors, placed in the top 60 of their events:

The sun shone brightly on the Mitty team...

The sun shone brightly on the Mitty team...

In Dramatic Interpretation: Samuel Mesfin and Jocelyn Woods
In Duo Interpretation: Olivia Monroy and Amelia Whitney
In Informative: Bharathi Arasan and Seher Randhawa
In Program Oral Interpretation: Nini Bhat

In Congressional Debate: Pranav Govindaraju, Ismail Shaik, and Akaash Tawade
In Public Forum Debate: Koji Flynn-Do and Jolie Leung
In World Schools Debate: Jonathan Pham

On Wednesday, the competition was extremely stiff. The following students placed in the top 30 of their events:

Our beautiful speech competitors with an entrancing backdrop at Brighton High School.

Our beautiful speech competitors with an entrancing backdrop at Brighton High School.

In Dramatic Interpretation: Samuel Mesfin
In Informative: Bharathi Arasan and Seher Randhawa
In Program Oral Interpretation: Nini Bhat

In Congressional Debate: Ismail Shaik

After the quarterfinal round of competition in speech, the following students were advanced to the semifinal round of competition, placing in the top 14 students of their respective events:

Our two speech semifinalists - Sam and Bharathi!

Our two speech semifinalists - Sam and Bharathi!

In Dramatic Interpretation: Samuel Mesfin
In Informative: Bharathi Arasan

Both Bharathi and Sam gave stellar performances, and we are so incredibly proud of all of the hard work and dedication that they have poured into their pieces. However, after a tense postings assembly, Archbishop Mitty emerged with its sole speech finalist: Bharathi Arasan, in Informative!

Later that night, the team surprised their two finalists, Bharathi and Ismail, with words of love and encouragement before their final rounds.

Our two national finalists - Ismail and Bharathi :^)

Our two national finalists - Ismail and Bharathi :^)

While Bharathi was at a sound and light check on Thursday morning, Ismail was busy competing in his final round. He performed spectacularly as the team watched the livestreamed event from the hotel.

Ismail looking dapper at the post-final round banquet.

Ismail looking dapper at the post-final round banquet.

The team joined hundreds of other students from across the United States in watching the final round of the interpretation events on Thursday evening. Our head coach, Mrs. Cruz, was also presented with her First Diamond, an award recognizing her dedication to coaching speech and debate.

MSD watching the final rounds of POI, HI, DI, and Duo!

MSD watching the final rounds of POI, HI, DI, and Duo!

On Friday morning, our speech finalist was greeted with a surprise - Bharathi’s mom had flown out to Salt Lake City to watch her perform on the national stage! And boy, did Bharathi perform! Speaking third, she brought poise, confidence, and jokes for days! We couldn’t be prouder.

Before Bharathi took the stage.

Before Bharathi took the stage.

At the awards ceremony, Archbishop Mitty was recognized with the highest honor a school can receive - the School of Outstanding Distinction Award, meaning that Archbishop Mitty Speech & Debate is one of the top 10 programs in the nation. With over 5,500 students representing thousands of schools at the National Tournament, this achievement was nothing short of incredible. Furthermore, Archbishop Mitty was one of just two school from California to receive the award, and THE ONLY school from the state to earn the recognition for a second consecutive year. The full results from the tournament are below:

Dramatic Interpretation:
11th - Samuel Mesfin
Octofinalist (Top 60) - Jocelyn Woods

Duo Interpretation:
Octofinalists (Top 60) - Olivia Monroy & Amelia Whitney

Informative:
5th - Bharathi Arasan
Quarterfinalist (Top 30) - Seher Randhawa

Program Oral Interpretation:
Quarterfinalist (Top 30) - Nini Bhat

Congressional Debate:
13th - Ismail Shaik
Semifinalist (Top 60) - Pranav Govindaraju
Semifinalist (Top 60) - Akaash Tawade

Public Forum Debate:
Top 100 - Koji Flynn-Do & Jolie Leung

World Schools Debate:
Octofinalist (Top 16) - Jonathan Pham

A successful tournament behind them, the team caught an early morning flight back to San Jose, where they were greeted by their loving family and friends. What a way to end the week! A big “thank you” to everyone who came to welcome us home - your love and support means the world to us.

And what a year it has been! Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout this incredibly rewarding experience, especially our friends, families, teammates, teachers, coaches, and the Mitty administration - we look forward to improving upon our accomplishments next year. Even more so, however, we look forward to continue developing meaningful relationships and learning the life lessons that this activity has to offer.

Top 10, baby!

Top 10, baby!

