By Michael Tsui ’18
Even on a four day weekend, Chaminade’s Robert C. Wright Speech and Debate Team found itself hard at work. On Saturday, May 7, the Flyers hosted and participated in the Northeastern Regional Qualifier of the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Debate Series. The series, sponsored by the Reagan Foundation, is intended to create politically educated citizens and foster the skills of potential leaders. Those who excel on the regional level could go on to the national championship at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California this summer. Here, they would compete with some of the best debaters in the country. In addition to gaining priceless experience and knowledge, the top speaker of all those involved will also receive a ten thousand dollar scholarship. Smaller amounts of money are awarded to the remaining fifteen participants.
The most memorable Chaminade performances from the regional qualifier were delivered by John Michael Magloire ’18, who advanced to the semifinal round, and Peter Charalambous ’16, whose tireless work payed off when he was selected to be one of the sixteen high school students to participate in the national championship.
Peter commented on his noteworthy accomplishment, saying, “It’s amazing to be given the opportunity to travel to California to compete at the national tournament. I’m thankful to both the Reagan Library and my coach, Bro. John McGrory, S.M., ’84 for making this possible. It’s going to be a memorable experience, and I’m looking forward to some great rounds.” Peter will fly to California for the event courtesy of the Reagan Foundation.
Learning to overcome nerves is critical to a strong public speaking performance. Peter was asked how he copes with the anxiety that often accompanies the act. “While there are some nerves to deal with while debating, I’ve learned to ignore the distractions around me and focus on one thing – the debate,” he responded. “By immersing myself in the topic and the rhetoric between my opponent and I, the nerves disappear.” His ability to fully commit himself to conquering whatever challenges may arise will be of great use on the big stage.
Although the school year is coming to a close, some members of Chaminade’s Speech and Debate team will still partake in two of the most demanding tournaments in the country. The National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament is set to take place on May 28 and 29 in Sacramento, California, and the National Speech and Debate Tournament will occur from June 12 to June 17 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Congratulations to all the debaters who participated in the Great Communicator Debate this past weekend, and best of luck with the remainder of the year!