Three Debaters Advance to the Finals at Harvard Tournament


Over the Presidents’ Day break, the Scarsdale Speech and Debate team traveled to the 46th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament, the largest invitational competition in the country.

Scarsdale had not had a competitor advance to the final round of any category since 2016, but this year Scarsdale had two entries (three team members) advance to finals! Seniors Annie Radin and Rachel Meiselman finished in second place out of 157 competing entries in Duo Interpretation, a dramatic category in which two people perform a ten minute excerpt of a movie, play, or written work. Radin and Meiselman selected the piece “Dance Nation”, a serio-comedic play by Clare Barron that explores the lives of young girls on a competitive dance team.

Fellow senior Jack Silvers won in Extemporaneous Speaking, or “extemp,” a limited-preparation category in which competitors speak on a prompt they receive 30 minutes in advance. Silvers beat out 267 competitors from high schools across the country to win the championship, speaking on issues as varied as cryptocurrency to Chinese investment in South Sudan en route to the title.

In addition to the three finalists, other Scarsdale students also made deep runs at the tournament, with senior Abhinav Vittal reaching the semifinal round in extemp, junior Genie Enders reaching the quarterfinal round in extemp, sophomore Rowan Haffner reaching the octafinal round in extemp, and senior Craig Caroll making the octafinal round in Oral Interpretation, another dramatic category.

All of the students would have been unable to achieve their impressive accomplishments without the help of coach Joe Vaughan, who accompanied the team to the tournament and is in his 21st year as team coach and 18th as head coach. The three seniors are all four-year team veterans, and will surely be missed next year.