Spotlight on Our Debaters
Read about SVUDL’s Rising Stars and Alumni Debaters. For many, learning to debate changed their lives by helping them refocus, find their passion, and follow a purpose.
Jasleen Randhawa, a rising junior at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, was a member of one of the teams representing SVUDL at the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) championship tournament in Washington, D.C. in April 2019, and a member of the SVUDL team that placed 9th out of more than 200 teams at the National Forensic League championship tournament in Milwaukee in May 2019. She recently shared how SVUDL has changed her perspective on her own life and her goals for the future - click to read the full interview here
Avi Goel, Sandy Ouk, Jasleen Randhawa and Tiffany Tran, all students at Silver Creek High School in San Jose and coached by SVUDL Head Coach Jimi Morales, represented SVUDL during the 2019 National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) Championship Tournament in Washington, D.C. They earned this opportunity at our Henrietta Bells Nationals Qualifiers tournament in February. As part of the trip. As part of their trip to Washington, D.C., they had a special opportunity to visit the chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court!
SVUDL debater Sofia Funk, a student at Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School, recently completed a 2019 summer internship for high school students interested in public interest law and serving the San Jose community. In partnership with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, the SVUDL internship program is only one week long, but it makes a lasting impact for a lifetime. Read her reflections of her internship here
Kierra is a junior and the heart of her debate team. She has never missed a tournament and works diligently to strengthen the SVUDL Women's Association. As co-captain of the team, she aims to make debate an even bigger part of her school's culture. She recently organized a public debate at the Sidley Austin law firm. "Debate has helped me advocate for myself and my fellow students." Kierra has her eye on a career in the legal field and has already started plans to open her law firm in the future.
A cadet staff sergeant for Junior ROTC, Ralph's favorite subjects are government and history. He plans to attend college, become an officer in the Marine Corps, and then parlay his education and experience into a career in politics- culminating in the Presidency of the United States! Along with natural leadership acumen, Ralph demonstrates impressive dedication to debate. He competed in his first tournament last spring, and took home First Team Overall honors in his second tournament in September. This focused young man is finding his voice and preparing to shine bright in the future!
Denise is a junior and a student leader on campus. She has helped recruit over a dozen new debaters to her squad at Silver Creek. In her own words, "debate has helped me become the best possible me". She represented SVUDL in the Hewlett Packard Enterprises- sponsored Moot Court event, which featured Bay Area judges and politicians. She is multi-talented with extracurricular activities that include debate, the Women's Association, track and field, and modeling.
Blanca is co-captain of the debate team at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy where she mentors middle school students. She is a proud young Mexican woman who believes strongly in community building. Her goal is to graduate from college and use her talents to create opportunities for others. She is ambitiously considering two career paths: law and fashion. This will allow her to stylishly fight for the rights of undocumented workers and others in the community who face discrimination.
Santi is a fierce policy debater. In his third debate ever he took home the Top Novice team award! He first got involved in debate for the scholarship opportunities, but kept with it because "the people and SVUDL...made me feel welcome and became my second family." Santi loves policy debate in particular and the opportunity it presents to feast on the intellectual richness of an issue by examining it from multiple perspectives. He hopes to one day take his experience and love of debate into the courtroom as a lawyer and eventually start his own defense firm.
Dominic is a focused student and currently serves as captain of the Junior Varsity squad at Overfelt. As a second year debater, he has been a huge asset to the SVUDL program. Last year he presented at Google and debated at a national tournament. Dominic plans to open his own law firm that will focus on helping small businesses in low income communities, and has his sights on attending an international university. He is currently studying Japanese, along with martial arts, boxing, journalism, and photography.