RCMS debate team goes to Finals at championship


Aashka Doshi, eighth grader on the debate team debating at Norwood tournament, 5/13.

It was the final round. The humming of air conditioning rang over still silence. The audience watched in anticipation as Sahana Kumar, an eighth-grader on the RCMS debate team, stepped up to the podium.

“It was really stressful because the whole tournament I had been telling my friend that we weren’t gonna be up there [on stage for the final round,]” Sahana said. “She actually said that if we did, she would kill me. But it was fun, we worked it out.” 

The Rachel Carson debate team advanced to the finals at the Norwood Championship in Maryland on May 13. The results would decide the city champions, so they had been preparing for a long time. They practiced every Monday and Friday, mocking and writing their cases. In the end, RCMS placed second and third for teams, as well as placing second and third for individual speakers.

“We had four cases. It took us about an hour for each case,” Arianna Das said, a seventh-grader on the debate team. “I made refutes and then weighs, just in case. In total I spent about four to five hours on everything,” 

The finalists proceeded to debate for the next 30 minutes, speakers interchanging every once in a while. The judges scribbled quick notes, occasionally looking up at them to analyze their every move.

“I obviously wanted Rachel Carson to win,” Lauren Eldredge, an RCMS debater and member of the audience said. “In the end, I was super surprised that Cooper won because I was sure RCMS was gonna win. Cooper didn’t have a framework— and the judges really care about you having a framework.”

The RCMS debate team, especially the ones who participated in the final round, were both excited and disappointed in the outcome. 

I’m happy. I feel like I could’ve done better, especially in the final round, but I think we did good,” Sahana said. “I don’t think I’m the best speaker from our school but doing that for our final tournament was an achievement.” 

In the end, however, they still learned a lot from debating this year.

“It was fun. I definitely think I could improve on a lot of things but I can see that I will improve next year because of how I’ve changed this year,” Heidi Vineet, a seventh-grader on the debate team said. “I’m really glad I did it because debating is a really good skill to have.” 

Five RCMS speakers placed as individual speakers.

  • Second place, Sahana Kumar
  • Third place, Aashka Doshi
  • Ninth place, Dena Assaf
  • 10th place, Veer Sawhney
  • 11th place, Adithi Kanchinatham

Two RCMS teams placed as groups. 

  • Second place, Sahana Kumar, Dena Assaf
  • Third place, Aashka Doshi, Adithi Kanchinatham, Claire Qi