2 students join National Debate Team

Nikta Mansouri

The National Forensics League selected Sara Evall ’15 and Amelia Miller ’15 to compete on the 2014 United States Debate team.

Out of over 120,000 students around the country, nine debaters were selected for the team.

Evall and Miller went to Dallas Feb. 7-9 to meet the rest of the U.S. team, practice rounds and research for their upcoming debate in Slovenia in March.

The team also used the weekend as an opportunity to bond and went bowling together, Miller said.

“We are getting to work with coaches who have established debate programs around the world and are some of the foremost experts in forensics in the country as well, and they are all invaluable resources and have already helped us all improve our skills in the format,” Evall said.

“[The team] is all really talented and smart and great at debate,” Miller said. “It’s fun to get to work with and spend time with people who you’ve known of as being really great, but never actually met. They’re also all very nice people and do other interesting things outside of debate, so that’s fun too.”

Evall and Miller submitted a written application in November along with a video of them debating.

Applicants were narrowed down to 14  contestants and then after an interview over video chat, nine of the most qualified and multitalented students were selected, Evall said.

“Amelia and I have been competing internationally for the U.S. for the past three years, but since there was a big administrative change this year, we basically had to start fresh in our applications so it was a pretty nerve-wracking process,” Evall said.

Evall and Miller will represent Harvard-Westlake at Old Parklands debate during spring break, and the U.S. debate team has several tournaments lined up for the summer in Canada, Overland Park and locations around the globe.

“The end goal is to go to the world championships, which are in Thailand, over the summer, but only five of the nine students will go, so there is no guarantee that we’ll be attending that,” Evall said.