Schaumburg High School Debate Team Wins IHSA State Debate Championship

The SHS Debate team: Joey Erpito (jr.), Giselle Soares (fr.), Luke Kim (jr.), Angela Lii (sr.), Sandy Saikumar (so.), Srini Cherukuri (sr.), Karolina Skarzynska (sr.), Raphael Portillo (fr.), Binti Kohli (fr.), Sanjana Ade (fr.).

The SHS Debate team: Joey Erpito (jr.), Giselle Soares (fr.), Luke Kim (jr.), Angela Lii (sr.), Sandy Saikumar (so.), Srini Cherukuri (sr.), Karolina Skarzynska (sr.), Raphael Portillo (fr.), Binti Kohli (fr.), Sanjana Ade (fr.).

Schaumburg High School Debate Team students are celebrating a successful season and earning another state championship title.

The 2016 IHSA Debate State Congressional champions defended their state title and competed against over 150 competitors from 20 different schools at the beginning of the tournament. After an elimination break, the competition was narrowed to 66 competitors. Only 16 students advanced to the final round and Schaumburg students were three of those finalists.

Last year, Schaumburg set a record as the only high school in Illinois to win the IHSA Debate State Championship in the three divisions of Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, and Congressional Debate.

Schaumburg started with 10 qualifiers in Congressional Debate including freshmen Raphael Portillo (semifinalist), Sanjana Ade, Binti Kohli, and Giselle Soares, sophomore Sandy Saikumar, juniors Luke Kim (semifinalist), Joseph Erpito, and seniors Srini Cherukuri, Karolina Skarzynska, and Angela Lii.

Senior Srini Cherukuri holds the first place trophy up outside of Schaumburg High School.

Senior Srini Cherukuri holds the first place trophy up outside of Schaumburg High School.

In finals, the lowest score wins. Srini Cherukuri (senior) earned a near-perfect score of a 6 in finals, which raised him to first place in argumentation and clinched the State Championship for Schaumburg. Senior Karolina Skarzynska won first place for Speaking based on raw speech scores and sophomore Sandy Saikumar earned third place. Due to her scores leading up to finals, Skarzynska won the title of Captain of the IHSA All-State Debate Team for Congressional Debate. She was also recently voted to represent Northern Illinois over every Speech and Debate student in the area for the National Speech and Debate Association as Student of the Year for her leadership and teamwork.

In addition to all of their success in Congressional Debate, the team also had elimination and speaking medalists for Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum Debate in sophomores Jake Kaminski and Bhavi Vashi, juniors Hannah Hyman, Kshitij Vashi, and Sarah Liu, and seniors Craig Soares and Cole Miller. Sarah Liu had the honor of winning Captain of the All-State Debate Team for Lincoln-Douglas Debate giving Schaumburg two of the four possible Captain titles for IHSA Debate.

The team is coached by Darrell Robin with the assistance of Schaumburg High School SPED Department’s Caitlin Johnson; Stefanie Pierropoulos of the Schaumburg High School ESL Department; Mick Sellergren, Attorney-at-Law and former Barrington High School student of Robin from when he used to teach there; Schaumburg High School alumnae and former debaters and captains Elisa Galvan (’11) and Safia Kazi (’10); and Assistant Debate Coach Carl Schwartz of the Schaumburg High School SPED Department.

The team will be recognized by the Board of Education at a future meeting.




Schaumburg High School Debate Team Wins IHSA State Debate Championship

Melissa Tran, who took first in Debate for the Team trophy, and Nathanial Leonhardt, who took 2nd in Lincoln-Douglas (Debate), pose with the team's trophies after earning first place in state.

Melissa Tran, who took first in Debate for the Team trophy, and Nathanial Leonhardt, who took 2nd in Lincoln-Douglas (Debate), pose with the team’s trophies after earning first place in state.

Schaumburg High School Debate Team students are celebrating a successful season and earning the title of state champions.

The 2015 IHSA Debate State Congressional Championship team competed against over 200 competitors from more than 25 schools at the beginning of the tournament. After an elimination break, the competition was narrowed to 63 competitors. Only 16 students advanced to the final round and Schaumburg students were five of those finalists. The team will be recognized for its accomplishments by the Board of Education at its April 9 meeting.

