TMS Debate Student Receives Character Award

The Meadows School campus with green trees and paved sidewalks in Las Vegas, Nevada
TMS Debate Student Receives Character Award

At the Damus Hollywood Invitational debate tournament held on the Notre Dame campus (November 10-12), TMS Junior Iris Sim received the John Dimitri Character Award. This award is named in honor of former Notre Dame debater John Dimitri. It is given to a policy debater "who demonstrates kindness and character to their peers in the community."

I nominated Iris Sim because she is emblematic of the traits that make the TMS community so prestigious. She is empathetic, committed, and level-headed and maintains these qualities regardless of the circumstances. Below is the award description and my nomination statement.

Award Description

The John Dimitri Character Award- Former ND policy debater John Dimitri, known to his debate friends as Jack, was a good friend to all he met in the policy debate community and demonstrated consistent resilience in the face of personal adversity. We continue his legacy by honoring one policy debater each year who demonstrates kindness and character to their peers in the community. The award winner will receive an iPad and will be able to designate a charity to donate to.

Nomination statement

Iris Sim is among the kindest debaters I have ever coached. She is a young woman of integrity, resilience, compassion, and empathy, and she does this despite having a competitive drive that rivals many of her peers.

Too often, the pressure of competition pushes students to see the worst in others, sacrifice their own humility at the expense of their opponents, not take their competitors seriously, and not treat debate with the respect it deserves. Iris has avoided these pitfalls at every step in her development. Whether or not she attends a tournament, she is here to support her team. When young debaters need guidance or experience trepidation over competing, she is there to reassure them. Even this weekend, when her partner had to drop out due to a medical emergency, Iris immediately volunteered to judge for Meadows in the novice division.

When Iris loses, she never trashes her opponents or blames her judge. She uses her off weekends to travel to Florida to spend time with her mother. Just think of that- when she's not spending her weekends flying or taking 7-hour bus rides to tournaments, she flies across the entire country and back. She has never once used this as an excuse for not completing her assignments. She has never once used it as an excuse to not help the team get better.

Iris truly recognizes the twin pillars of a sustainable debate culture: teamwork and community. She respects every one of her peers on the team and understands that everything she does, whether it directly benefits her or not, helps our team reach goals that are higher than the needs of any individual member.

She understands that she cannot participate in the activity she loves so much without her competitors and judges; despite wins and losses, opposing teams, coaches, and judges need each other in order to thrive. That is the definition of community, and Iris is emblematic of that culture. I am proud to nominate her for the John Dimitri Character Award, and every one of her teammates, teachers, and family members is proud of her, too. If I was told that for the rest of my years as a coach, I would always have a debate team filled with individuals with the same character and integrity as Iris, I would consider that a career of remarkable success.

Malcolm Gordon
Upper School Debate Faculty

  • Speech and Debate
  • Upper School