2016 CHSSA State Tournament

2016 CHSSA State Tournament

After an eventful qualifying season, the Monarchs were ready to tackle their next challenge - the 2016 CHSSA State Tournament. With 32 competitors - the most in the Coast Forensics League and the most in MSD history - the team was poised for success. Let’s take a look at their journey…

The biggest contingent from the CFL ready to tackle the state tournament!

The biggest contingent from the CFL ready to tackle the state tournament!

A few weeks before the competition, students met with Mr. and Mrs. Cruz for a motivational discussion on the significance of the state championship and the potential of the team to make history. (Spoiler Alert: We made history.)

The smiles started before state...

The smiles started before state...

During the weeks leading up to the championship, the team practiced almost daily, both in class and after school at blitzes. Dinner themes including “In it to Win it Indian” and “State Sandwiches” helped set the tone for practices that were both focused and fun.

Duo partners Lucas Kernan and Piper Lucas having too much fun? :^)

Duo partners Lucas Kernan and Piper Lucas having too much fun? :^)

The weekend before the state tournament brought the inaugural MSD Madness, during which competitors enjoyed an afternoon full of games and team bonding. Afterward, the qualifiers joined their parents for a potluck and game night. A big “thank you” to the Arasan family for hosting the event - it was a great opportunity for parents and students to socialize, engage in friendly competition, and laugh together.

As MSD tradition would have it, competitors gathered to share a meal on the evening prior to the tournament. The burgers and fries were delicious, but the real treat was what came after dinner - senior speeches. These personal reflections from the leaders of the team left us feeling energized for the big day ahead.

Hugs for senior team member Samuel Mesfin.

Hugs for senior team member Samuel Mesfin.

On the morning of the tournament, the boys met at Bill’s Cafe for breakfast while the girls convened at the house of Team President Nini Bhat to get their hair and makeup done. A huge thanks to the Bhat family for letting us use their home, and to fellow Monarch Emma Chew for volunteering to help the girls with their makeup!

Boys' breakfast at Bill's before the big day!

Boys' breakfast at Bill's before the big day!

After taking some fierce team photos, the team headed off to Mission College for the first rounds of the tournament.

"Teams that dab together, win together." - Mr. Cruz

"Teams that dab together, win together." - Mr. Cruz

One of the biggest perks of competing so close to home is the amazing support of our teammates, friends, and family. Team members came to Mission College to watch rounds, and our incredible parents provided food throughout the tournament. Mitty staff members also dropped by and were treated to some MSD performances!

The preliminary rounds of competition concluded on Saturday afternoon. Later that evening, the team gathered in Mr. and Mrs. Cruz’s hotel room to announce who had advanced to the semifinal round of competition. It was an intense and emotional night, but the results were undoubtedly spectacular:

Team members anxiously hold their breath as breaks are announced.

Team members anxiously hold their breath as breaks are announced.

Semifinalists in Dramatic Interpretation: Kai Hynes, Erica Johnson, and Samuel Mesfin
Semifinalists in Duo Interpretation: Paige Decena and Max Slade
Semifinalist in Expository: Seher Randhawa
Semifinalists in Humorous Interpretation: Rose Bueno, Olivia Monroy, and Conor Sherry
Semifinalist in Impromptu: Amulya Yerrapotu
Semifinalists in International Extemporaneous: Robbie Gallaher and Ismail Shaik
Semifinalists in National Extemporaneous: Koji Flynn-Do and Charlie Pyle
Semifinalist in Oratorical Interpretation: Esha Bhatia
Semifinalists in Original Advocacy: Bharathi Arasan and Pranav Govindaraju
Semifinalists in Original Prose and Poetry: Arjun Biju and Pranavi Javangula
Semifinalists in Thematic Interpretation: Colin Anderson, Nini Bhat, Madelyn Davis, Amelia Whitney, and Jocelyn Woods

Semifinalists in Congressional Debate: Siddhant Gannu and Akaash Tawade
Advancing to Round 5 of Parliamentary Debate: Chiara Caraccio and Vivek Thangam
Advancing to Round 7 of Policy Debate: Pranav Govindaraju and Ismail Shaik

After a difficult semifinal round the next morning, the team once again convened to find out who had advanced to the final round of the tournament. Congratulations to your 2016 finalists, all of whom are recognized as the top competitors in the state of California:

Anxiously awaiting finals breaks...

Anxiously awaiting finals breaks...

