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Paly junior wins state debating championship

Original post made on Apr 28, 2009

Palo Alto High School junior Avi Arfin earned the title of State Champion in the California High School Speech Association Lincoln-Douglas Debates Sunday. Arfin emerged the winner after a three-day competition in Los Angeles among California's 64 top high school debaters.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 27, 2009, 5:10 PM

Comments (30)

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Posted by Jill & Scott
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Great job! Congratulations to Avi, awesome coach Jennie Savage, and the entire Paly debate team. Way to go! We are very proud.


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Posted by Ann
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Congratulations, Avi!!! Good job Paly Debate Team coaches!


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Posted by Guy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Thanks for covering debate. It's a wonderful high school program.


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Posted by Anjali
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Congrats Avi!
We are so proud of you.


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Posted by Hoon
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Congratulations to Avi and to the Palo Alto team. Winning State is such an unbelievable challenge, and it's exciting that Paly and Avi won it all.

For those interested, there are twelve speech events and four debate events in California - so please support speech and debate in the area! Students learn to become confident, to listen to others, to advocate for people different than themselves, and to tailor their pitch to how adults think and need to hear information - organization, appeal, logic, examples.

Avi - hope you get to enjoy this even as you hopped on a plane to a national math competition!


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm

The policy-making education that debate provides is unmatched in any other activity or curriculum. It is great to see Avi make such a great accomplishment.


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Posted by Carter
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Great job Avi! You are SUCH a beast!


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Posted by Anton
a resident of University South
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Given the awesome competition in California, the win shines not only on Avi and Paly Debate, but our whole community as well. I couldn't be prouder!


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Posted by Abeezer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Conratulations to Avi & the entire Paly Debate Team, the Coaches (especially Jennie Savage) & all the others who support the Debate Program at Paly.
We know how benficial this program is to our kids & we hope that Paly will soon start up a regular debate class so that we can compete even more effectively against schools who already have debate classes.


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Posted by Salim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Congrats to Avi and the entire Paly Deabte team and coaches. You put in so much effort and dedication, you all deserve this win.
Wishing you all the best in debate competitions!

Many, many thanks and gratitude to Jennie and her coaches.
Great job!


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Posted by Dunn
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Nice job LDers, and thanks for covering this, Weekly.


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Posted by Uma Veerappan
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Congratulations Avi-winning this tournament is a HUGE achievement! I completely agree with Jennie when she describes debate as arguing "passionately, emotionally, intellectually and persuasively both sides of an issue". In addition to gathering the skills Jennie described by participating in this activity, I feel debate has helped me strengthen my listening, note taking, critical thinking, analytical, and organizational skills.


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Posted by Judy Colvin
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Fantastic win Avi! Congratulations to all the PALY Debaters and your coaches, led by Jennie Savage. It is wonderful to see all of your hard work, practice, skill and talent come together and shine!


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Posted by Catherine & Phil Carter
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:20 pm

What an accomplishment and what a wonderful way to honor fellow teammates and coaches at Palo Alto High School!

This is an extraordinary program led by a very committed head coach and supported by a very capable coaching staff. It truly does foster awareness, critical thinking, and discipline. Excellence in debate is exactly what a school like Paly should be known for.

Congratulations Avi!


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Posted by Olson
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Congrats to all the debaters and coaches who've supported each other to create an enriching experience!


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Posted by David Salaverry
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Recently on NPR, I was listening to a commentator lament the state of national political debate. The usual complaints, "It's all sound bytes, media moderators, talking points and spin rooms... but no wonder, no one is teaching debate in the high schools and colleges like they used to."

Not true at Paly! We're creating the next generation of persuaders, one team member at a time, hearkening back to Lincoln/Douglas and as far back as those argumentative Greeks tossing brickbats in Athens. Congrats to all involved, especially Jennie Savage and all the dedicated parents behind the scenes who carpool their kids and judge the events.

And... way to go Avi!


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Posted by cmiller
a resident of University South
on Apr 28, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Congrats to Avi, Paly debate team, and the entire coaching team!

It has been a rewarding experience for my freshman. Great opportunity to do research on world events and national issues. Excellent medium for public and persuasive communication development. Grand forum to challenge themselves and expand their horizon.

Highly recommended program. Should be a required course in High School.


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Posted by Chloe
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Congratulations, Avi! We're so proud of your extraordinary achievement. Debate is a great activity and deserves much more support from the school for all of the great skills that it teaches students.


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Posted by Jujhaar
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 28, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Avi - in case the comments above didn't get the message across CONGRATS!
Debate is an activity that deserves more attention and funding, and this win will help residents and administrators understand the benefits and positive impacts the activity generates.


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Posted by toby
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 29, 2009 at 9:11 am

congratulations avi and the LD team!!

debate is an excellent and fun activity that is oftentimes underappreciated, yet we all benefit from it!

also, let's thank our coaches for helping us throughout the whole year, getting us into tournaments and doing their job - coaching us!


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Posted by Ben Lenail
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:59 am

Congrats to the whole team. It's wonderful to see these kids rediscover the art of eloquent rhetoric. They have also thoroughly researched the issues, and thus have substance. This is wonderful in this day and age.


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Posted by John Olson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 29, 2009 at 12:52 pm

WOOT go Avi!


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Posted by Nate Munger
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 29, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Avi=beast, winning state is not easy.


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Posted by Tom Padgett
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Congratulations from Strake Jesuit in Houston Texas!


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Posted by Elizabeth Duncan
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Congratulations to Avi and the whole Paly Debate Team, including Jujhar who competed in the State Tournament also. I am bursting with pride for my daughter, Jennie Savage, the Debate Coach, who REALLY CARES about "my kids" as she calls the team. She loves them all. Good teachers are worth their weight in gold.


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Posted by Lucas
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 29, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Congratulations Avi, all your hard work and dedication has paid off in one amazing (and definitely repeatable) successful for the championship!
What a way to finish the 2008-2009 Paly debate season!

Now, about next year...


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Posted by Zarek
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 29, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Wow Avi, awesome job! I hope I an learn from and you! :D


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Posted by haelin
a resident of Downtown North
on May 3, 2009 at 10:33 am

Great job, Avi!
Paly is so proud of you and we were talking about your victory for days.

Great job. What a reward for harwork!


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Posted by Jon Cruz
a resident of another community
on May 5, 2009 at 7:24 am

Congratulations, Avi, from your fans in New York!


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Posted by Nirvair Singh
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Great win for a great team and a great coach!

I would like to thank coach Savage for posting a
perspective at Web Link as well.


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