Fremont debaters defeat Skyline for the BAUDL title

Fremont took home the prized crystal bowl trophy at the Bay Area Urban Debate League Championship on April 27 and 28 after varsity debaters Diego Garcia and Nicholas Ross faced  a Skyline varsity team in finals and came out victorious.

This is Garcia’s second time winning the league championship. He also won it in 2010 with his sister Jazmin Garcia. This was Garcia and Ross’ last high school debate before the two seniors go off to the University of California, Berkeley, where they plan to debate.

Each year debate coaches decide on a resolution which is the topic for the academic year throughout the United States. These resolutions can range from economic engagement in other countries to investments in space exploration.

This year’s resolution proposed an increase in transportation funding in the US.

Teams develop affirmative plans to prove the resolution correct. The negatives job is to disprove the resolution.Teams take turns being negative and affirmative so that they can make better decisions by looking at the issue in both positive and negative ways.

“Debating with Nick has been the best; we always had great sync in debate rounds, and that always made us successful,” said Garcia.

From proposing to deploy naval ships to the Arctic to increasing deployment of aircraft carriers, Garcia and Ross have argued a vast number of things. Their latest affirmation of the resolution was to increase funding in evacuation measures in low-income communities like New Orleans.

The Fremont team’s affirmative plan was that the government should invest in transportation to evacuate people in case of disasters, with the idea that we need to start making political decisions with equality of all in mind.

Garcia and Ross used this plan to beat the negative team Anna Xu and Gabriel Gangoso  at the league champs in a crushing defeat where all five judges voted for the affirmative team.

“When Nick and I won the city championship, I felt a great sense of accomplishment, pride and satisfaction knowing we had taken the win for Fremont,” said Garcia.

Ross added that winning the championship was “an awesome feeling.”

“It was surprising because it was such a good debate round,” said Ross. “We had to win this one because I didn’t go to the state championship when we had the chance or to Tennessee with Diego.”

Garcia and Ross had an opportunity to go to the prestigious National Debate Coaches Association tournament in Nashville, but Ross was unable to attend because of a college interview. The duo also qualified for the California High School Speech Association tournament but the team was again unable to attend.

Ross said that he felt pressure to make sure Garcia, who has been debating since his freshman year, finish strongly.
“I felt like I was holding him back,” said Ross. “So to win city champs was like sealing the deal.”

Debate coaches Elizabeth Siarny, a Media Academy social sciences teacher, and Paul Strain, a physiology teacher, were both very happy.

“I was really proud of them,” said Strain. “It was a testament to their hard work and dedication to debate and each other. They deserved the win. It just goes to show how hard work paid off for them.”

Garcia said that debate gave him a huge advantage when applying to college and suggests that anyone who is able to debate should join.

“Being part of the debate team has opened so many doors when it came to my academic success,” said Garcia. “It forced me to make better decisions and become a better public speaker that proved extremely useful in interviews and other events.”

Ross agreed. He recently won the Gates Millennium student scholarship a full-ride to any college he chooses plus a full-ride to graduate school if desired.

“If it wasn’t for debate, I wouldn’t have been disciplined enough to complete my college applications,” he said. “It also improved my public speaking skills greatly so that I could speak in front of large crowds at conferences.”

On May 14, all BAUDL teams attended a gala dinner at the Asian Cultural Center. Coaches, donors, volunteers and debaters received awards during the event. Garcia received the organization’s top award called the Visionary Award for his commitment to debate and his accomplishments in the program.