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Debate Team prepares for postseason

Although the regular season is over, April, May, and June will be very busy months for the state-champion Greenhills Debate Team.

webdebateSenior Powel Kazanjian and junior Harry Bagenstos, who won the championship at the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association varsity state tournament in January, will compete this spring at each of the three major end-of-season national championships: the Tournament of Champions, the National Catholic Forensic League’s Grand National Tournament, and the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Speech and Debate Tournament.  And several other Greenhills debaters will represent the school at the MIFA Public Forum Invitational on Mackinac Island.

The Tournament of Champions, which will be held at the University of Kentucky from April 29 through May 1, is widely regarded as the most prestigious tournament on the national debate circuit. Teams qualify based on their success at national-level tournaments throughout the year.  Kazanjian and Bagenstos, who reached elimination rounds at tournaments held at Wake Forest University, Middleton (Wisc.) High School, Lexington (Mass.) High School, and Stanford University, are the first team from Michigan ever to be invited to the Tournament of Champions in the Public Forum debate event.

The NCFL Grand National Tournament, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, over Memorial Day Weekend, hosts teams that have been selected to represent local leagues from across the country. This is the third year in a row in which Greenhills is representing the Detroit Catholic Forensic League in the tournament.  Kazanjian and Bagenstos competed at the tournament last year in Sacramento, Calif., and Kazanjian and current Senior Nikhil Chamarthi competed at the tournament two years ago in Orlando, Fla.

The NSDA National Speech and Debate Tournament, often referred to simply as “Nationals,” is the annual championship tournament for the largest nationwide high school speech and debate organization. This year’s tournament will be held in Birmingham, Ala., from June 18 though 23.  This is the third year in a row in which Kazanjian and Bagenstos qualified at the Michigan NSDA District Tournament to attend Nationals. Last year’s tournament was held in Salt Lake City, Utah; two years ago, the tournament was held in Dallas, Texas. Earlier this Spring, the NSDA awarded Bagenstos its Academic All-American honor.

Greenhills will compete for its third straight championship at the Mackinac tournament on May 19-21.  Juniors Nikki Farahanchi and Bella Pryor, who won the tournament last year, are seeking a repeat, and they will be joined by Junior Nina Farahanchi and Freshmen Aarushi Ganguly and Sadie Marinaro.

These tournaments cap off a highly successful year for the Greenhills Debate Team, both locally and nationally. Greenhills competes in the Public Forum event, in which two-person teams debate topics that involve important current controversies. This year’s topics have involved student privacy in schools, United States military spending, the U.S. embargo of Cuba, the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the presidential election process, among others. Debaters learn important research, critical reading, and presentational skills, along with the ability to think and respond on one’s feet.


Saturday, April 24
Open to anyone ages 16 and up. Limited quantities available.
Greenhills is closed for mid-winter break and will return on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

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