Debate Championship

A debate team comprised of Indian American student Raam Tambe (left) and Jerry Wang, both seniors at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, won a second consecutive National Speech and Debate Association national tournament. (photo provided)

A high school team from Southern California has won its second consecutive National Speech and Debate Association national tournament.

The team from Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.-based Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, comprising seniors Raam Tambe, an Indian American student, and Jerry Wang, won the Birmingham, Ala.-based tournament June 24, becoming the first two-person team to win the tournament twice in a row.

The National Speech and Debate Association is among the oldest and largest high school speech and debate honor societies globally and its national tournament, which dates back to 1931, is one of the world’s largest interscholastic competitions.

Tambe and Wang were among the more than 3,000 students competing in 10 speech and debate events, personally outlasting 354 other students to win this year’s championship.

In the final round, they debated a team from Glenbrook North High School in Illinois, according to a provided news release.

The team of Tambe and Wang proposed a diplomatic hotline between the United States and China, while Glenbrook North argued that the offer would undermine the priorities established in the U.S. and China’s 100-day action plan. Peninsula defeated Glenbrook North on a 10-1 decision.

For winning the tournament, the two received the Harland B. Mitchell Trophy and each received $6,000. Peninsula director of debate Scott Wheeler received the Ted W. Belch Award, joining Glenbrook North coach Dr. Michael Greenstein as the only coach to win the award twice and becoming the first coach to win the award in consecutive years.

Peninsula also won the Unger Cup, presented to the school that has placed the highest cumulatively in the five great national debate tournaments: the National Speech & Debate Tournament, the NCFL Grand Debate Tournament, the University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions, the NAUDL Urban Debate National Championship Tournament and the National Debate Coaches Association Debate Tournament.

For the second consecutive year, the team won the Unger Cup despite having only attended three of the five tournaments. Peninsula joined Glenbrook North as the first school to win the award twice and becomes the first school to win in consecutive years, according to the report.

All told, the team of Tambe and Wang won 10 tournaments their senior year, and were in the final round of three others. They were the top seed at both the TOC and NDCA tournaments.

They began and ended their senior year as the No. 1 team in the high school coaches’ poll, and spent a few months in the spot as juniors before ending the year ranked second.

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