The Needham Speech and Debate Team won several accolades January 13-14 at Lexington and from January 19-21 at Columbia University.
In Lextinton, in varsity Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate, sophomore Zachary Lu finished in the top twenty, dropping to Lake Highland of Florida, while in novice LD, ninth grader Sasha Reiser reached quarters, being defeated in a 2-1 decision to Ridge of New Jersey. Strong performances were turned in by varsity LD debaters Sam Cogen in his debut and sophomore John Lively. In novice LD debate, sophomores Josh Fleckner, Andrew Li, Terrence McFarland and Eric Xu, and freshman Mira Echambadi competed in excellent fashion. In public forum debate, the team of junior Nina Yee and sophomore Kelsey Rondini also excelled.
Judges for Needham included juniors Chidinma Nwodo, Raymond Shen, and Aisha Tipnis, and parents Scott Lively, Craig Newfield, and Yan Yuan.
At the New England Congressional National Qualifier, senior Jackson Segal was fourth in the senate division. Junior Maddie Mollerus and sophomore Matt Pelljovich served as presiding officers. Senior Conor Hynes and junior Talia Newfield were also highly successful.
At the Columbia University Invitational from January 19-21, teams from nearly eighty schools and as far away as California and Arizona took part.
Sophomore Annie Stein was fourth in declamation while partnering with teammate, junior Shayan Raza, to reach the top ten in duo interpretation. Sophomore Zachary Lu in Lincoln- Douglas debate and senior Jackson Segal also reached the top ten, while Raza was in the top fifteen in original oratory. Lu was also fifth place speaker overall. Senior Sarah Sylvan, junior Maya Osman and sophomore Hannah Warn performed strongly in dramatic peformance, while sophomore Simone Hernandez and ninth grader Sasha Rieser did so in declamation. Sylvan also doubled-entered in original oratory while Osman did so in oral interpretation and Hernandez and Warn did so in duo. In debate, Lincoln-Douglas debater sophomore Jack Warn and the public forum team of sophomores Will Conway and Kelsey Rondini performed well.
Parents John Sylvan and Yan Yuan and aunt Jen Smith judged up a storm for the Rockets.