three of the four available spots for the National Tournament in June. The
first of three qualification tournaments occurred in Congressional Debate.
In this event, students debate and attempt to pass legislation. Topics at
this tournament included net neutrality, taxing artificial intelligence,
prison reform, an independent Kurdistan state, replacing abstinence
education in public schools, and reinstating the federal Fiduciary Rule for
the Department of Labor. Students debated for over six hours in front of six
judges who independently ranked the student competitors. The top two
competitors in each chamber of competition qualify for the National
Tournament. The upper chamber of debate, the Senate, involved competitors
from 10 different schools in the Northeast Indiana district.
Creighton Gaff was
able to finish in second place, a position which qualifies him for the NSDA
National Tournament. The top spot was taken by Jason Collins, from
Canterbury High School in Fort Wayne.
senator was Megan Daye, who finished in third place in the chamber. The
lower chamber of debate, the House of Representatives was dominated by
Chesterton. Just like U.S. politics, the number of competitors allowed in
the House depends upon the size of the program. Because CHS is one of the 30
largest programs in the country it is allowed to enter 12 contestants into
this chamber. Also unlike the Senate, the House ‘breaks’ into a final round
after the initial preliminary bills are completed. Chesterton was able to
qualify 10 students to the final round of 16 students. Chesterton took both
qualification spots in the House.
Sid Augustyn was
named the tournament champion with a total ranking of five from the panel of
three judges (the lowest score possible is three). Paul Petro had a total
rank of six and came in second place to earn the second qualification spot.
Also in the House, Zachary Mullins (3rd), Connor Wanutch (4th), and Sanjana
Raj (5th) all placed and received awards.
Emily Krygoske was
named outstanding Presiding Officer of the final round chamber. Also
breaking to the final round of the House were CHS contestants Azeez Lakhani,
Nick Hanson, Finn Babjak, and Shae Hisaw. Also competing from Chesterton in
the House were Branden Wong and Ian Quinn.
This will be the
third consecutive national tournament for seniors Gaff and Petro. Petro’s
qualifications have all come via the House of Representatives. This is
Gaff’s second consecutive time qualifying in the Senate, as a sophomore he
qualified in Domestic Extemporaneous speaking. Augustyn, the youngest of the
bunch, is a sophomore and this is his first time qualifying for the national
tournament. The CHS Congressional Debate team is coached by social studies
teacher Joshua Coots.
The next chance for
the team to qualify more individuals is this weekend as the events of
Policy, Public Forum, and Lincoln-Douglas debate hold their qualifying