Debate team competes in the Princeton Classic: Two Schreiber debate teams lead the school to elimination rounds

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Leah Taylor

Juniors Mari Marisol and Sherry Shi stand outside the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. They are one of the six teams to represent Schreiber at the event.

Zoe Basulto, Staff Writer

From Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, the Schreiber debate team competed at the Princeton Invitational.   This competition is an annual debate tournament at Princeton University.  Around two hundred and fifty teams from around the country, along with some international teams, attended the debate. Each team debated over the controversial issue of whether or not the United States should end Plan Colombia, which is a United States military and diplomatic aid initiative that works toward combating Columbian drug cartels and other rebel groups in Colombian territory.

Over the course of the weekend, each team, consisting of 2 students, participated in around 7 debates.  They debated 2 rounds on Friday, 5 rounds on Saturday, and, if they advanced that far, some teams competed on Sunday as well.  Of Schreiber’s six teams chosen to partake in the Princeton Invitational by debate coach Ms. Renee McClean, two teams, juniors Zach Katz and Julia Ruskin, and juniors Sherry Shi and Mari Mirasol, made it to the elimination rounds on Sunday.  These two teams were also the only teams from Long Island to break, or to have a record of 5 wins and 2 losses.  Shi and Mirasol made it to triples and Katz and Ruskin made it all the way to doubles.

Other teams included sophomores Emma Klein and Leah Taylor, seniors Matt Schwartz and Jordy Greenblatt, and seniors Tristan Duarte and Zach Miller.  These teams all ended the weekend with a record of 4 wins and 3 losses, and sophomores Jessica Mark and Ben Goldstein finished with a record of 3 wins and 4 losses.

“It was a really great learning experience to compete against teams from all around the country and learn different debate strategies from them.  Not only was it a beneficial tournament, but we also had a lot of fun during it,” said Taylor.

Overall, the Princeton debate was one of the best Schreiber has ever performed, and most teams broke their personal winning records.

“The Princeton debate is an amazing experience because you debate students that have new interpretations of the resolution and they can really challenge you,” said Mark.

The debate team has a local debate coming up on Dec. 17 also about Plan Colombia at Syosset High School.  The upcoming debate is a Long Island Forensic Association, or LIFA, tournament, which is only for Long Island schools.

“Being challenged against better competitors at the Princeton debate will help everyone do really well at the next debate,” said Klein.  “I think everyone will significantly improve their performance at the next one because we have had so much exposure to different cases.”

Previously, the debate team has participated in several other LIFA tournaments, including one hosted by Schreiber and one at Half Hollows East High School, and national tournaments this year, one in which was hosted by Yale University.  The topics at these debates, typically complex and controversial, can vary from reasonable suspicion versus probable doubt to the internet of things.  Schreiber will be hosting yet another debate in January.

Towards the end of the school year, the debate team will compete for their chance to attend the New York State Championships at Hofstra University and even attend a National Tournament in Louisville.