Ridge High School, located in New Jersey, hosted its annual “Ridge Invitational” speech and debate tournament on January 26th. Over 800 students from 60 schools from across the U.S. competed. Syosset's team placed 4th overall, sweeping the debate events. Seniors Diya Chadha and Malini Rudra placed first in the Public Forum Debate, arguing whether the U.S. federal government should prioritize reducing the federal debt over promoting economic growth. In the Lincoln-Douglas Debate, pitting one debater against another on whether the U.S. ought to provide military aid to authoritarian regimes, sophomore Isabella Souza placed first in the JV division while freshman Amanda Huang was named the Top Novice Debater.
In the competition, debaters have to argue both pros and cons on topics that change every two months. Coach Lydia Esslinger explains that students develop strong research techniques and become well-informed and articulate on complex policy issues. In addition to trophies, the first-place winners traditionally receive elaborate posters/constructions that reflect a feature of their event.