Article by Soumyadip Nandi

(From left to right) Ji Seung Park, Shion Inoue, Timothy Chon

The St. Mary’s High School Debate team placed second at the annual Kanto Plains competition held at ASIJ on February 3rd. Many teams and schools participated in the debate season, but only four teams participated in the final tournament. Amongst ASIJ, Seisen, St.Mary’s, and CAJ, St. Mary’s came in second. Although St. Mary’s did not win, the varsity team won four awards in total including one all star award,  and the JV team won one award.

The St. Mary’s debate season started on November 21st and ended on February 3rd. The team consisted of both a varsity and a JV team. The JV debate team had no cuts and everyone was welcome to join, but among these six JV teams, only three of them could compete for awards in the JV  tournament. In order to decide those top three teams, Mr. Stovall judged intrasquad debates which determined which teams would rank among the top three. The varsity debate team is limited to only three teams, and tryouts are required. The 2016-2017 team roster for the Varsity team is listed below:


Team A Team B Team C
Max Printz Tumul Kumar Timothy Chon
Leon Inoue Luka Sandoval Shion Inoue
Dylan Thinnes Tae Jun Seo Ryan Shimizu


The season included a mock debate, four debate meets between schools, and finally the tournaments. The season started off with a mock debate between the Seisen and St. Mary’s varsity teams whose main purpose was to train judges and help new debaters understand how debate works. The members intentionally made explicit mistakes which were later pointed out by the judges once each debater finished his or her own speech. This method of intentionally making mistakes in order to show the debating rules was done for the first time this season. In this way, both judges and debaters easily understood the concepts, rules and the criteria and methods necessary for determining points given for  each speech.

(From left to right) Aditya Varma, Ray Kiyoshima, Maximillian Printz

This year Ms. Gordon coached the varsity team, and Mr. Stovall coached the JV team. Ms. Gordon felt that this season was a successful one and that the varsity team did extremely well regardless of some unexpected problems arising. For example: Less than twenty four hours before the Varsity Kanto Plains tournament, Ryan Shimizu came down with the flu. Luckily, Ji Seung Park from JV was able to fill the spot, and St. Mary’s wasn’t  required to forfeit. Ms. Gordon said that Ji Seung did a great job, but that the team also really did miss Ryan.

Ms. Gordon felt that this year’s varsity team was very strong, as collectively they won three speaker awards as well as an  all-star award. She was happy that team members were flexible and able to step out of their comfort zones to take on different speaker roles and also change those positions when a debater fell sick right before the tournament. Other than these difficulties, she did feel that more time could have been spent working on the new members’ speeches. When asked about her thoughts on next year’s debate season, she said:

I look forward to next year’s debate season even though we will lose two seniors, Tumul and Dylan. We will miss them, but there are several possibilities from this year’s JV team of members moving up to Varsity next year. So unlike some prior years, there will be heavy competition for those two empty spots on varsity.

We at the Diplomat are confident that the team under the coaching of Ms.Gordon and Mr.Stovall will surely be in the thick of the fight to be champions next year.