December 16th brought the arrival of 36 teams from New York and Connecticut in a single open division to Queens’ Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School. After four rounds of debate, the victory went to Horace Mann’s Govind Menon & Paul Wang. The other undefeated team was Thomas Edison’s Mohammed Khan & Jaelan Scott.
In an interview, Menon, who also was the tournament’s top speaker, said that his partnership with Wang was serendipitous. “I got the chance to debate with Paul after his original partner (and backup partner) dropped out…[and] that was a blast.” For his part, Wang said that he was “fortunate to have…[such] a seasoned debater” as a partner.
Former Executive Director of the New York Parliamentary Debate League Rodda John, who returned to judge, thought the tournament was a great success. "All the coaches [at the tournament] seemed to like [it]...and seem willing to move forward,” he said. John will also help run Columbia’s Ivy League Parliamentary Championship in mid-February, which he hopes to make into an annual event for high school parli teams all over the country.
Both members of the winning partnership’s favorite resolution came in the final round, where they argued for instituting mandatory military service. After a tough round against Friends Seminary’s Kiran Singh & Daniel Vebman that invoked the effectiveness of South Korea’s already existing mandatory service, Menon & Wang prevailed. “It was an amazing round of debate,” Menon said. Wang agreed, saying that the matchup was filled with terrific speeches.
The next major tournament on the East Coast circuit will be Columbia University’s Ivy League Parliamentary Championship held from February 10-11.