PEA debaters are getting in the last word this fall

Academy teams earn top marks in both public forum and parliamentary competitions.  

November 15, 2019
Members of Exeter's debate team standing outdoors.

Exeter’s Harkness pedagogy hones a student’s skills for having a healthy discussion, and the Academy’s debaters are proving they are paying attention at the table this fall.

PEA debaters have been dominant at fall tournaments of the New Hampshire Debate League, of which team coach and Exeter Instructor in History Betty Luther-Hillman is president. At the opening tournament at Portsmouth High School, PEA owned the final round, with Shrayes Upadhyayula ’22 and Albert Chu ’21 defeating teammates Aaron Joy ’23 and Max Tan ’21. Last weekend, at Oyster River High School in Durham, two PEA teams repeated the feat: Joy and Hassane Fiteni ’21 defeated Madeline Murray ’22 and Anya Tang ’22 in the final round, and Joy ’23 was named the tournament’s top speaker.

PEA’s participation in the NHDL is part of a new club, the Exeter Forensics Team, that competes through the National Speech and Debate Association (forensics is a combination of speech and debate events). Currently, the club focuses on Public Forum debate, which requires research on both sides of a current-events topic. The club has also competed at a national level. At the Manchester-Essex Tournament in Massachusetts, out of a field of 80 teams from throughout the Northeast, Chu and Kilin Tang ’21 went 6-0 in preliminaries before losing their octo-final round on a tough 2-1 decision. Joy finished in ninth place in a field of 160 debaters.

In Parliamentary debate, in which the topics are impromptu, the Daniel Webster Debate Society has continued its winning streak as well, claiming the top spot at the Andover tournament on Oct. 27 and bringing home many trophies in the novice division. 


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