RANDOLPH, NJ--The Randolph High School Speech and Debate Team will compete in its second national tournament this year from December 1-3, following a successful finish at Yale in September. The Princeton Classic is being held at Princeton University. With over 120 schools attending from 20 different states across the country, the event is likely to be the team’s largest and most challenging competition of the year.
“We’ll have a lot of success in Princeton Classic if Yale was any indicator,” said RHS senior Bryn Bennett, one of the two co-presidents of the Speech and Debate Team. The team recently competed in the Yale Invitational in New Haven, Connecticut on September 15-17. Several team members performed well, finishing in quarter-finalist and semi-finalist positions in the humorous, dramatic, and duo interpretation event categories.
“A lot of the reason we’re so successful is because the kids take it so seriously, and our team helps itself; it’s not even close to every man for himself,” said Peter Quinn, the head coach of the team who also teaches social studies at the high school.
“We’re playing in a way on our own turf; it’s the only national tournament in New Jersey and we feel like it’s in our backyard. We’ve performed well in the past, and I don’t see that changing,” said Quinn, anticipating success at the upcoming classic.
“For the Princeton Classic we’ve been doing a ton of preparation; we’ll definitely do well,” agreed Renee Shen, the other co-president of the Speech and Debate Team who’s a junior at RHS. According to Shen, the team’s success is a result of the kinship between its members. “I would characterize the speech and debate team as a community, a group of friends that support each other both in school, at meetings and on trips across the state and country,” said Shen.
“Mr. Quinn is probably the most dedicated person to a single activity I’ve ever seen in this school; he’s really done a lot for us,” said Shen. “Mr. Quinn is very dedicated to his job and he’s always willing to help us to be as successful as we can be,” agreed Bennett.
“Speech and Debate is something that gives kids a voice in a sense that it allows you to figure out what you care about and gives you a platform, big or small, and an audience for what you have to say,” said Quinn when reflecting on the benefits the members of the team reap for their efforts. “Their dedication to the team goes beyond competing and preparing, it’s giving back to the team as well,” he said.
With the team’s camaraderie appearing at an all time high, and the thrill of recent success still on their minds, the Randolph Speech and Debate Team’s future at the upcoming Princeton Classic looks promising.
Editor's Note: Christopher Latteri is a student at Randolph High School participating in a journalism program with TAP into Randolph.