Finalists in Dramatic Interpretation: Kai Hynes and Samuel Mesfin
Finalists in Duo Interpretation: Paige Decena and Max Slade
Finalists in Humorous Interpretation: Olivia Monroy and Conor Sherry
Finalists in International Extemporaneous: Robbie Gallaher and Ismail Shaik
Finalist in National Extemporaneous: Charlie Pyle
Finalist in Original Advocacy: Bharathi Arasan
Finalists in Original Prose and Poetry: Arjun Biju and Pranavi Javangula
Finalists in Thematic Interpretation: Nini Bhat and Amelia Whitney

Finalist in Congressional Debate: Siddhant Gannu
Finalists in Parliamentary Debate: Chiara Caraccio and Vivek Thangam

All of our finalists gave incredible performances, bringing passion and energy into each moment of their speeches. Then came the awards ceremony, perhaps the most exhilarating part of the entire weekend. Congratulations to all of our competitors, especially those who were commended for their performances. The full results…

Dramatic Interpretation: 
4th place - Samuel Mesfin
7th place - Kai Hynes
8th place - Erica Johnson
 

Duo Interpretation:
5th place - Paige Decena & Max Slade

Expository:
13th place - Seher Randhawa

Humorous Interpretation:
1st place - Conor Sherry
5th place - Olivia Monroy
12th place - Rose Bueno

Impromptu:
10th place - Amulya Yerrapotu

International Extemporaneous:
5th place - Robbie Gallaher
7th place - Ismail Shaik

National Extemporaneous:
3rd place - Charlie Pyle
11th place - Koji Flynn-Do

Oratorical Interpretation:
8th place - Esha Bhatia

Original Advocacy:
3rd place - Bharathi Arasan
14th place - Pranav Govindaraju

Original Prose and Poetry:
2nd place - Arjun Biju
4th place - Pranavi Javangula

Thematic Interpretation:
1st place - Amelia Whitney
2nd place - Nini Bhat

9th place - Colin Anderson
12th place - Madelyn Davis
14th place - Jocelyn Woods

Congressional Debate:
12th place - Siddhant Gannu
Semifinalist - Akaash Tawade

Parliamentary Debate:
2nd place - Chiara Caraccio & Vivek Thangam

Policy Debate:
Quarterfinalists - Pranav Govindaraju & Ismail Shaik

Team Sweepstakes:
1st place - Archbishop Mitty

At the end of the night, MSD emerged with its FIRST EVER state champions - freshman Conor Sherry in Humorous Interpretation and sophomore Amelia Whitney in Thematic Interpretation! In addition, Archbishop Mitty was recognized as THE TOP speech and debate school in California. What we had been working for the entire year was no longer just a dream - we were state champions.

Hugs all around to celebrate!

Hugs all around to celebrate!

The Fab Five and coaches beaming with joy and pride.

The Fab Five and coaches beaming with joy and pride.

The team celebrated their success with a trip to Dave and Buster’s for a few hours of food, games, dancing, and team bonding.

Tired but still turnt after a long weekend!

Tired but still turnt after a long weekend!

What a weekend! Thank you to all of those who have supported us throughout this incredible experience - our friends, family, teachers, teammates, coaches, and the Mitty administration. We couldn’t have done it without your love, support, and guidance.

State Qualifiers!!

The Mitty Speech and Debate Team had an amazing State and National Qualifications season over the past month. Let’s start with a recap of our very first State Quals tournament of the year: Public Forum and Parliamentary Debate!

Our debaters kicked off a busy weekend and started off our qualifications season  after school at Leland High School on Friday, February 26th.

Some of the speech kids stopped by to send the debaters off!

Some of the speech kids stopped by to send the debaters off!

Partners Akaash Tawade and Jonathan Pham share a moment of laughter.

Partners Akaash Tawade and Jonathan Pham share a moment of laughter.

Partners Ismail Shaik and Pranav Govindaraju share a moment of anti-social phone using. Kids these days.....

Partners Ismail Shaik and Pranav Govindaraju share a moment of anti-social phone using. Kids these days.....

But of course, we couldn't start without a classic team circle!

After an incredibly tough two days of competition, we advanced 6 out of our 16 teams to the elimination rounds (after going 4-1 in prelims)-- the most breaks out of all the schools and a record made for Mitty Debate! We also had ever our first Public Forum breaks (3 out of 7 teams broke-- the most breaks out of all schools and another record for Mitty Debate!). Congratulations to Roshni/Rahul, Jahnavi/Dittu, and Amulya/Robbie for breaking to the first elimination round of Public Forum, and to Koji/Charlie for breaking to the first elimination round of Parliamentary Debate. After the first round, we had 2 teams still in, both in Parli— Jonathan/Akaash and Chiara/Vivek.

We lowkey ended up missing awards because we were too busy circling up again....

We lowkey ended up missing awards because we were too busy circling up again....

...but it was worth it for the life lessons we learned and shared with one another.

