NHS Debate Team: Forensics is Our Sport

Simrun Sharma, Original Oratory; Elva Diaz, World Schools Debate; Eshaan Sharma, International Extemporaneous Debate

NHS Debate team students qualified and competed at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas, June 16 – 21. June Simrun Sharma, senior, competed in Original Oratory and placed as an Octafinalist and four-year national qualifier; Eshaan Sharma , a junior, qualified and competed in International Extemporaneous Debate, and Elva Diaz, a senior, qualified and competed in World Schools Debate.

The Florida Sunshine District that extends from Tampa to Pensacola had two World Schools Teams: White and Red. Team Red also broke to Octafinals, and two of the members from Pineview HS, Sarasota, FL, were top 14 speakers in World. Worlds School Debate Teams were coached by Pauline Buis of Niceville High School and Steven Birnholz of Newsome High School.

Forensics is the Art of Rhetoric—Not CSI, the other Forensics

Original Oratory is a persuasive speech of a topic of importance and composed, ten-minutes long, memorized and delivered by Simrun Sharma. One must be a newshound in both domestic and international affairs in order to compete in International Extemporaneous Debate; Eshaan Sharma is given a choice of three topic questions where he selects one and has 30 minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech using no notes and must cite sources to establish credibility and solve a world problem.

World Schools Debate is given a different topic for each round; some were announced early in June and the rest were announced “impromptu” just one-hour before the round where a team of three debates teams from around the world to include China, Japan, Australia, the UK, Singapore, and teams from all over the US. Teams are only allowed to utilize a dictionary and World Almanac to prepare, so students have to be up on world affairs.

Niceville High School has competed at Nationals for 14 years. “It is quite an accomplishment for our team as we are the only high school in Okaloosa County School District with a high school team and competes to qualify against teams where speech and debate are a curriculum requirement from middle school up,” stated Pauline Buis, Niceville High School Coach, Florida Forensics League Panhandle Regional Director and National Sunshine District Leadership.

NHS Varsity Debate has started middle school debate clubs at Ruckel Middle School and STEMM Academy. If interested in starting a high school or middle school team, contact Pauline Buis.

Pictured above: Simrun Sharma, Original Oratory; Elva Diaz, World Schools Debate; Eshaan Sharma, International Extemporaneous Debate

Pictured below: Simrun Sharma, Octafinalist and Four-year National Qualifier

Simrun Sharma, Octafinalist and Four-year National Qualifier