Hun Sophomore First in New Jersey Debate Competition; Heads for Nationals in June
Hun School of Princeton debater Suchritha Patlolla ’19 took first place in her division and will be one of just five students who will represent New Jersey in congressional debate in the 2017 National Speech and Debate Association’s (NSDA) National Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, in June.
Suchritha (Rita) took first place in the U.S. Senate division at the New Jersey NSDA Congress Tournament in Montville, New Jersey, on February 25. Her achievement there in “Districts” qualifies her for the national tournament on June 17—20, which will have a total of 250 congressional debaters from all fifty states.
Rita is president of the Hun Congressional Debate Club. She started debate in sixth grade, and when she arrived at The Hun Middle School in 8th grade, she took part in the school's signature debate program. That year, she finished eighth nationally among middle schoolers for congressional debate.
Rita must do extensive research for her debate, writing “bills” that are then argued in the competition. For the February tournament, Rita wrote a bill to identify security flaws in U.S. maritime ports. Rita’s bill was among the ten that judges chose for participants to debate the pros and cons of, as they would in the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives.
At Districts Rita bested a total of thirty competitors, debating four different pieces of legislation over four hours. At Nationals, three students from New Jersey will compete in the U.S House of Representative's rounds, and two, including Rita, will compete in the U.S. Senate competition.
“I really enjoy the mental challenge of debate,” said Rita. “I am constantly learning.” Her research has taught her about everything from U.S. immigration law to subprime mortgages. She has competed in tournaments at universities around the country, including Harvard, and she also has qualified for the prestigious Tournament of Champions, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, on April 15.
Despite her extensive experience, she still finds debate challenging.
“I get nervous every single time, having to research and refute so many new topics,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding.”
The Hun School of Princeton is an independent, coeducational, private day and boarding college preparatory school. Student-centered, hands-on learning prepares students for the global community in which they will live and work.