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Debate team reaches above and beyond goals for success

The+Wayland+High+School+debate+team+trophy+case+showcases+the+extraordinary+success+they%27ve+acquired+this+year.+The+team+works+extremely+hard+everyday+to+prepare+for+their+tournaments+and+won+many+debates+and+tournaments.+%22It+gives+us+pride+and+satisfaction+because+we+finally+brought+a+team+to+a+point+where+we+can+be+proud+of+what+we%E2%80%99re+doing%2C%22+senior+co-captain+Andy+Wang+said.
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Debate team reaches above and beyond goals for success

The Wayland High School debate team trophy case showcases the extraordinary success they've acquired this year. The team works extremely hard everyday to prepare for their tournaments and won many debates and tournaments.

The Wayland High School debate team trophy case showcases the extraordinary success they've acquired this year. The team works extremely hard everyday to prepare for their tournaments and won many debates and tournaments. "It gives us pride and satisfaction because we finally brought a team to a point where we can be proud of what we’re doing," senior co-captain Andy Wang said.

Credit: Meredith Prince

The Wayland High School debate team trophy case showcases the extraordinary success they've acquired this year. The team works extremely hard everyday to prepare for their tournaments and won many debates and tournaments. "It gives us pride and satisfaction because we finally brought a team to a point where we can be proud of what we’re doing," senior co-captain Andy Wang said.

Credit: Meredith Prince

Credit: Meredith Prince

The Wayland High School debate team trophy case showcases the extraordinary success they've acquired this year. The team works extremely hard everyday to prepare for their tournaments and won many debates and tournaments. "It gives us pride and satisfaction because we finally brought a team to a point where we can be proud of what we’re doing," senior co-captain Andy Wang said.

Meredith Prince

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After several years of countless losses and dissatisfaction, debate team members are finally content with their success. Led by senior captains Andy Wang and Nathan Zhao, the WHS debate team has met new goals and received new medals on a level that the team hasn’t seen in years.

“Our debate team sucked for [my] first three years, and we really started getting better last year because we got new novices who were really committed,” Wang said. “It’s just really nice because I remember when I was a freshman, we’d always go to a tournament just to lose the majority of our rounds. But now [when] we go, we can watch octa-finals and have a Wayland team there.”

The debate team’s success allowed them to reach goals that haven’t been acquirable for many years, such as the collection of a silver bid by Wang and his partner to compete in a national tournament. Alongside this major step, the team excelled in recent local tournaments. Sophomores Aiden Zhang and Atharva Weling placed second out of 106 teams, and sophomores Sam Goldstone and Randy Wang placed fourth at a local tournament at Newton South High School.

“I’m not used to succeeding in everything, so when I finally succeeded at [debate] which I’m passionate about, it felt awesome knowing all my hard work paid off,” Goldstone said. “We didn’t expect to do so well, so when he called our names, the feeling was surreal. There was so much happiness and cheering.”

Goldstone and Zhang contribute greatly to the team’s recent success, placing 25th out of 160 and 24th out of 98 at two different national tournaments. National tournaments are strictly structured and lengthy, beginning with six to seven pre-elimination rounds, and finishing with triple-octa-finals, double-octa-finals, octa-finals, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals. In previous years, the debate team has barely made it past the pre-elimination rounds, but now they’ve represented Wayland in as far as the double-octa-finals.

“We have to write pro and con cases, blocks and practice and research a lot,” Goldstone said. “Debate takes a lot of time and effort, so bringing home medals and trophies is the best feeling in the world.”

Although the team is mostly run by students, history teacher Eva Urban-Hughes oversees the team and provides assistance, being a former high-school debater herself.

“I was a debater for four years when I was in high school, and I really believe in the mission of it,” Urban said. “This is an extraordinary realm that is well suited for people that are not only competitive but also smart and articulate. The skills you gain are extremely important throughout your entire life. I can pretty confidently say that the skills and the confidence that I got from debating in high school are a big part of who I am today.”

Urban recognizes the recent success the team has been through and attributes all of the success to the debaters themselves. She appreciates how much hard work they put in to reach their goals. The tournaments are frequently twelve hours on the weekends, which requires endurance and lots of hard work from the debaters.

Credit: Meredith Prince
Sophomores Atharva Weling, Sam Goldstone, Aiden Zhang, and Randy Wang hold up second and fourth place trophies from the Newton-South local debate tournament. These sophomores have brought a great deal of success to the debate team. “The pride of winning compares to nothing else,” Goldstone said. “I am so grateful to be part of something so great and to achieve our goals.”

“I’m incredibly proud of them and I’m not going to take any credit for the hard work they have put in,” Urban said. “A lot of these debaters, if they want to be extremely successful, will put in five or six hours a week on [it]. The amount of effort and the amount of time they put in to not just debating but preparing to debate is extremely extraordinary.”

While Urban is pleased with the success of the team, she is also very proud of the team’s drive and motivation to succeed. The debaters put in an incredible amount of hard work to reach their goals, despite there being no physical reward besides the trophies.

“What I appreciate about [debate] is that it’s completely self-motivated,” Urban said. “These guys are doing extraordinarily well. For my varsity debaters, there is no extrinsic reward other than being successful in debate.”

Members of the team spend much time outside of school and the club preparing for this season in order to reach the success they dreamt of. Wang believes that being a part of the team allows the debaters to become better thinkers.

“There’s a debate camp over the summer, so for two weeks [I went] to Emerson University and did a bunch of workshops,” Wang said. “A lot of the reason [I joined debate] is to get better at logical and critical thinking as well as argument skills.”

With success also comes challenges, such as the debaters needing funds to travel around the country at many different tournaments. Urban puts a lot of effort into getting the team where they want to be but is also supported by the Wayland Public Schools Foundation.

“There’s a lot of coordination with the community, [and] the school committee and the administration here at the high school [are] extremely supportive,” Urban said. “They have found ways to support us financially through stipends and [are] currently looking at ways that they might be able to help fund us. The Wayland Public Schools Foundation gave me a grant last year or two years ago to kick off the team, and so I’m finding that on the administrative things it’s really chunky.”

In the end, the debater’s success comes mostly from the basics. Working hard at practices, being focused and getting stuff done allowed them to reach goals they never believed they could reach. The intent focus and strict practices are fairly new and seem to be paying off.

“It comes with a lot of work,” Wang said. “It’s really cliché, but I know for the first three years when we all sucked, no one really put in any work. We would add a piece of evidence here and there in a case, but last year we started becoming really strict with everything.”

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About the Contributor
Meredith Prince, Staff Reporter

Meredith Prince, class of 2021, is a first-year staff reporter for WSPN. She plays soccer, basketball and softball for Wayland High School. Outside of...

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Debate team reaches above and beyond goals for success”

  1. Master Debater on February 14th, 2019 11:10 PM

    ALL HAIL YU

  2. Dr. YU on February 15th, 2019 2:08 PM

    I didn’t say chunky.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Debate team reaches above and beyond goals for success