...but it was worth it for the life lessons we learned and shared with one another.

t the end of the day, missed awards ceremony aside, we ended the night with our first qualifiers to the 2016 state tournament: Chiara Caraccio and Vivek Thangam in Parliamentary Debate! Congratulations everyone!

Next up: Speech State Quals! The very next morning, the speech squad trickled in to Milpitas High School ready to make Mitty Speech and Debate history. And that, they did. 

The speech competitors got together for a big pep talk before going into their first round!

As Mr. Cruz eloquently put it,  “Teams that dab together, win together.”

As Mr. Cruz eloquently put it,  “Teams that dab together, win together.”

The time soon came for breaks to semifinals! It was definitely a nerve wracking experience for everyone, and we’re very happy for our 51 students who advanced to the next round!

Live reaction seeing our teammates break to semis! So many hugs and so much love!

Live reaction seeing our teammates break to semis! So many hugs and so much love!

Trophies all lined up and ready for awards

Trophies all lined up and ready for awards

After a tough semifinal round, it was time for the most stressful, exhilarating, wonderful awards ceremony of the year. Event by event, semi-finalists were called up to the stage and Mrs. Cruz counted down the alternates, and then the qualifiers as everyone else watched from the audience, rapt with attention.

At the end of the day, the squad finished strong. Mitty had the most  IE State Qualifiers in the Coast Forensic League: 29 students! Absolutely amazing! Congratulations to the following 2016 IE State Qualifiers:

Dramatic Interpretation: Sam Mesfin (also won the tournament), Erica Johnson, and Kai Hynes.
Duo Interpretation: Paige / Max and Lucas / Piper.
Expository Speaking: Seher Randhawa.
Humorous Interpretation: Olivia Monroy, Conor Sherry, Klara Barbarossa, and Rose Bueno.
Impromptu: Amulya Yerrapotu.
International Extemp: Robin Gallaher, Jonathan Pham, and Ismail Shaik.
National Extemp: Charles Pyles and Koji Flynn-Do.
Oratorical Interpretation: Esha Bhatia.
Original Advocacy: Bharathi Arasan and Pranav Govindaraju.
Original Prose and Poetry: Arjun Biju and Pranavi Javangula.
Thematic Interpretation: Amelia Whitney, Colin Anderson, Jocelyn Woods, Niharika Bhat, and Madelyn Davis.

Next: Policy/LD State Quals! The following weekend, the monarchs brought their A game yet again to Santa Clara University ready to capture some more spots at State. After a busy first day, the debaters kicked off Friday night with some good food and good company. What they put IN is what they’ll get OUT on Saturday!

Animal fries for our policy BEASTS!

Animal fries for our policy BEASTS!

S/o to Culture Committee Chairs for helping distribute food to our judges! This activity would not be possible without our student volunteers and judges.  

S/o to Culture Committee Chairs for helping distribute food to our judges! This activity would not be possible without our student volunteers and judges.  

The next day, four of our policy teams and our one LDer made it to the final round. Congratulations to Jahnavi/Dittu, Pranav/Ismail, Rahul/Teja, Amulya/Robbie, and Jonathan Pham! After an incredibly difficult final round, congrats to Pranav and Ismail and Amulya and Robbie for qualifying to State in Policy Debate! 

 

But the fight wasn't over just yet! That Sunday, our last but definitely not least State Quals took place at Leland High School: Congress! With their very last opportunity to qualify to State, our Congress kids went all in! Congratulations to Jahnavi and Jolie for becoming alternates and a special congratulations to Akaash and Siddhant for qualifying to State in Congress!

Our State Quals season may have come to end, but the Monarchs are nowhere near done! With 32 students competing at the State Tournament in just a week, Mitty we are incredibly happy for our team and all our qualifiers, and we can’t wait for the monarchs to BRING IT at State.

National Qualifiers!

Just a couple weeks after our amazing State Qualifying season was over, the MSD Monarchs geared up again for the first National Qualifications tournament of the year. After qualifying 12 students to Nationals last year, would we be able to send even more people to the National Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah, this year?! Let’s find out...

Our Policy and Public Forum debaters kicked off the weekend of competition at Bellarmine College Preparatory, starting Friday, March 18th, after school. On Saturday morning, the speech kids joined the party.
 

Just a casual photo shoot between rounds...

Just a casual photo shoot between rounds...

In debate, congrats to Ismail Shaik/ Pranav Govindaraju and Robbie Gallaher/Amulya Yerrapotu for advancing to the second day in Policy Debate, and a special congratulations to Rahul Devarapalli & Teja Veeramacheni for advancing to the final round in Policy Debate! In Public Forum, congrats to Jahnavi Singh/Aditya Gunda for advancing to the second day in Public Forum and a special congratulations to Koji Flynn-Do/Jolie Leung for advancing to the final round in Public Forum!

