8 debaters to compete internationally

By Jack Goldfisher

Eight students will compete at international debate tournaments in Chile, Turkey and the Czech Republic over the summer.

Michelle Choi ’12, Tommy Choi ’14, Zoe Dutton ’15, Sara Evall ’15, Luke Holthouse ’13, Timothy Song ’15, Miranda Van Iderstine ’13 and Elle Wilson ’13 will each attend one of the World Schools Debate Championships and compete against representatives from almost 50 countries.

The students are part of The Debate Union, a national debate organization based at Claremont McKenna College. The organization, the official international representative of Team USA debate, is not affiliated with Harvard-Westlake, but many debaters choose to participate on the international level through the organization.

Teams are comprised of three members with each giving an eight-minute speech, and one speaker from each team closing the debate with a four-minute speech.

The first tournament will be the Eurasian Schools Championship in June in Turkey, followed by the Pan American Tournament in July in Chile and finally the Heart of Europe Championship in Olomouc, Czech Republic in August.

Wilson, who will be attending the Heart of Europe Tournament with Holthouse, Dutton and Song, said Team USA constantly changes the members of its teams based on scheduling conflicts and the team’s goals.

Wilson and Michelle Choi attended a World Schools tournament in South Africa in mid January, and although they placed 38th, they “got a lot of really good practice and a lot of really good experience,” Wilson said. Michelle Choi will compete at the Eurasian Schools tournament with her brother Tommy, Van Iderstine and Evall.

“A lot of the teams are from Middle Eastern countries, so it’s cool to talk to them about international issues,” she said. “Young people often don’t agree with their governments’ decisions, and these tournaments are a great way to understand that.”