Over President’s Day weekend, the Fairmont Prep debate team traveled to the University of California, Berkeley to participate in the 2016 California Invitational Debate Tournament, the second-largest high school speech and debate tournament in the country. Nine teams competed across two divisions of the Public Forum category and debated the potential outcomes if the United States federal government adopted a carbon tax.

The junior varsity division, composed of 118 teams from across the United States and China, was represented by the duo of Kyle Kishimoto and Adnan Ismail, who finished as quarterfinalists in fifth place. The team of Poppy Promprasert and Scott Hong finished in ninth place as octafinalists. Also advancing to the elimination rounds and placing 17th was the middle school team of Jacob G.and Jennifer C. of Fairmont Historic Anaheim. Jacob was named the 11th-place individual speaker out of 240 students in the junior varsity division.

In the varsity division, teams from 10 states competed for honors in the most difficult tournament in the western United States. At the end of six preliminary rounds, the team of Jake Palmer and Vishwa Padigepati advanced to elimination rounds and finished in 23rd  place as triple octafinalists. After 11 rounds of tough competition, the team of Nicholas Palmer and Austin Kim advanced all the way to the semifinals, placing third out of 207 teams and boosting their national ranking to 13.

Preceding the tournament, Kim and Palmer were invited to compete in the prestigious California Round Robin, hosted by the College Preparatory School in Oakland. Fourteen of the top Public Forum teams in the country were invited to compete for two days, where Kim and Palmer took third place.

The Fairmont debate program will seek to continue its successful season at the National Debate Coaches Association National Championships in Orlando, Florida, as well as at the California High School Speech Association’s State Championship in San Jose and the Tournament of Champions, hosted by the University of Kentucky, all to be held in April 2016.