February 08, 2022
Public Speaking Tournament Showcases Depth of Talent
KO’s Forensic Union hosted its annual public speaking tournament for the second time on Zoom this Feb 6. For the first time, this event was a “Worlds Qualifier” in KO’s speech and debate league because the school co-hosted with Stoneleigh Burnham School, another school with a long history of public speaking tradition, like KO. There were spirited performances from 50 competitors representing 11 schools across New England.
A big congrats go to Sam Merkatz ’22, Frank Pu ’23, Arav Kumar ’23, Charlotte Eberle 23, and Minnila Muthukumar ’24, all of whom prepared impressive speeches and competed in the tournament in rounds of extemporaneous and prepared speeches, as well as interpretive reading. Merkatz competed in a new after-dinner that will go on to grow and be competed again at Internationals next month. Pu wrote an inspiring persuasive speech about the addictive qualities of TikTok that Upper School Spanish teacher Ms. Croes called “mandatory reading” for every parent. Kumar competed in his second public speaking tournament – no easy feat with a brand new event (interpretive reading). Eberle competed in her first-ever competition, earning a 90 from one judge on her interpretive reading piece (her Form 4 Speakers’ Forum piece from last year). Muthukumar competed in interpretive reading for the first time and earned a 90 from one judge without even having done Speakers’ Forum yet. “Breaking 90” is a huge accomplishment for any competitive public speaker – the maximum score is 95.
While the tournament was virtual, the KO team ran logistics behind the scenes together, presenting a professional, smoothly run event from giving the welcome speech, to serving as timers, to tallying up scores in the tab room, and more! Our truly remarkable Forensic Union officers are also to be commended for their hard work organizing the tournament: Teddy Schwartz, Samhita Kashyap, Minseo Kim, Elsa June Ciscel, Manu Narasimhan, Luke Roen, Johnny Kung, Ricardo Croes, and Jaedan Curcio. All of them put in many hours this past week–during lunches, after school, in the morning, in the evening, over email, over Zoom with KO’s Stoneleigh Burnham colleagues. The host schools received many compliments from other schools about how carefully organized the tournament was, and the officers helped make that happen by taking authentic ownership of this tournament. A big thank you as well to Forensic Union members who volunteered nearly their entire Sunday to serve as timers and organizers of each round: Faith Potter, Anissa Lewis, Max Huang, Leo Zhang, and Bassil Chughtai.
KO’s Forensic Union team is coached by Michelle Caswell, Steph Sperber, and Carolina Croes whose thoughtfulness, enthusiasm, and dedication to KO’s students are unmatched.
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