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DHS and PHS Debate Teams Distinguish Themselves at Tournament

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DHS and PHS Debate Teams Distinguish Themselves at Tournament
Posted on 01/26/2016
This is the image for the news article titled DHS and PHS Debate Teams Distinguish Themselves at TournamentDebate teams from Deering High School and Portland High School both performed admirably at the Maine Forensic Association (MFA) State Tournament in Lewiston on Jan. 23. Individual students from each school were named state champions and Deering took third overall in the Debate category while Portland High came in fifth overall.

The Deering team’s Arija Forsythe is Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate State Champion, said coach Brian Dodge.

“Arija's achievement is particularly impressive as she only joined the team a few months ago and had never competed in Lincoln Douglas,” Dodge said. “She was in the novice division when she first joined us but has steadily improved since then. (At the tournament) there were four preliminary rounds, a semifinal round and a final round. The semifinals and finals are ‘paneled,’ meaning there are three judges instead of one.  Throughout the 11 or so hours of competition, Arija never lost one decision from any judge.  This is essentially unheard of in debate.”

The Deering team’s Alex Smith finished third in the Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate.

Portland High School junior Jerzy Sylvester is Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate State Champion, winning five consecutive rounds, said PHS debate coach Mike Quinn. His win marked the Bulldogs’ first state championship in debate in decades.

Three Bulldogs finished fourth in their division: Kate Hungerford, Jake Bosma and Ryan Lizanecz.

“The team is very excited,” Quinn said. “This is the best performance they had all season, and they saved it for the state finals. Amazing, what these kids accomplished!”

At the tournament, Maine U.S. Senator Angus King, an experienced debater in high school, shared advice with the students via live video from Washington, D.C.  The topic for the debaters was: “In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned.” Students had to be prepared to argue the topic from both sides.

PHOTO CAPTIONs: ABOVE (from left) PHS debate coach Mike Quinn; Jerzy Sylvester, a PHS junior who is the Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate State Champion; and Eddie Sylvester, PHS freshman and Jerzy's brother.

BELOW: Deering Debate Team: (From the top, left to right): Chris Sheehy; Salim Salim; Dylantha Musonerwa; Jouya Mahmoudi; Steven Ntibandetse; Brian Dodge (Coach); Alex Smith; Spencer Todd; Zaeda Hills; and Arija Forsyth.

Deering Debate team 2016