4 to debate for U.S. in Korea, Qatar

By Matthew Lee

Four students will represent the United States at international debate tournaments in Korea and Qatar.

Juniors Jake Sonnenberg ’11 and Ben Sprung-Keyser ’11 will be competing in Korea in November as well as competing in Qatar in February.

Miranda Van Iderstine ’13 and Luke Holthouse ’13 will be competing in Qatar in November with the two juniors.

The World Schools Debating Championship will host these tournaments, featuring competitors under the age of 19 from various nations around the world.

Harvard-Westlake is the only school that has four students who will be competing for the U.S. World Schools Debate team. Sonnenberg said that the U.S. international team has performed poorly in past years but hopes that he and Sprung-Keyser can contribute to changing this losing record.

“We’re hoping to do better than debaters on the U.S. team who have competed in the past,” Sonnenberg said.

Hundreds of students around the United States tried out for a spot on the national team.

Sonnenberg and Sprung-Keyser were among the top five debaters. Holthouse and Van Iderstine were selected to the Demonstration team, which consists of younger students.

The two are part of the Demonstration Team, a squad of the U.S. international team consisting of ninth and tenth graders.Holthouse said that he and Van Iderstine tried out for a spot on the U.S. team in June at Claremont-Mc- Kenna College.

“It worked out pretty well,” Holthouse said. “It was nice because the tryouts for the team were during the first week of summer, so I had time to do all the necessary research and preparation.”

The World Schools Debating Championship is held in different countries every year, and all debates take place in English.

Holthouse and Van Iderstine will leave for Qatar Oct. 29 and will stay there for 10 days.

Holthouse said that he expects the competition in Qatar to be a learning experience for him because he has never competed internationally.

“The Qatar debate is going to be a learning experience,” Holthouse said. “We’re going to learn how it feels to compete on the international level.”

These competitions are not affiliated with the school debate team, but Sonnenberg said that all four will all continue to debate with the school team.

John Meany and Kate Schuster, teachers at Claremont-McKenna College, are the directors of the U.S. national team and will work with the students to prepare for the tournaments.