TMS Speech and Debate Shares Their Success

The Meadows School campus with green trees and paved sidewalks in Las Vegas, Nevada
TMS Speech and Debate Shares Their Success

While the National Football League is finishing its season this weekend with the Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium, the Meadows Speech and Debate team is moving into the fourth quarter of our season. We have had some wins, some losses, and lots of fun traveling to tournaments all over the West Coast. We have competed at tournaments in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Tempe, and Salt Lake City. Our season has had success at the novice and varsity levels and looks forward to ending it with our own Super Bowl in Indianapolis in April.

In Lincoln Douglas (LD) debate, the team can best be described as “young.” Our novice LD team has had enormous success and looks forward to ending their season at the Nevada Novice championships later in February. Starting at their first tournament at Damien High School, Teighlor Bloyd began our season by making it to the finals of the tournament against The Marlborough School, taking second place. She repeated her feat at the Damus Invitational held at the Harvard Westlake School, reaching the finals again before bowing out to the host school. At the UNLV tournament in February, Teighlor again made it to the finals, but this time defeated her opponent from Loyola High School to take first place! She has been to the finals of tournaments on all three of our topics, demonstrating her versatility.

At The Meadows School invitational, freshman Ethan Cohen advanced to the elimination rounds, defeating Palo Verde HS and the Coral Academy of Sciences to take first place in the tournament. Ethan advanced to the elimination rounds at Desert Pines HS, Palo Verde HS, and the Harvard Westlake School, before advancing to the semifinals of the UNLV tournament! At the Damus Invitational, freshman Angel Sun advanced to the finals where she defeated her opponent from Peninsula Palos Verdes to become the champion! She followed up with a quarterfinals appearance at the UNLV tournament. Leighton Bekhor started the year strong, barely missing the elimination rounds at Damien High School. She improved the next tournament at Canyon Springs HS, going undefeated to reach the quarterfinals. She finished strong at the Arizona State tournament, where she reached the octofinals. Inaya Pirani had an excellent year, reaching the elimination rounds at the Desert Pines tournament and the Palo Verde tournament.

Pepper Jung, Larissa Spinella, and Caroline McGill round out our excellent group of freshmen by reaching the elimination rounds and receiving speaker awards at Canyon Springs, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, and Palo Verde High Schools. Our team began the year debating about a right to housing, then moved on to a resolution prohibiting the extraction of fossil fuels from public lands, and finished by debating about our military presence in West Asia. We will move on to the March-April topic for our state tournament and our district qualifiers, debating about rehabilitation in the criminal justice system.  

In Policy debate, our varsity teams have traveled everywhere from Los Angeles to Dallas. On the national travel circuit, The Meadows competes with over 1000 policy debate teams from around the country. The junior team of Gavin Kung and Michael Galin have made it to elimination rounds at three national tournaments this season, where they have finished in the top 16 twice and once in the top 23. With a summer of preparation, they are poised for an incredibly successful senior year season. Junior Ira Sirulnick has also advanced to the varsity elimination rounds this season, with a top 23 performance at the Peninsula tournament in Los Angeles.  

Junior debater Iris Sim was the recipient of the John Dimitri Character Award. This award is named in honor of a former Notre Dame debater. It is given to a policy debater "who demonstrates kindness and character to their peers in the community." Iris is emblematic of the team culture we strive for at The Meadows, balancing academic rigor and competitive success with a commitment to her surrounding community.

The novice policy class is one of our largest ever, and we've had success throughout the season. Out of twenty-two students competing for TMS in novice policy, fourteen have advanced to elimination rounds and finished in fourth place or higher. At the ASU tournament in January, the ninth grade teams of Humza Ahmed and Ethan Schneiderman, and Dylan Howard and Gabriella Zamudio, closed out finals of the novice division, meaning The Meadows finished first and second. Ninth grader Chloe Kim has had first, second, and third place finishes over the course of the season with partner Dylan Howard. Our tenth grade novice team of Dylan Sher and Lexi Rhee has also advanced to elimination rounds at competitions, including a third place finish at the Notre Dame tournament. Other notable novice performances are Gavin Kung, who has had a third place finish with two different partners, and Gigi Gonya, who was one of the top-rated speakers at the ASU tournament. The novice team of Marly Gitlin and Sarah Mirkia has also had a first place finish this season.

Debate is one of the most exceptional extracurricular activities available to students at The Meadows. It requires sharp critical thinking, speaking, and reading comprehension skills. We compete against some of the best students (and schools) from around the country. For a varsity debater to succeed nationally takes an immense amount of time and energy, with no divisions based on school size or geographic location. We could not be more proud of our students, as they prove each and every weekend that The Meadows School helps produce some of the sharpest academic minds in the country. 

Tim Alderete and Malcolm Gordon
Upper School Debate Faculty

  • Speech and Debate
  • Upper School