Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Matter of Some Debate

The Hill School Debate Team, from left, Shaun Ho, class of 2016; Ali Syed, Class of 2016; 

Gillian Wenhold, class of 2014; Erik Schmidt, class of 2014 and Nguyen Nguyen, class of 2015.

Blogger's Note: The following was posted, with permission, from an item on The Hill School web site.

For the past three years, Collegeville resident Gillian Wenhold, Class of 2014  has been leading The Hill School’s Debate Team as a top competitor in the Lincoln Douglas style debate.

On Feb. 19, she celebrated the end of a successful regular season in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Debate League with a win in the final round of Lincoln Douglas debate for the second year in a row. 

Gillian went undefeated in the regular season and was first seed going into elimination rounds where she defeated five straight opponents to take home the championship!

The following evening (Feb. 20), Gillian qualified for the Pennsylvania State Debate Tournament for the second year in a row at the District 15 State qualifying tournament at Harriton High School. 

Gillian is the only member of Hill’s Debate Team to qualify for the state tournament, which will be held on March 28 and 29 at Susquehanna University.

Earlier this year, Gillian took third place at the Martin Luther King Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament at EL Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 

This was Hill’s first time participating in this event.

“Gillian’s dedication to the activity is unsurpassed,” notes Josh Schmidt, Ph.D., Hill instructor of physics and adviser to the Debate Team. “She is constantly researching and understanding positions she might face on a particular topic and devotes a great deal of time to getting better beyond just practice and tournaments.”

“A particular strength of Gillian’s is understanding her audience and how it changes from debate to debate,” adds Schmidt. “It is not easy to go undefeated in debate as every judge is different and likes to hear different things. Gillian understands that and adapts well to her audience. The team will greatly miss her next year.”

The Hill’s Debate Team has had a successful year all around. Max Holmes '16 (New Hope, Pa.) was the first alternate in Hill’s district during the Feb. 20 District 15 State Qualifying Tournament. At the Feb. 19 Southeastern PA Debate League final, Erik Schmidt '14 (Chester Springs, Pa.) and Nguyen Nguyen '15 (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) placed second in policy debate, and Shaun Ho '16 (Taipa, Macau) and Ali Syed '16 (Wyomissing, Pa.) placed in the top four by making it to the semi-final round.

“This is an extremely strong result for such a young team and sets up high expectations for next year,” notes Schmidt.

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