A Fantastic Year for Debate


Courtesy of Steven Pang ’22

Although most sports this year have suffered because of Covid-19, Groton’s Debating Society has had a fantastic year. Not only has Groton’s Debate team emerged as one of the top teams in our league, we are also poised to be even more powerful next year.

This year, Groton has won 18 debate commendations in the Fall and Winter terms, more than the 16 combined distinctions the last 3 recorded academic years earned in the same time frame. Moreover, Groton is now tied with Winsor Academy for second place in the DANEIS league (a league consisting of 30 schools including almost all of the ISL, Six Schools League, and most of the Founders League).* Furthermore, this year, Jiacheng Kang ’22 became the first Grotonian since 2007 to qualify for the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship, a highly prestigious tournament with many of the world’s top high school speakers. 

According to Mr. Gnozzio, the Debating Society’s Instructor, part of the reason for this year’s success was the fact that training was taken a lot more seriously with a dedicated afternoon activity and more rigorous practices. Another was the fact that many students had more opportunities to go to more tournaments as tournaments went virtual due to distance and travel cost no longer precluding Groton’s team from competing.

In the chart of Fall and Winter Debate Distinctions, the 2020 school year towers above the rest, but there is good reason to believe that the 2021 bar will be even higher. Out of all 18 distinctions earned this year, only one was earned by a senior (Samarth Agrawal ’21), and, in fact, only two seniors even attended any debates this year. 

“Next year we are probably going to be one of the best teams, if not the best team in our league,” said Jiacheng. “Groton Debate’s ascent into greatness has begun.”

*Rankings are not official and are calculated with a point system. If a school ranks 1st at a tournament, they were given three points, 2nd place got two points, and 3rd place got one point.