Grace’s First Debate Tournament: An Unforseen Victory 

Every Wednesday, the six members of the debate team make the daily commute to school one hour earlier to engage in one of Grace’s newer clubs: the debate team. 

The Grace Debate Team had their first tournament at NEST+m on Saturday, November 23rd. This is the second year that the Debate Team has been in effect but last year they did not have enough members to participate in any competitions. Most competing teams had over twenty members, each with their own personalized jackets. Going in with only seven sessions of practice, Grace’s debate team ignored these facts and took on the new environment and daunting challenge head-on. 

Brett Borthwick ‘20 and Anna Hendergen ‘20 lead the debate team under the instruction of Emily Moffa. Moffa debated on the national debate circuit in Minneapolis all four years of high school and has been coaching the Urban Debate League ( UDL) since 2017, where she is the director of the debate club.

With the first round about to begin, emails with room assignments and the side the teams were arguing (pro or con) were sent out to the coaches. With their assignments, Grace’s three teams of two dispersed throughout the building. The topic was whether or not the US should continue to implement the death penalty. After seven laborious hours filled with many nervous glances at ticking stopwatches and frantic searches for evidence, the team reunited and gathered in the auditorium. Grace’s team with Sahil Shah ‘22 and Ava Andrews ‘22 placed 20th, while Anna Hendergen and Brett Borthwick placed 14th out of 48 teams. Hendergen also won 10th out of over 100 speakers. In response to the victory, Anna reflects, “Thinking about where the club was at when Brett and I were Freshmen, it’s really incredible to see all the progress we’ve made. We all worked really hard in the time we had and it definitely showed. I’m really proud of all our hard work.” Overall, it was an unexpectedly successful tournament and the team hopes to continue this streak in the upcoming tournament in early 2020. 


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