On the speech side of things, after the first day, every speech competitor advanced to the semifinal round in at least one of their events! A special congratulations to the students advancing to the final round in their respective events: Samuel Mesfin, Jocelyn Woods, and Paige Decena in DI; Pranavi Javangula, Arjun Biju, and Rose Bueno in HI; Amelia Whitney and Nini Bhat in POI; Amelia Whitney / Olivia Monroy in Duo, Bharathi Arasan & Seher Randhawa in Expos, Pranav Govindaraju in NX, and Robbie Gallaher in IX! 

Everyone went ALL IN on their final rounds, and then came the long-anticipated awards ceremony...

Congratulations to our 11 students who will be competing at the National Tournament in June!

Sophomore qualifiers, Jolie Leung (Public Forum Debate), Olivia Monroy (Duo Interp), and Amelia Whitney, who placed first in Program Oral Interp and qualified in two events! 

Juniors Koji Flynn-Do (Public Forum Debate), Arjun Biju (Humorous Interp), and Seher Randhawa (Informative Speaking) also qualified to the National Championships, with the latter two winning their respective events. 

Lastly, congratulations to our senior qualifiers - Rose Bueno (Humorous Interp), Bharathi Arasan (Informative Speaking), Niharika Bhat (Program Oral Interp), Jocelyn Woods (Dramatic Interp), and Samuel Mesfin, who placed first in Dramatic Interp! 

Special congratulations to Koji and Jolie for being Mitty Speech and Debate's FIRST EVER National Qualifiers in Public Forum! 

Fab Five and Coaches!

Fab Five and Coaches!

Nat Quals squad after an incredibly successful tournament!    

Nat Quals squad after an incredibly successful tournament!

 

After a great first National Qualifications tournament, we had just one more Qualifications tournament to go. Two weekends later came our final Nat Quals of 2016: Congress!

Suits, ties, prep-- check!

Suits, ties, prep-- check!

Mitty slayed the game, taking 3 out of the 4 available spots at the National Qualification Tournament in Congressional Debate! Congrats to Akaash, Ismail, and Pranav for qualifying to Nationals. The Monarchs also won the sweepstakes award in Congress!

Mitty qualified 14 students to the National Tournament so far (not including World's Debate-- keep an eye out for that!), which is a record for the Mitty Speech and Debate Team! 

As our qualifications season has come to an end, we are so proud of everyone for making it such a memorable and exciting experience for our team. We are very grateful for everyone--parents, teammates, and administration, who have been so supportive of us as our team grows to reach new heights! The qualifying season may be over, but State is just around the corner. Who's ready to add another team record to our roster?

State 2016...here we come. This is not when we hide, it's when we ROAR!

Berkeley Invitational

The Mitty Speech and Debate Team spent Valentine's Day weekend doing what they love most: competing! 27 students spent the weekend at UC Berkeley for the highly competitive and prestigious Cal Invitational. We started the week off on Friday with an all day blitz. 

And enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Hong's Cafe.

With a special appearance from Akaa$h-money!

With a special appearance from Akaa$h-money!

The Sophomores, however, stole the show with their adorable group walk. Ladies in Formation!

The Sophomores, however, stole the show with their adorable group walk. Ladies in Formation!

After spending the rest of the day working, the team kicked back with sundaes, Iguanas, and underclassmen speeches.

The boys in room Dabbin' Debaters decided to spilt a massive Burritozilla.

The boys in room Dabbin' Debaters decided to spilt a massive Burritozilla.

Sophomore Jolie Leung explains how this team has shaped her so far in her underclassmen speech.

Sophomore Jolie Leung explains how this team has shaped her so far in her underclassmen speech.

Then, after a good night's sleep, it was time for competition!

....after enjoying some delicious Berkeley food of course.

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Students competing in Congressional debate headed off for their first round, while speech competitors went back to the hotel to change.

Congress heading out to compete!

Congress heading out to compete!

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Then came day two:

Before everyone headed into their 3rd and final prelim round, we decided to spend some time for a photoshoot.

