September 17 marked the resolution of the Yale Invitational, considered one of the premier fall tournaments for high school speech and debate. 

St. Luke’s pair of Bilal Memon & Chloe Kekedjian triumphed in a 3-0 decision over Jennifer Huang & Jerry Yang of Ridge on the resolution “THBT the legal system should favor reasonable solutions over strict adherence to the law.” 

Left to right: Bilal Memon, Chloe Kekedjian, Jennifer Huang, and Jerry Yang pose before finals. 

Left to right: Bilal Memon, Chloe Kekedjian, Jennifer Huang, and Jerry Yang pose before finals. 

Although Connecticut has traditionally fielded strong teams at the Yale Invitational, St. Luke’s victory marked the first time a Connecticut team has taken the top team honors since 2014. Westfield’s Benjamin Mione & Maxwell Shulman broke to outrounds for the third year in a row, eventually falling in quarterfinals.

Top speaker honors went to Massyl Mallem of Housatonic Valley with his partner Jared Taylor taking the third place trophy. Benjamin Mione earned a second place finish to close out an impressive three year run of success, while Danny Vesurai of Los Altos and Radhika Mehta of Horace Mann rounded out the top five. 

With eighty teams competing in this year’s tournament, participation dropped slightly from last year. But with more teams from around the country, including parli powerhouse Ashland High School (Oregon), making the trip, the unique blend of styles that the Yale Invitational is known for was on full display. Notably absent from rounds was the use of kritiks and other advanced tech. 

“I prefer parliamentary debate to [the style of debate competed in the Connecticut Debate Association],” Memon said. “Parli emphasizes quick thinking and strong logical skills rather than reciting data points off a packet. It’s quicker and more convenient.” 

With the Connecticut Debate Association mulling a transition to parliamentary debate, the success of CDA teams at the Yale Invitational is a strong sign that the league is ready for the change. 

Our East Coast correspondent is Paul Kim, who debates for Ridgefield High School.