Debate Team Competes at Nationals
The St. Mark's debate team concluded an exceptional year, with over 30 students participating in more than 600 debates – a near all-time high. Notably, three St. Mark’s teams (Liam Seaward ’24 and Harry Wang, Sid Bidare ’24 and Anish Guddati ’24 and Samuel Posten ’25 and Andrew Jin ’25) advanced to the elimination rounds at the National Debate Coaches Association National Championships. A fourth team (Ahsan Tahirkheli ’24 and Ashrit Manduva ’24) also appeared in the elimination rounds at several nationally competitive tournaments. All eight boys will be returning next year.
Additionally, Sid Bidare, Anish Guddati, Ashrit Manduva, Liam Seaward and Ahsan Tahirkheli were recognized as Academic All-Americans. The National Speech and Debate Association began recognizing Academic All-Americans in 1999, and it recognizes the top 1-2% of their 20,000 participating students.
The debate topic for this year was "Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in one or more of the following areas: artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity." In preparation for competitions, the boys researched and discussed the overall value of NATO as a security apparatus versus bilateral cooperation, issues that can disrupt the cohesion of the alliance and the value of emerging technology in military contexts.
“The victories were significant and satisfying, but the team culture was also noteworthy,” said debate coach Tim Mahoney. “The students took to heart the team motto that ‘a win for one team is a win for all of us.’ Even when eliminated from competition, students would still drop in to do additional research or talk over strategy with the teams that were still competing.”