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It's definitely time to introduce you to the rooms of MSD Berkeley— each room had 3-4 students and an awesome name:

The CALifornia Girls: Bharathi Arasan, Cassie Korb, Maddie Whalen, Jahnvi Singh

The CALifornia Girls: Bharathi Arasan, Cassie Korb, Maddie Whalen, Jahnvi Singh

Parli God Squad: Arjun Biju, Pranav Govindaraju, Ismail Shaik, Lucas Kernan

Parli God Squad: Arjun Biju, Pranav Govindaraju, Ismail Shaik, Lucas Kernan

The Holy Trinity: Paige Decena, Margo Salah, Jocelyn Woods

The Holy Trinity: Paige Decena, Margo Salah, Jocelyn Woods

Connect 4 (the only room with 1 person from each of the four class periods): Amulya Yerrapotu, Pranavi Javangula, Seher Randhawa, Jolie Leung

Connect 4 (the only room with 1 person from each of the four class periods): Amulya Yerrapotu, Pranavi Javangula, Seher Randhawa, Jolie Leung

The Dabbin' Debaters: Charlie Pyle, Robbie Gallaher, Dittu Gunda, Sam Mesfin

The Dabbin' Debaters: Charlie Pyle, Robbie Gallaher, Dittu Gunda, Sam Mesfin

The Herbal Witches: Nini Bhat, Liv Monroy, Amelia Whitney, Piper Lewis

The Herbal Witches: Nini Bhat, Liv Monroy, Amelia Whitney, Piper Lewis

The Rogue S-Quad-ron: Siddhant Gannu, Jonathan Pham, Akaash Tawade, Koji Flynn-do

The Rogue S-Quad-ron: Siddhant Gannu, Jonathan Pham, Akaash Tawade, Koji Flynn-do

After a prelim round, it was time for breaks.... or at least the wait for breaks. In other words: dinner and a nap!

s/out to MSD Alum Mihir Chitalia for dropping by to say hello and judge!

s/out to MSD Alum Mihir Chitalia for dropping by to say hello and judge!

A team that competes together naps together.

A team that competes together naps together.

Dinner @ Cancun! ft. a confused looking Mr. Cruz

Dinner @ Cancun! ft. a confused looking Mr. Cruz

We ended up advancing 8/10 competitors in Congress to semifinals (the most of any school) and 13 additional speech entries for a total of 23 breaks. After Octofinals, the team headed back to the hotel and stayed up waiting to find out who advanced to the Quarterfinal round of competition.

Phones in a pile off to the side so no one found out early...

Phones in a pile off to the side so no one found out early...

...Mrs. Cruz slowly listed off breaks, thoroughly messing with our heads in the process.

...Mrs. Cruz slowly listed off breaks, thoroughly messing with our heads in the process.

In the end, everyone who broke to Octofinals advanced to Quarterfinals in at least one of their events! We were all up bright and early the next morning for the next round. The day wore on, and slowly but surely, it came time for breaks to the final round.

But first, we had a team circle to debrief semi-final rounds.

But first, we had a team circle to debrief semi-final rounds.

s/out to Vardhaan and Prahlad for dropping in to support their teammates.

s/out to Vardhaan and Prahlad for dropping in to support their teammates.

And then— Mr. and Mrs. Cruz announced breaks. In the most drawn out way possible, of course. Our reaction? See for yourself:

Before we knew it, final rounds finished up and it was time for awards. Here's the summary:

1 Octofinalists: Robbie in Impromptu

5 Quarterfinalists: Amulya in Impromptu, Robbie in Extemp, Jocelyn in DI, Liv in HI, and Piper in DI

11 Semifinalists: Ismail in Congress, Dittu in Congress, Akaash in Congress, Koji in Congress, Charlie in Congress, Siddhant in Congress, Jolie in Congress, Bharathi in Expos, Amulya in Extemp, Liv and Amelia in Duo, and Lucas in HI

AND 6 Finalists! Congratulations to Pranav for placing 9th in Congress, Seher for placing 5th in Expos, Sam for placing 4th in DI, Nini for placing 3rd in TI, Amelia for placing 2nd in TI, and Lucas and Piper for placing 2nd in Duo! 

Congratulations to everyone for an incredible weekend! 

MLK Invitational

This past weekend the Mitty Speech & Debate team competed at the 25th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational Tournament at James Logan High School in Union City. The Tournament started out after school on Thursday and Friday with five preliminary debate rounds. Then on Saturday, Speech joined the party as well!

That day, we advanced 31 competitors to the quarterfinal round of competition in speech, 6 competitors to the Double Octofinal round of competition in debate, and 16 competitors to the Octofinal round of debate! There were hugs for everyone:

Well, everyone except for Sam....

For inspiration before our final rounds of the day, we decided to take a field trip to the legendary room 408, home of James Logan High School's Speech and Debate program and the place where our coaches first fell in love with the activity.

The highlight, however, was clearly this picture of Mr. Cruz performing his Humorous Interpretation.

