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After a semester of practice and tournaments, four M-A debate team members have earned national rankings in high school debate.

Partners, Mara Cavallaro and Izzie Nada, both juniors rank 92nd in the country, and the pair of senior Jackson Confer and sophomore Christina Ikonomou rank 40th.

The rankings were given by Parli, an organization that ranks high school debaters using the records kept by Tabroom, the organization that facilitates high school debate nationwide.

Nada is especially proud, having just started with debate in the fall semester.

“It’s very satisfying and validating, to have not been doing it for long but having worked hard and developed a passion for it… It’s a good feeling to be recognized for doing well.”

From left to right starting fifth from the left: Izzie Nada, Mara Cavallaro, Jackson Confer, and Christina Ikonomou

Ikonomou, who has several years of experience, shares that sentiment, saying, “I’m very proud of [myself and Confer] for getting this far and it makes me very excited and happy. It shows that hard work can get you a national ranking… it motivates me to climb the rankings and gain those accomplishments.”

Tournaments can be grueling and are often long days filled with lots of research and stress from the competition. For Nada, the rigor only adds to the sense of accomplishment when the team does well.

“The constant mental acuity and verbal acrobatics that are required are exhausting in a way with which physical strain just doesn’t compete.”

However, Nada believes the experience is worth the exhaustion.

“You get to pit your mind and speaking skills against those of other very talented orators in a professional yet competitive setting.”

Debate is an activity that encourages intellectual exploration and discussion, which Ikonomou finds rewarding.

“It’s extremely interesting and eye-opening and gives a way to explore sensitive topics respectively and effectively… I love being forced to look at complex issues and conflicting perspectives.”

Izzie Nada’s medals from debate tournaments

Nada adds, “I really like that everyone on the debate team has such respect for each others’ minds, everyone on the team values ideas and knowledge so much and it’s a really wonderful space for us to learn about important things that might be otherwise completely off our radar.”

Cavallaro, Confer, Ikonomou, and Nada, as well as the rest of the debate team, are looking forward to more tournaments in 2017 and they will undoubtedly continue to distinguish themselves in the future.

The future for debate on M-A’s campus also looks bright. A new debate class will be offered next year, taught by Mr. McBlair. Both Ikonomou and Nada strongly encourage those interested in debate to join the team or take the new class. For Nada, it is hard to hide the excitement of debate as a class.

“I’m really looking forward to the debate class Mr. McBlair is starting next year, and highly recommend it to anyone who has been even the slightest bit intrigued by any discussion of debate so far.”

“Join the class! [Debate is] so fun and stimulating,” Ikonomou concludes.

Click below to hear clips of Nada and Cavallaro during a debate.

 

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