From an inexperienced young 5th grade debater to a highly successful member of the Marlborough high school debate team, Jocelyn ’23 adds receiving a bid to the Tournament of Champions in December 2020 to her list of accomplishments. The Tournament of Champions is a highly prestigious national high school debate tournament that takes place yearly.
Jocelyn began her debate career in elementary school.
“I first started debating out of an interest in research,” Jocelyn said. “In particular, the idea of being able to work with others to learn about new topics intrigued me.”
She later joined the Marlborough debate community through the 7th grade debate elective and her passion grew. Ever since, she has been actively participating in the Marlborough debate team, competing in tournaments and even in improvised debates as a cast member of “What the Constitution Means to Me” in L.A. and Chicago.
Now that Jocelyn has one bid, she is required to earn at least one other bid to automatically qualify for the Tournament of Champions. Two or more bids are necessary to be an automatic qualifier. However, one can apply to attend the tournament with a single bid. Bids are obtained through success at other reputable tournaments. This three-day national debate tournament, one of the most competitive American high school debate tournaments, takes place annually at the University of Kentucky in April. Of the formats and events in this tournament, the Marlborough debate team competes in the Lincoln Douglas style of debate.
The tournament will be held virtually. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jocelyn has had to adjust to online tournaments. However, she does not feel this shift has affected her debate experience to a large extent.
“The team still holds practice, attends tournaments, etc. so things are the same in that regard.” Jocelyn said. “In fact, I’ve actually been able to go to more tournaments now that they are online because we are lucky enough for the school to pay for our tournament entry fees.”
Jocelyn was able to virtually attend the 2020 Alta Silver and Black Invitational where she co-championed the invitational with a fellow debater from a different school. She then got a bid.
“Earning a bid means a lot to me!” Jocelyn said. “Even though it’s only really indicative of my performance at one tournament, it motivates me to keep going.”