The debaters who advanced past their Octofinal rounds— Pranav and Ismail in Public Forum, and Teja and Rahul in Policy— arrived early the next morning accompanied by teammates to cheer them on.

Advancing speech kids trickled in soon after for their Semifinal rounds!

Then came the wait for breaks...

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But the wait was well worth it— we advanced 9 entries to final rounds, including Freshmen Emma Skeet and Connor Sherry! Cue freakout:

Despite advancing to finals in speech, Pranav and Ismail were not pictured above as they were too busy advancing to finals in another event— Public Forum. (Side note: they are also our first ever Public Forum team to win a bid to the Tournament of Champions)

Several hard fought final rounds later, it was time for awards!

First, Scott Wunn, President of the National Speech and Debate Association, helped honor Dr. Tommie Lindsey, the legendary coach of the James Logan program and the man who made all of this possible— not just by running the MLK Invitational, but also by coaching our coaches and inspiring them to go on and try to make a difference in the lives of students as well. Then came awards:

So let's recap:
1st place, Triathlete Award – Pranav Govindaraju
1st place, Public Forum Debate – Govindaraju & Shaik
Semifinalists, Policy Debate – Devarapalli & Veeramacheneni
1st place, Impromptu – Pranav Govindaraju
1st place, International Extemporaneous – Ismail Shaik
1st place, National Extemporaneous – Pranav Govindaraju
1st place, Original Prose & Poetry – Arjun Biju
2nd place, Impromptu – Amulya Yerrapotu
2nd place, Oratorical Interpretation – Emma Skeet
6th place, Oratorical Interpretation – Rhea Esha Bhatia
6th place, Original Prose & Poetry – Cassandra Korb
7th place, Impromptu – Conor Sherry
7th place, National Extemporaneous – Amulya Yerrapotu

Not to mention: 12 Quarterfinalists in Speech (Caitlyn Redfern, Koji Flynn-Do, Robin Gallaher, Akaash Tawade (twice!), Cassandra Korb, Riya Dhoopar, Madelyn Whalen, Aneri Bhatt, Jasmine Ho, Colin Anderson, Jocelyn Woods), 10 Semifinalists in Speech (Lewis & Kernan, Bharathi Arasan, Siddhant Gannu, Jonathan Pham, Rose Bueno, Bharathi Arasan, Pranavi Javangula, Samuel Mesfin, Amelia Whitney), 7 Octofinalist teams in debate (Shree Mukilan Pari, Vivek Thangam, Flynn-Do & Pyle, Gupta & Vobbilisetty, Leung & Pedada, Gallaher & Yerrapotu, Singh & Varma), and 3 Double Octofinalist teams in debate (Ahluwalia & Oliveira, Ambati & Anand, Ghoshal & Syed).

And yes, you did see that right. Pranav took home 4 first place medals.

What did all this add up to? Well, see for yourself:

The Monarchs brought home their first ever 1st place team finish in an overall large school sweepstakes, out of 66 schools! Congratulations everyone for an incredible weekend!

First Semester Recap!

We've had a Wonderful Semester: Let's Review!

 

we've competed in 11 tournaments and In Debate we've had...

2 Double-Octofinalists,

13 Octofinalists,

9 Quarterfinalists,

10 Finalists in Congressional Debate,

9 Top 10 Speaker Awards,

And 25 Tournament Champions!

Novice: Aditi Chatradhi (Public Forum), Sanika Mauskar (Public Forum), Shriya Nandwani (Public Forum), Varun Joshi (Public Forum), Jessica Oliveira (Public Forum), Alexis Toney (Public Forum), Ammar Syed (Public Forum), and Roshni Varma (Public Forum), Anvee Bhutani (Lincoln-Douglas), Ahnay Ramesh (Lincoln-Douglas), Jon Telebrico (Lincoln-Douglas), Renee Radusewicz (Policy), Avani Mylvara (Policy), Aayush Sutaria (Policy), Anish Patel (Policy), Darya Kaviani (Speaker in Policy)

Varsity: Pranav Govindaraju (Parliamentary), Akaash Tawade (Parliamentary), Jonathan Pham (Congressional), Roshni Varma (Public Forum), Rahul Ramakrishnan (Public Forum), Teja Veeramacheneni (Public Forum), Rahul Devarapalli (Public Forum), Vardhaan Ambati (Public Forum), Prahlad Anand (Public Forum)

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In Speech we've had...

44 Semifinalists,

49 finalists,

And 10 Tournament Champions!

