Oby Kevin Placide ’21
Over the Memorial Day weekend, the Chaminade speech and debate team traveled to Washington, D.C. for the National Catholic Forensic League Tournament, better known as “CFLs.” Throughout the year, the team dominated the competition at local tournaments and prestigious invitationals, earning high marks at the state championships in April, as well. Heading to the nation’s capital, the team was aiming to continue their successful streak.
“The tournament requires many hours of preparation, but competing is always a rewarding experience,” speech and debate president John Michael Magloire ‘18 explained before departing Mineola. “I’m looking forward to competing with some of my teammates for the last time.”
The team arrived in D.C. on Thursday night after a five-hour journey with other Long Island high schools. Before conquering the fierce competition, they had the opportunity to visit the Library of Congress, Capitol Building, and the White House.
“Touring these national landmarks was memorable and extraordinary,” said sophomore Paul Caruso. “Exploring the traditions and origins of our great democracy was such a unique experience that most other schools don’t get to do, and I feel that I have grown in understanding as to how it feels to work in one of these buildings.”
Early Saturday morning, the team began preliminary rounds and faced rigorous competition all day. In Duo Interpretation, freshman Steven Jones and sophomore Charlie Weiler competed as partners against tough teams from across the nation. Despite falling short of his expectations, Steven Jones ’21 remarked, “It’s still great to know that we are able to compete on a national level and be a part of the country’s top-200 duo teams.”
An impressive number of Flyers advanced to the elimination rounds on Sunday. Notable performances came from seniors Aidan Fitzgerald and John Michael Magloire, who participated in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Fitzgerald finished in the double octofinals round, establishing himself as one of the top 32 debaters in the nation. An even more impressive performance was delivered by John Michael Magloire, who sought to add on to his already magnificent resume. Defeating numerous opponents, he advanced round after round until he reached the quarterfinals, where he finished in the top eight in the country. Despite not making the semifinals as he did last year, J.M. stated, “I am proud of the effort that my teammates and I put into preparing for this tournament, and I’m looking forward to the National Speech and Debate Tournament in June.”
In the Public Forum debate category, Thomas Flatley and Rohan Sasso had successful outings and advanced into the play-in round. In Declamation, Paul Caruso made it to octofinals.
Reflecting on the valuable experience he attained throughout his years on the team and as president, J.M. added, “Debate has made me more aware of different perspectives and policy positions. It has also given me more confidence in my speaking and academic ability.”
A tiresome weekend of debating yielded a rewarding experience for all team members. The group’s freshmen got their first taste of national competition, sophomores and juniors tested their skill against some of the sharpest minds in the nation, and seniors finished their last CFL tournament.
With only one tournament left in the season, the speech and debate team is eager to culminate a remarkably successful season at the upcoming National Speech and Debate Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.