The team consists of seniors Melissa Tran, Kimberly Jimenez, Kruti Merchant, Shraddha Patel, Rebecca Lii, Valeria Gololobova, juniors Srini Cherukuri, Karolina Skarzynska, and sophomores Kshitij Vashi, and Sarah Liu.

This is the third time in four years that SHS has won the IHSA State Debate Championship. The team placed 2nd the year they did not earn the state title. Darrell Robin, head debate coach and English teacher at SHS, said a common strength throughout the years has been four-year debaters on the team.

Representing the team in the final round of the congressional debate was Debate Team Captain Melissa Tran. She argued whether or not there should be a resolution that allows the country to negotiate ransom amounts on kidnapped citizens.

“I always knew Melissa could do it; she finally believed it also,” Robin said. “These seniors are humble introverts who used Debate as a mechanism to help find their voice. It was for this reason that Melissa and many of her teammates joined the team four years ago.”

In Debate society, there are three divisions in which Schaumburg competes: Congressional, Lincoln-Douglas, and Public Forum. Schaumburg won 2nd Place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate (Philosophical Debate) this year with seniors Nathaniel Leonhardt, Ameel Sheth, Sarah Bier, and sophomore Hannah Hyman. The team also reached the semifinal berth in Public Forum Debate with the help of juniors Craig Soares, Cole Miller, Jessica D’Souza, Raza Haque, senior Zohra Tabassum, and sophomore Adrian Chendra. Raza Haque, who helped the team win State last year, was also named the Captain of the All-State Debate Team for Public Forum.

The record that was set this year is that Schaumburg High School is the only high school in Illinois that has ever won the IHSA Debate State Championship in the three divisions of Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, and Congressional Debate.

The debate team coaches also include Carl Schwartz, associate debate coach and Schaumburg High School special education teacher, former students Brook Leonhardt (’13), Elisa Galvan (’11), Safia Kazi (’10) and Sam Haque (’09). Mike Sellergren, a former Barrington High School student who was coached by Robin, Mike Knitter, freshmen supervisor, and Nancy Israel, Dundee-Crown English teacher, also coach twice a week.




Schaumburg High School Debate Team Earns State Championship Title

Schaumburg High School state debate students pose with their state trophies and medals. (Left) Sophomores Jessica D’Souza and Raza Haque (and right) junior Nathaniel Leonhardt.

Schaumburg High School state debate students pose with their state trophies and medals. (Left) Sophomores Jessica D’Souza and Raza Haque (and right) junior Nathaniel Leonhardt.

The Schaumburg High School Debate Team has captured the Illinois High School Association State Debate Title for the second time in the club’s history. The whole team had great success while they competed in the IHSA Annual State Debate Tournament at the end of March at the University of Illinois – Springfield.

Sophomores Jessica D’Souza and Raza Haque led the team to seize the state championship in Public Forum Debate (also known as Current Event Debate or Crossfire Debate). The topic for this debate was “Resolved: Single-gender classrooms would improve the quality of education in American public schools.”  All competitors prepared for both sides of the argument, which meant they must debate both sides (pro and con) of the topic.

In Lincoln-Douglas Debate (or Philosophical Value Debate), junior Nathaniel Leonhardt won second place in the entire state after making it to semi-finals with an undefeated record – winning 18 debate ballots in a row, each debate lasting 45 minutes, over a 48 hour time period.  His speaking record was also the highest in the entire tournament, and he missed only 10.5 points out of a possible 300 points for a total of 289.5. Nathaniel was also named Captain of the All-State Debate Team.

Additionally, junior Melissa Tran authored the Congressional topic that was chosen as the 2014 IHSA State Debate Best Legislation – this medal marks the first time in history this award has been given.

