August 1, 2022
Dear Paly Speech & Debate,
You’ve probably heard by now about our history-making conclusion to last season: Ethan Boneh won the first National Championship title in team history in Big Questions! Additionally in Big Questions, Mihir Menon advanced to quarterfinals; in Congressional Debate Lucas Guan advanced to semifinals, and although Benjamin Grimes didn’t break to elimination rounds, all of his teammates noted their appreciation for his selfless support. I couldn’t be prouder of these four leaders!
Speaking of being proud of student leaders, we also wrapped up two successful weeks of Speech & Debate Camp, thanks to the superb leadership of student Camp Directors Drew Vetteth & Johannah Seah, and Assistant Directors Christie Hong & Mihir Menon.
In April at the Annual Banquet, Jennie Savage announced her retirement and transition to Director Emeritus after a storied 18-year tenure. In her new role, Jennie will advise me as I become the new Program Director. Rest assured that Jennie’s warmth of personality, depth of intellect, and wellspring of wisdom will continue to benefit our team.
Sarah Simon, Assistant Director and Head Coach of PF & Speech, also moves on to begin her career after graduating from Stanford Law School. I’m grateful for Sarah’s friendship, leadership, and mentorship this season. She leaves behind a high standard of excellence, both for future coaches and for our students.
With so many fond memories behind us, it’s now time to look ahead. I’m unreservedly optimistic, confident, and enthusiastic about the future of our program.
We enjoy generous support from parents/guardians (special thanks to Colleen Gormley who returns as Parent Coordinator; and Vikas Bhatia who joins as Parent Treasurer), alumni, and the school community.
Our students are incredible: they pursue excellence; learn voraciously; take creative and intellectual risks; support and mentor their teammates; celebrate good times and commiserate through bad times. Simply put, they made stepping up to be the next Program Director a no-brainer for me.
Many of you have asked about tournaments for the upcoming season; so here's our tentative tournament calendar!
As of August 1st, I’ve brought aboard a record-setting 15 coaches for next season, bringing our projected coach:student ratio below 1:5.
I intend to be proactive, visible, and accessible as we prepare for next season. Lincoln “acknowledged [himself] the servant of the people.” Inspired by his inimitable example, I welcome your feedback, questions, and ideas for our program–as I am here to serve you.
I hope you enjoy the contents of this update and find it both exciting and informative as you, too, begin to look ahead to next season. I'll be reaching out later in August with details on the start of regular activities, like practices and info session.
Enjoy the rest of your summers! I hope to hear from you soon and often as we begin the new season.