WARREN,  NJ  – Roopa Irakam, a senior at Watchung Hills Regional High School, has been selected to the USA International Debate Team. Roopa is the first student from Watchung Hills Regional High School to be selected for the USA Debate Team in the last seven years.

The USA Debate Team competes against other countries throughout the year, culminating in the World Schools Debating Championships international championship in July. For the past three years, the United States team has finished in the top 6 at the international championship tournament.

"Our USA Debate Team showcases the best and brightest high school students in our country who represent our honorary at the highest level," said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association. "The 2019-2020 team features some absolutely phenomenal speech and debate competitors. I'm certain they'll continue the incredible achievements of this team."

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As a senior, Roopa Irakam brings a history of success in Congressional Debate to the team. Her accomplishments include taking first place at the Princeton Invitational, third place at the Columbia Invitational, and being named a finalist at the Yale Invitational and the Barkley Forum Invitational at Emory. Roopa was also a member of the USA Debate Development Team, where students practice with USA Debate coaches and practice the World Schools Debate format.

"In today's tumultuous political climate, where insults are thrown at anyone trying to do the right thing and radical, discriminatory policies have been more accepted, it is more important than ever for students like myself to use our voices to make a positive impact," said Roopa Irakam. "Having the opportunity to express my voice and opinions through debate all over the world is so important to me."

The USA Debate Team kicks off the season with training in Dallas, TX. The team is coached by National Speech & Debate Hall of Fame Coaches Aaron Timmons and Cindi Timmons, who also serves as Team Manager. Their first international competition will take place in Stuttgart, Germany in November. Keep up with their success by following the National Speech & Debate Association (@speechanddebate) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.