Schaumburg advanced 15 out of 22 students into the elimination rounds after all preliminary debates ended.  Teams who qualify for the elimination rounds must have high records (winning the argument in the debate) and high speaker points (how they deliver their arguments).  Many teams could be tied in regard to their record, so the students with higher speaker points advance into the elimination rounds.

imageStudents with the highest speaker points earned a spot on the All-State Debate Team. Senior Meagan-Faye Allen won 10th Place; senior Brendan Du won 9th Place; senior Healy Gier won 8th Place; sophomore Jessica D’Souza won 5th Place; and, junior Nathaniel Leonhardt won 1st Place.  Schaumburg High School emerged as the victor in the entire tournament by having team members remaining after eliminating everyone else through octas, quarters, semis, and the final round.

In addition to the All-State Debate Team members, the following students broke into the elimination rounds:  Senior Jacob Hacm , junior Sarah Bier, junior Kimberly Jimenez, junior Shraddha Patel, junior Melissa Tran, junior Ameel Sheth, sophomore Srini Cherukuri, freshman Megan Schneidau, and freshman Kshitij Vashi.

The Schaumburg Debate Team is directed by Darrell Robin (Schaumburg HS English Teacher).  He started coaching this team nine years ago with only five students.  Since then, the team has swelled to over 80 debaters, and many students now enroll to take electives in Speech and argumentation.  The coaching staff also includes Carl Schwartz (a former State Champion from Elk Grove HS and member of the Schaumburg HS Special Education Department), Elisa Galvan (a former Schaumburg HS Student and Debater – and a two-time National Debate Champion at the college level), Mick Sellergren, Esq. (former Barrington HS Student and Debater – and Attorney-at-Law), and Nancy Israel (Dundee-Crown HS English Teacher).

 




SHS Debate Team Takes State

The SHS Debate Team

The SHS Debate Team won the state competition. Since debate became a sport in the 1930s, District 211 has only held this title once before when FHS won in 2005.

When arguing points about pressing issues, such as politics or foreign policy, it’s not often students imagine creating history at their school. But that’s exactly what students at Schaumburg High School did as they debated their way to victory.

The SHS Debate Team captured the Illinois High School Association State Debate Title during competition at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill., on March 16 and 17. Senior Kali Froh, a varsity four-year debater, led the charge into the final round to help claim the championship in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

“This was for the students to validate every ounce of hard work,” said Darrel Robin, debate team sponsor and English teacher. “For the school, this brings academic distinction because it’s a scholastic achievement.”

The Saxons used knowledge of philosophy, rhetoric, and political science to advance three debaters into elimination rounds after five preliminary debates. One SHS student remained after all other competitors were eliminated during quarters, semis, and the final debate, which led the team to success.

To qualify for elimination rounds, teams must have high records — winning the argument in the debate — and high speaker points, which is how they deliver their arguments. If there is a tie, students with higher speaker points advance to the next round.

Additionally, competitors are required to prepare for both sides of an argument, which means that they must debate both affirmative and negative aspects of the issue.

To earn a spot on the All-State Debate Team, students must have the highest speaker points. Although a team may win the tournament, it does not guarantee students will make the team. However, the Saxons did qualify for this distinction. This year, Froh was named captain of the All-State Debate Team and won first place. Senior Palak Patel, a varsity four-year debater, took seventh place, and senior Aru Singh, also a varsity four-year debater, finished fourth.

Debate has been an IHSA sport since the 1930s, and this is the second time a District 211 school has won the title, after Fremd High School was crowned state champions in 2005.

Robin, who started coaching the Saxons seven years ago when the team only consisted of five students, has watched his squad grow to more than 60 debaters. The coaching staff also includes Carl Schwartz, a former State Champion from Elk Grove High School, Art Teacher Colleen Singer, English Teacher Kate Ksiazek, and Sam Haque, a former Schaumburg High School student and debater.

“Think about the quality of our students, not just their dedication, hard work, or intellect, but that they find debate valuable and think that current events and politics matter for the world,” Robin said, “because they do matter, and that students believe they matter speaks volumes.”

Schaumburg High School will have the opportunity to represent its community and Illinois at the 2012 National Forensic League Debate Tournament this June in Indianapolis, Ind.

Palak Patel

Senior Palak Patel, a varsity four-year debater, took seventh place.

Kali Froh

Senior Kali Froh, a varsity four-year debater, earned a spot on the All Star Debate Team and won first place.

Aru Singh

Senior Aru Singh, a varsity four-year debater, finished fourth.