Junior receives first place in competition at National Speech and Debate Tournament – The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle
Alex Lee ’24 won the National Debating Championship and a Speaker’s Award at the National Speech and Debating Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky on June 18. Lee’s team won the World Schools Debate division, a three-on-three style of debate used internationally.
Lee said the debate has always been personally important to him because he found a sense of community as an immigrant.
“When I first immigrated with my mother to America, the debating community was my second and in some ways my first home,” Lee said. “He took me under his wing and the people I met in this business became my closest friends, personal role models, father figures and family. Sure, I love debate for its educational nature, the intellectual vitality it fosters, and the strategically competitive argumentation, but when it comes to my passion for debate, it stems from that background.
Sarina Wang, a debate teacher and speech coach, said Lee’s efforts to hone his debating skills helped him qualify and win national championships.
“Speaking and debating is an activity that rewards hard work, and I’ve seen it with [Lee]”Before the national championships, he constantly practiced with his team and tried to improve. It was extremely impressive to see his final in an auditorium filled with hundreds of spectators. He is even difficult to qualify for national championships, let alone beat hundreds of the best debaters in the country to be national champion. It is not surprising that [Lee] did so well thanks to all the hard work he put into the team.
Luke Madden ’24, one of Lee’s teammates, said he was proud of Lee’s accomplishment and believes the effort Lee puts into the debate is reflected in his competitive success.
“I am extremely happy to [Lee’s] victory at the Nationals and I’m proud of how he represented [the school]”, Madden said. “His hard work and dedication clearly shows through men its excellent teamwork, argumental capacity and knowledge of philosophy, geopolitics, history and world schools style of debate. i know how muchThe effort he put in with his team to achieve this victory and I can’t wait to see what the debate season will look like in the months to come.
1,500 schools participated in the tournament, which began June 12 and ended June 17 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. This year’s tournament was the largest in the history of the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) with over 8,500 students taking part in the three divisions covered. Live posts, finals and award ceremonies were streamed online to other viewers.
Lee said participating in the debate was extremely rewarding and he enjoyed bonding with his team during the trip.
“Winning national championships was like a culmination of my nearly ten-year involvement inbeat,” Lee said. “[Nationals] is the biggest tournament of the year, and the best debaters from around the world attend. Travel to Kentucky with some of my best friends after what has been nearly a year of intense training, preparation, training tournaments and training felt inherently usefulwhatever the outcome.