RANDOLPH, NJ—Members of the Randolph High School Speech and Debate Team enjoyed their first virtual end-of-year banquet, on Tuesday thanks to the efforts of the team’s Boosters Association, who brought the 2019-2020 team together one more time for an emotional farewell.
The night started off with encouraging remarks from Debbie Iosso, the principal of RHS. “I congratulate all of you for moving forward with this virtual banquet, despite the parameters within which we currently need to function,” Iosso said. “I applaud the efforts of all to continue to celebrate and recognize teams such as the Speech and Debate Team.”
Other banquet events included mini PowerPoint presentations on the whole team. Several seniors also shared their thoughts and memories about the team’s performance this year and enjoyed their senior roasts. In addition, Peter Quinn, the team’s head coach, and Katie Burke, the assistant coach, who are both social studies teachers at RHS, gave speeches. Amelia Wright, the humanities supervisor, was also in virtual attendance.
Quinn’s speech was especially poignant as this was to be his last year with the team, after a 12-year-long run as a team coach, because he is leaving teaching to attend law school. “But our seniors, they are the lucky ones,” Quinn said. “Not because they get to leave Randolph High School, but because they are jumping into a whole new world of things to challenge them, people to know and understand and situations that will make them grow and change and build themselves toward a more self-actualized person.”
Added Quinn, “Again, it might not take the shape we anticipated it would six months ago, or it might be delayed a bit, but you seniors are all moving into a wider world full of diamonds and so many other things that will help you keep sharpening, remove that dullness, and take you where you need to be. Even though I’m physically leaving, in many ways you won’t be able to get rid of me even if you want to. Good luck, everyone. I will miss you all, wherever it is we all end up. Stay sharp.”
“I was so happy that we were able to celebrate our graduating seniors and team members with a banquet, even within quarantine,” stated Burke, who will assume the role of head coach next year. “While a virtual banquet was not our first choice, it allowed us to add some special memories, like hearing from all our seniors and a short video honoring our head coach, Mr. Quinn. Of course, all of this was due to the amazing planning and dedication of our boosters board. They planned a wonderful night and even delivered dinners from the Randolph Diner to our team members so that we could share in one last, very special night together.”
Toward the end of the banquet, Julia Yan, the president of Speech, and Simiran Kakkar, the president of Debate, gave their own personal speeches on how the club had guided them. The boosters board also announced that RHS seniors Brenna McConnell and Mallika Ravi, had earned $500 scholarships.
Next year's team officers, for the 2020-2021 school year, were also named:
- Brianna Nissel (President)
- Nicole Yakovlev (Vice President of Speech)
- Chris Sebastian (Vice President of Debate)
- Michael Levy (Director of Communications)
- Ana Sridharan (Director of Membership)
- Kyle Johnson (Captain of Limited Prep and Congress)
- Isabella Hu (Captain of Interpretation)
- Ashin Varghese (Captain of Public Forum)
- Bala Saravanan (Captain of Lincoln Douglas)
To close the banquet, the team viewed a video created for Mr. Quinn in which everyone on the team said their goodbyes and wished him well at law school, which he will soon attend, following a long and distinguished career as a teacher.
Editor's Note: Sean Wattman is a student at RHS participating in a journalism with Tapinto Randolph