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Pelican Debaters Shine at 37th Annual Loomis Chaffee Tournament

Loomis Chaffee debaters had a busy and successful weekend with back-to-back tournaments, including the 37th Annual Loomis Chaffee Debate Tournament.

The school hosted 160 debate students on teams from 16 New England schools In the Loomis tournament on Sunday, January 13. One of the longest-standing tournaments in the Debating Association of New England Independent Schools, the event has been organized nearly every year since its inception by Curt Robison, faculty advisor to the Loomis debate team.

This year debaters considered both sides of the resolution: "Be it resolved that Birthright Citizenship in the United States of America should be abolished."

The format of the Loomis tournament is unique within the league in that the competitors don't know the topic until they arrive at the tournament. The "switch-side" competition begins when the resolution is revealed to each of the teams, along with a packet of information that is compiled by Curt to help the teams create arguments both for and against the resolution. Each team receives one hour to prepare to debate before the start of three rounds.

Curt said Loomis debaters performed exceptionally well in Sunday's event, and he expressed gratitude for the assistance of five students in running the tournament: sophomores Lily Potter and Matthew Weng; and freshmen Victoria Che, Henry Deng, and Tallula Johansen.

Four two-person teams represented Loomis in the advanced division: senior Jocelyn Chen and junior Maral Asik; senior Mark Valadez and sophomore Aidan Gillies; senior Sharon Zhou and junior Margaret Kanyoko; and senior Minna Gao and sophomore Clara Chen. All of the Loomis Chaffee advanced teams finished with 2-1 records and thus combined for an impressive eight wins and four losses in the advanced division, defeating teams from Andover, BB&N, Choate, Exeter, Groton, and Northfield Mount Hermon.

Novice teams from Loomis with notable performances included the pairings of juniors Kyle Ge and Eleanor Peters; senior Burke Perrotta and junior Alexa Valadez; and juniors Olivia Malcolmson and Daniella Kapur, all of whom had two wins and one loss.

In Saturday's Connecticut Debate Association tournament in Guilford, the team of sophomore Clara Chen and freshman Victoria Che went undefeated in the novice division and qualified for the state finals. Junior Maral Asik and sophomore Aidan Gillies went undefeated in the advanced division and are now halfway to qualifying for the state finals in the advanced division, according to Curt. Saturday's tournament required that teams debate both sides of the resolution: "The United States should ban third-party investment in civil court cases."