In the past few months, LCHS’s Speech and Debate team has made their impression on both the state and national level. On February 27, Cammie Hong (9) fiercely competed against other debaters from the Los Angeles area in the local State Qualifying Tournament to gain a spot at the California High School Speech Association’s State Championship Tournament. She will be debating in Lincoln Douglas against competitors from across the state at the tournament in late April.
Nadia Chung (11) will also be joining Cammie in the state championship tournament. Due to her consistent wins throughout the year, she did not have to compete at the State Qualifying Tournament and thus automatically qualified for the CHSSA State Championship Tournament. Nadia also qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Championship Tournament by competing and earning second place in a district qualifying tournament on the weekend of March 20.
Lincoln Douglas is a form of debate in which competitors face each other one-on-one to argue for the morality of their side. Debaters prepare the pro and con arguments beforehand and go through multiple rounds arguing for both sides of the resolution.
The topic Nadia and Cammie will be debating at the State Championship is Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee universal child care. As Cammie explains, “This is a growing topic of discussion — and many other countries have already adopted a universal child care system. So far I’ve experienced a lot of debate about whether universal child care would help or harm feminism, the economy, and the development of children.”
Both girls are excited to compete, despite the virtual format of the debates. “This year [at states], I really hope I can demonstrate my growth as a debater and enjoy the process. As for nationals, I feel tremendously grateful for the opportunity to represent our district and I’m looking forward to meeting debaters and judges from all across the United States” said Nadia.
Cammie started debating this past year after watching her younger sister debate for some time. “I never thought of competing myself until the summer before freshman year, when I decided to go to the same debate camp my sister was attending. I liked it, and I started entering debate tournaments during the school year,” Cammie described. “It was a little scary when I started competing, but some great debaters like my first PF partners and the upperclassmen at LCHS helped me develop an understanding and love for debate!”
Despite being relatively new to the team, Cammie has been able to shine over the past year. At the Southern California Debate League’s Fall Novice Tournament, Cammie placed second in Lincoln Douglas. She also was a semifinalist at the 35th Annual Stanford Invitational, placing in the top four in Junior Varsity Lincoln-Douglas out of nearly 80 other competitors.
Nadia, a seasoned debater, also has quite an impressive record. Just this year, she placed first in the Southern California Debate League’s Spring Varsity Tournament in Lincoln Douglas. She also argued her way to second place in Lincoln Douglas at the Stanford Invitational and first place in Lincoln Douglas at CSU Fullerton’s Invitational, both of which hosted some of the top debaters in California.
Nadia and Cammie have both passionately expressed their love of debate. “I like the excitement of having to think quickly on the spot!” said Cammie. “There’s also something really rewarding about analyzing issues in depth.” She also acknowledged the nonacademic side of debate, adding “Debate is a great way to meet new people — because tournaments are online this year, I’ve met people from all over the country! I’ve even stayed in contact with one of my ‘opponents’.”
Nadia also detailed “I primarily love debate because I know that it’s challenging me to explore and understand different perspectives, formulate sound arguments, and communicate my ideas in an effective manner. I also appreciate that debating on morality-based resolutions pushes me to investigate issues that are super relevant but that I probably wouldn’t have known much about otherwise. Aside from that, I find debating to be extremely fun and it feels pretty awesome when months of research and preparation end up paying off at a tournament!”
Nadia is the co-president of the Speech and Debate club along with Paul Kang, and she encourages anybody interested in joining the team to try out. She told the Spartan, “[When I first joined,] the coach and presidents at the time convinced me to go [to a tournament] and I’m so glad I went. The whole team is here to support you and help you find an event that you really enjoy!”