Speech and Debate Winners: Nishka Bhoite and Gauri Murkoth

Speech and Debate Winners: Nishka Bhoite and Gauri Murkoth

Last weekend, the Speech and Debate team competed at McClintock High School at the Jim Fountain Tournament against 30 high schools both Division I & II. ACP High School successfully walked out with the Championship Trophy. Among many competitors at the school, today, I’ll be interviewing Nishka Bhoite (who placed 2nd in her event) and Gauri Murkoth (who placed 6th in her event), a freshman and a sophomore respectively . Nishka competed in Informative Speech and Gauri competed in Original Oratory. I’ll let them tell what being a Speech and Debater is all about!

Q: Can you give us a description about what event(s) you do? Which events did you do for the Jim Fountain Tournament? What were your topics about?

Nishka: I did Public Forum and Informative Speaking (Infor). IN PF, it’s two debaters in one team, debating against another team, which also consists of two debaters. It consists of debating on political topics and this month’s topic was on whether we should substantially increase defense commitments to the Baltic States. In Info, it’s basically a ten-minute-speech where we talk about a topic and its history, effects, and impacts. I chose music as my topic and went on to talk about how it affects our brain and how we can utilize it to benefit our health.

Gauri: I do Congressional Debate, Varisty Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Extemporaneous Speech, and Original Oratory. Congressional Debate is essentially a mock Congress where competitors debate over bills that we prepare. It is a great mix of both speech and debate elements. Lincoln-Douglas is a one-on-one values debate event centered around what we morally ought to do. Our topic for this tournament was “The member nations of the World Trade Organization ought to reduce intellectual property protections for medicines.” Extemporaneous (Extemp) is a type of ad-lib speech, which means no preparation before the tournaments. When we get to the tournament, we receive a question, usually political about foreign or domestic topics and then we have 30 minutes to research and prepare a seven-minute-speech answering it. Original Oratory (O.O.) is a persuasive speech where competitors write and prepare a ten-minute-speech that is memorized before the tournament about a certain issue and offer a solution that we as a society could do to solve it. It’s an amazing combination of humor and informative content, and I’d recommend that everyone listen to an O.O. as soon as they get the chance. My O.O. topic was on happiness, and yes, I did participate in all four events at the Jim Fountain tournament, so it was certainly a busy tournament!

Q: What were some big takeaways from the tournament? Did you expect to place?

Nishka: Celebrating other’s successes was a big takeaway from the tournament, as my debate partner and I lost our octo-finals round of debate. But, when we found that the two other PF teams were able to carry through, we stopped dwelling on our loss and congratulated them excitedly instead. I also realized during my Info rounds that I should celebrate the successes of people form other schools as well. I was able to meet so many new people during my Info rounds, and I was able to learn about their Speech and Debate experiences as well. I’m confident that I walked out of the tournament with new friends.

Gauri: This tournament was really fun to be at because it’s the first one this year where our team came (and dominated) at full force. Apart form that, the campus was beautiful and they served really good food, too! Competing was a learning experience, and the best time during tournaments is always the down time that we have between rounds when we can talk with everyone else and hang out with the team! I can honestly say that I did not expect to make it so far in the tournament, but it was definitely a pleasant surprise! I got a cool fountain pen out of it, too!

Q: How was the process of perfecting your speeches and performance for Original Oratory and Informative? How long did it take you to write your speeches and memorize them?

Nishka: Perfecting my speech did take a while but working with the platform coaches like Coach Vega and Zimmerman helped me a lot, as they were able to fine tune my script. It took me about two to three weeks to write it, as I had to decide on my topic and make many drafts before settling on a final manuscript. As it is a ten-minute-speech, memorizing it took a couple of days, but since I did write it myself, I was more familiar with what I wanted to say.

Gauri: Perfecting my Original Oratory speech consisted of a lot of writing, revising, and practicing delivery my speech. It took me the good part of a month to write and revise my speech, and it took me about a week-and-a-half to memorize. The process consisted of making a lot of drafts and lots of talking to walls to nail my performance down. However, I can’t take all the credit for my speech; I wouldn’t have been able to do it without help from our help from our amazing coaches including Mr. Rumsey, Miranda Vega, Coach Zimmerman, and support form the rest of the speech and debate team.

Q: Are there any other events that you would like to try out? Could you please describe them to us?

Nishka: At some point in my Speech and Debate year, I would want to try out Impromptu speaking, which is basically where you are given a prompt and have to give a five-minute-speech on it with two minutes of preparation. I’m interested in this because I struggle with speaking on-the-go, and I know this would really challenge and push me out of my comfort zone.

Gauri: At this point in time, I’m not planning on doing any other events, but I might try and do an Informative speech in the future. Inform is a lot like O.O. except that it isn’t persuasive, but instead you get to talk about a certain topic or object and you get to make boards for “inform” your audience.

Thank you Gauri and Nishka for the interview! The next Speech and Debate tournament is next week and yours truly will be competing, so wish the team and I luck! Have a great day, Knights!