The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

RM Debate wins Montgomery County Debate Championship

Chloe Choi
RM’s Debate Team prepares throughout the season and participates in tournaments against other schools.

Debate team juniors Chaiwey Chen and Vihaan Rathi won the Montgomery County Debate Championship on Feb. 22. RM’s debate team dominated and won first place as a school, followed by Bethesda Chevy-Chase and Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. 

RM performed impressively throughout the regular season, with 17 out of 21 RM teams attending the first day of playoffs. 

“Playoffs work in a two-day system. The first day has about 64 teams, and all the partnerships debate three rounds. The top 16 teams go into day two,” senior debater Rushi Jain said.
On the second day of the tournament, seven out of 17 teams participating were from RM, a near majority. The tournament is set up like a bracket and after the first set of rounds, six RM teams were able to move on to the next one. Three out of four teams participating in the semi-finals were from RM.

“In my four years on the team, I don’t think I have seen us do that well. It was genuinely one of the best brackets for RM I have ever seen,” said Jain. 

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The championships ended with an RM vs RM final, with Chen and Rathi victorious against fellow juniors Allison Wong and Becca Fulton, debating whether the United States Federal Government should ban single use plastics. Both partnerships ended the season with 14-3 records. 

At the end of the day, it’s a competition, but it’s also an environment of growth and intellectual pursuit. It was an amazing thing to witness and experience.

— Anya Kleinman

Reflecting on the playoffs, Jain said, “What I love about RM’s team isn’t just how well we do, but our community, especially during playoffs. While I looked around the cafeteria and saw the other teams stressed about results and the next round, RM gathered together and was joking, laughing [and] playing games. We didn’t let the stress or the fact that we had teams pitted against each other get to us.” 

Sophomore Anya Kleinman felt similarly. 

“The atmosphere was tense but also very accepting. At the end of the day, it’s a competition, but it’s also an environment of growth and intellectual pursuit. It was an amazing thing to witness and experience,” Kleinman said. 

RM Debate worked hard throughout the regular season and met twice a week. During the season, students compete in pairs against another school where one person in the competition will give a prepared speech and the other will give a rebuttal to the other team’s speech. They then will be able to ask each other questions. 

“Students research, write, discuss and prepare in all the ways relevant to this activity – they read the news and constantly are reading and learning,” Debate sponsor and Theory of Knowledge teacher Noah Grosfeld-Katz said. 

RM Debate members have expressed the values the club has provided for them. Some members feel that it has provided them with helpful professional life skills. 

“Debate is useful and important because it teaches you how to think on your feet and craft a persuasive argument… Debating has taught me how to extemporaneously speak in an organized and understandable manner, which has changed the way I communicate,” Kleinman said. 

Some members have identified the value of the club in teaching students how to get their points across in a respectful manner. 

“I think it’s vitally important to learn how to argue respectfully and with evidence to support your case; not resorting to cheap personal attacks… I hope when students debate they keep in mind that respectfulness is always important, and that debate is about persuasive speaking which is different from persuasive writing…they need to keep in mind what their audience is [and] how they are presenting themselves in the moment,” Mr. Grosfeld-Katz said. 

Other members have found that it has developed their confidence. 

“It really teaches you how to become more confident. Even if I don’t feel confident, debate teaches you to be confident. We say that the biggest piece of advice in debate is “fake it til you make it” and that really holds through,” Jain said. 

Many RM debate members enjoy the community the club fosters. 

“If I could say one thing it’s that RM’s team shows up for one another. We help one another, we care about one another and I think that’s what makes us so strong,” Jain said.


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About the Contributor
Chloe Choi
Chloe Choi, Assistant Graphics Editor
Chloe Choi has been creating graphics for the Tide since her freshman year, and has also served as an assistant Business Manager and a Crosswords contributor. When she’s not drawing, she’s either looking at birds, stressing over the daily NYT crossword, or reading a good Wikipedia article.