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May 27, 2014 > Debate tournament tests studentÕs skill

Debate tournament tests studentÕs skill

Submitted By Bay Area Youth Debate Organization

Elementary students had a chance to put their skills to the test at Bay Area Youth Debate OrganizationÕs (B.A.Y. Debate) first invitational at Mission San Jose Elementary (MSJE) on April 12.

B.A.Y. Debate is a non-profit organization founded by Anand Balaji in January 2012 to provide free debate education to elementary school students in the Bay Area. Balaji first approached Principal Chuck Graves at MSJE in 2012 and ran biweekly classes for 5th and 6th graders with the help of high school volunteers. In 2013, B.A.Y. Debate expanded to include Mission Valley Elementary, Brier Elementary, and Millard Elementary. Weekly classes at each location are taught by teams of four to five high school volunteers. There are close to 20 MSJ students involved in the organization and since 2012, almost 150 students have been educated in the school branches.

April 12 was B.A.Y. Debate's first tournament that invited competitors from its four different locations. The event included four rounds on the topics: "The United States federal government should substantially increase its investment in space exploration," and, "United States military drone strikes in the Middle East have done more good than harm." The tournament had 16 teams from the four different schools, a total of 48 competitors. Sixteen high school volunteers and coaches from Mission San Jose High School helped with the event.

Awards were given to the top three teams based on their win-loss records and speaker points. Speaker points are awarded to each individual debater on a team based on how well they presented during the round. Awards were also given to the 10 individual debaters with the highest collective speaker points.

With three wins and one loss, First Place Team: MSJE Ð Kavin Kumaravel, Anton Lin, Aref Malik; Second Place Team: MSJE Ð Serena Mao, Irene Huang, Anusha Muley; and Third Place Team: Mission Valley Ð Krish Kothari, Arnav Nayadu, Eric Ma.

Anton Lin of MSJE received a gavel for his finish as top speaker, and the nine other top finishers received medals: 2. Kavin Kumaravel (MSJE), 3. Parth Anjaria (MSJE), 4. Pranav Garg (Millard), 5. Srinjoy Chatterjee (MSJE), 6. Serena Mao (MSJE), 7. Monisha Saxena (Mission Valley), 8. Arnav Nayadu (Mission Valley), 9. Anusha Muley (MSJE), and 10. Krish Kothari (Mission Valley).

"Our tournament was a great success. It was wonderful to see all of the hard work our students and coaches put in over the school year come together for this exciting event,Ó said B.A.Y. Debate Founder and President Anand Balaji. ÒThis was the very first competitive experience for our students and they debated excellently and had a great time. The school principals, parents, and other spectators were very impressed by the level of understanding and confidence displayed by our debaters. We look forward to our next event on May 31 and hope it will be even more successful!"

Learn more about B.A.Y. Debate at www.baydebate.org.

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