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Speech & Debate Team Seeking Coach

The BHS speech & debate team pictured at the state tournament in 2013. From left to right: Varun Jambanath, Beth Moses, Anshika Niraj and Jessie Gill.

The BHS speech & debate team pictured at the state tournament in 2013. From left to right: Varun Jambanath, Beth Moses, Anshika Niraj and Jessie Gill.

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Since September, speech & debate team captain Swathi Srinivasan has been struggling to get this year’s team rolling.

This is hard to do without a coach.

“We have had an introductory meeting, and I have prepared competition dates and materials for the potential members to work with; however, we do not yet have an adviser and are actively looking for one,” Srinivasan wrote in an email.

“I’ve talked with people in various levels of Beachwood administration regarding this matter, though they’re all busy people,” Srinivasan explained.

Speech & debate coach requires specialized knowledge and a tremendous time commitment.

“I think that could be a difficult [position to fill] because of the amount of time, energy, effort and background knowledge the position requires,” said English teacher Nicole Majercak, who coached the team from its 2008 restart until last year.

“For the last several years I’ve tried to find someone to replace myself, but it’s extremely difficult to find people with that kind of knowledge and commitment,” she added.

Last year, the team was coached by Majercak with help from 2011 alum Jove Tse.

This year she is unable to coach the team since she is also advising The Oculus yearbook. Under Majercak’s leadership, the team produced state champions and regularly competed at national tournaments.

The 2012-2013 team was particularly strong. Three students placed at the state tournament that year, including Jessie Gill (class of ‘13) who placed first in humorous interpretation for the second year in a row.

The speech & debate team did have a sign-up sheet during activities week this fall. All students who signed up were called to a meeting with Student Activities Coordinator Craig Alexander on Oct. 5.

21 students attended, the majority of whom were underclassmen.

Srinivasan attended the meeting and explained that they would need to find a new coach before competing at tournaments this year.  

I’d like to prepare the kids for next year, and at least get them to the point where they are confident in their skills so they can, at least, compete in the following year.”

— Speech & debate team captain Swathi Srinivasan

“Last year we had a really good speech & debate team,” said sophomore Nam Nguyen, who was on the team last year. “At least two people attended national tournaments.”

According to Srinivasan, last year’s team was promising.

“[It] included a lot of freshman talent,” she said. “The team would routinely place.”

Srinivasan still hopes to see the team succeed this year. She points out that there are interested students.

“Though they are not yet prepared to compete, I have resources that can get them there,” she wrote. “I do think we may be able to pull off a few local tournaments at the tail-end of the season.”

“More importantly, however, I’d like to prepare the kids for next year, and at least get them to the point where they are confident in their skills so they can, at least, compete in the following year,” she added.

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Speech & Debate Team Seeking Coach