Two CHS Students Qualify for National Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament

By Lily Tewfik and Camilia Saulino

Two seniors from Cleveland qualified for the speech and debate National Invitational this year, and, even though they didn’t win, they were both excited by the opportunity to compete.

Henry Hawking and Quinn Samouilidis are both seniors and partners in speech and debate at Cleveland. Hawking and Samouilidis have been partners for several years, but this is their first time making it into this tournament.

Qualifying for the invitational is fairly simple, according to Samouilidis. Points are awarded for placing at competitions throughout the year, and if a team gets enough points in time, they can qualify for nationals.

“It’s a point based system. Throughout the year there’s this big website that has all of the parliamentary debates that are going on around the nation. Depending on how you do in each tournament gets converted into points. If you have a certain amount of points, you automatically qualify. So, about halfway through the year we had the points that we needed to qualify,” said Samouilidis.

This year, Nationals were held in Ashland, Oregon, which, according to Samouilidis, was a big plus.

“It was nice and local for us. We could just drive down instead of fly somewhere, which is what we’d normally have to do,” said Samouilidis.

According Hawking, he wasn’t expecting to do well at the tournament, but was excited by the opportunity to see debate teams from other states compete.

The pair’s event is specific to Oregon, California and a few states along the east coast, but, according to Hawking, California teams are usually much better than other states in their event.

“California is way more fast paced and way more technical than debate here–it’s more like speaking here. So teams from California were just way better than us, so we didn’t do very well. It was very fun, I think our record was five wins and nine losses, but it was a really fun experience and it was really fun to see. We’ve done fairly well in Oregon, so it was cool to see what really high level looks like,” said Hawking.

Even though Hawking and Samouilidis have enjoyed participating and competing in speech and debate at Cleveland, neither of them has plans to continue with it in college.