Varsity: Bharathi Arasan (Expository Speaking) , Arjun Biju (Humorous Interpretation, Original Prose and Poetry), Pranav Govindaraju (National Extemporaneous Speaking), Margo Salah (Dramatic Interpretation)

Novice: Aastha Khare (Original Oratory), Emma Skeet (Oratorical Interpretation), Aayush Sutaria (International Extemporaneous Speaking), Caitlyn Redfern (Dramatic Interpretation), Eshan Gupta (National Extemporaneous Speaking)

 

And as a Team we’ve had…

1 Welcome Potluck,

 

2 Sweepstakes Awards,

7 Team Blitzes,

 

1 Team Scavenger Hunt,

1 Blitzgiving,

 

And our first ever Alumni Reunion!

Complete with pizza and cupcake making!

Complete with pizza and cupcake making!

 

We'd like to thank everyone who supports our team. None of this would have been possible without the continued support of our teachers, administration and parents who make our program possible. We look forward to another semester of competition, team bonding, and life lessons.

To the Empire!

Top 10 in the Nation

 

Congratulations to our speech and debate team for earning the highest sweepstakes award possible, "school of outstanding distinction." This award is given to the top 10 schools in the nation, out of almost 1000 competing, who accumulated the most combined speech and debate points at the National tournament.

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Welcomed home by friends, teammates, and family.

Welcomed home by friends, teammates, and family.

Congress Finalist

Congratulations Pranav Govindaraju for placing top 30 in the nation! 

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Prelims

Cotton Candy Attire

Cotton Candy Attire

Post round smiles

Post round smiles

Ready for Team Dinner! 

Ready for Team Dinner! 

Cane Rosso

Cane Rosso

Family Portrait

Family Portrait

Find a pizza buddy! 

Find a pizza buddy! 

S'mores pizza

S'mores pizza

Cookie butter / Nutella pizza

Cookie butter / Nutella pizza

1, 5, 12

2 years ago we had 1 National Qualifier, Riya Dange (Congress) 

Last year we had 5 National Qualifiers, Riya Dange (Congress), Niki Griswold (Oratory), Manasi Patwa (National Extemp), Anne Hunt / Will Haubl (Duo) 

Here are your 2015 Mitty National Qualifiers:

 

Varun Suresh (International Extemp)   Barbara Camara (Dramatic Interp)   Riya Dange (Congress)   Amulya Yerrapotu (World Debate)   Sanika Puranik (Dramatic Interp)   Nikita Dandia (Original Oratory)   Anne Hunt (Duo Interp)   Will Haubl (Duo Interp)  Maddie Ballard (Humorous Interp)   Ismail Shaik (Policy Debate)   Pranav Govindaraju (Congress)   Derek Eggleston (Policy Debate) 

Varun Suresh (International Extemp) 

Barbara Camara (Dramatic Interp) 

Riya Dange (Congress) 

Amulya Yerrapotu (World Debate) 

Sanika Puranik (Dramatic Interp) 

Nikita Dandia (Original Oratory) 

Anne Hunt (Duo Interp) 

Will Haubl (Duo Interp)

Maddie Ballard (Humorous Interp) 

Ismail Shaik (Policy Debate) 

Pranav Govindaraju (Congress) 

Derek Eggleston (Policy Debate) 

5th in the State

360 schools entered State Quals and 160 schools qualified to state. The top 20 were announced for overall team sweepstakes. Congratulations to Archbishop Mitty for placing 5th!

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Manasi - 15th in Impromptu

Piper - 14th in Dramatic Interp

Amulya - 11th in National Extemp

Seher - 11th in Expos

Maddie - 11th in Humorous Interp

Pranavi - 10th in Humorous Interp

Sam - 9th in Dramatic Interp

Varun - 8th in International Extemp

Riya / Derek - Octos in Parli

Riya - 7th in Original Advocacy

Barbara - 5th in Dramatic Interp

Mahak - 5th in Original Advocacy

Will/Anne - 4th in Duo interp

Nikita - 3rd in Original Oratory

Adam - 2nd in Congress 

Sanika - 2nd in Thematic Interp

 

Break Party

The students turned in their cell phones last night so they couldn't check the CAHSSA twitter page. Instead, we announced each event as a team, armed and ready with hugs. Congratulations to the following students for advancing: 

Riya and Derek (Parli Round 5)

Adam (Congress Semi Finals) 

The following 14 students advanced to Semi Finals in their individual event - top 18 out of the top 56 in the State:

HI - Pranavi and Maddie

DI - Piper, Sam, and Barbara

Duo - Anne and Will

TI - Sanika

NX - Amulya

IX - Varun

IMP - Manasi

Expos - Seher

OA - Mahak and Riya

OO - Nikita

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Parli Breaks

Riya and Derek are still in, debating now!  

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