The Windward Speech & Debate team gathered up their flowsheets, and packed their pant-suits and thick cozy jackets for a weekend down in Carlsbad, Calif., competing at La Costa Canyon High School's Winter Classic Tournament!
After three days performing their speeches, as well as hurriedly preparing debate cases on topics around social media and mental health, election day as a federal holiday, and state-funding of zoos, everyone ended up with very impressive records all around.
In their very first tournament Beth Davids '25 and Kennedy Richards '25 had an average rank of 3rd in their many rounds, performing in "Duo Interpretation", a performative speech category that asks competitors to adapt a novel or play script into a two-person speech. The trick is that neither speaker can look at, or touch, one another, so it makes for an interesting challenge in the performance. We are super proud of Beth and Kennedy's finish as they persevered against some of the toughest competition on the West Coast.
In Parliamentary Debate, Jackson Walter '24 and Teddy Sipkins '25 fell just short of breaking into the semifinals. Together, they gave some of the strongest speeches seen in-round. Jackson surprised with wit and clever turns of phrase that he seemed to be able to come up with on a dime in-round, and even the most cold-hearted judges were seen chuckling in round. Teddy gave one of the strongest rebuttal speeches of his career. As Debate Coach Will Vincent put it, "As a coach, I got chills! They both should be very proud. I can't wait to see how they grow together as a team."
In her very first tournament, Zoë Katz '26 made it all the way to semifinals with her original informative speech on "The Crazy Cat Lady" stereotype, tracing its troubling history from its misogynistic roots in the gods Egypt and "witches" of England to the dismissals of women in the pop culture of our modern era. Did you know that part of the reason why the Black Plague spread was because people were killing cats? Zoë's preliminary placements had her in fourth place going into the semifinals round, which is incredibly impressive for her first major tournament and as only a freshman to boot!
Finally, Meiyi Wang '23 perfected a dramatic interpretation of the best-selling memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died. Shifting between Jennette McCurdy as a struggling Nickelodeon child-star and her overbearing mother, she transported judges into the darker side of Hollywood. "I had the fortune of watching her in the semifinals and the performance is both hilarious and harrowing," said Will. "Namely, a scene where Meiyi performs the wheezing of McCurdy's mother on her deathbed as she deftly shifted between enacting both mother and daughter." Meiyi came just short of making it to finals and ended up 8th overall in a pool of 60+ competitors.
It was the first major tournament of the year—we can't wait to see how our amazing debaters continue to grow as they head into future tournaments!