Mid-November 2021 Accolades

Danny Stock
Accolades from Quizbowl, Augur Bit, and Debate

A Big Win from Quizbowl

The GDS Quizbowl team dominated the Johns Hopkins Fall Tournament, dropping just a single round out of ten total, to win outright. With their performance, the team of Ashok Tate ’23, Ethan Wolin ’23, Lyra Gemmill-Nexon ’22, and Shiv Raman ’23 have qualified for nationals. Additionally, Lyra won the top scorer prize at the tournament.

Shiv said, “Lyra was far and away the MVP of the team, as they averaged around 120 points per game, the highest in the tournament. The rest of us did pretty well playing with such a highly ranked quizbowl player.”

Ashok agreed, adding, “A significant part of our success can be tied to Lyra, whose impact went beyond simply being the leading scorer as they also got many "bonus questions" correct which gave us a lot of points. However, Shiv and Ethan also contributed to the team by both answering questions and helping catch errors any of us made.”

“Ashok had one great moment during one match where he won us the game on a question about the number e*,” Shiv noted. “Seeing our team succeed this past weekend has made me want to work harder to become a better player.”

“Some of our rounds went down to a single question,” Ashok said, “so everybody's contribution was felt.”

"Just playing Quizbowl in person again after such a long hiatus was very satisfying, and winning the tournament—in large part due to Lyra's knowledge—was a cherry on top,” Ethan reflected. “I have great memories from my time at the same tournament as a freshman, and I'm excited for underclassmen to gain experience at tournaments this school year, too." 

Younger players could begin in tournaments as soon as December, though details are still in the works.

Congratulations to the team and the “It’s Academic!” coaches Abraham Pachikara (9th grade dean and HS history teacher) and Sue Ikenberry (HS history teacher), who have been filling in until a Quizbowl coach can be identified. Sue noted how “remarkably dedicated” this group has been. They are all members of the cross country team and meet, without fail, directly after school before the start of team practice. Dare we say that High School support for the team remains a mathematical constant many orders of magnitude higher than e?

*The mathematical constant—approximately 2.7182818284590452353602874713527—is sometimes referred to as Euler's number, after the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler.

Augur Bit

This past weekend, the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) announced the winner of the social justice reporting award: Jacqueline Metzger ’23 and Ethan Wolin ’23 for their Augur Bit article about @BlackatGDS. 

Prior to the announcement of the winners, faculty advisor Julia Fisher ’09 reacted to their selection as finalists. “NSPA awards are probably the most prestigious scholastic press awards in the country—so, needless to say, even being a finalist (one of just ten, nationwide) is a big accomplishment,” she explained. 

Their 2,600-word deeply researched article followed the responses of numerous GDS community constituents, including students, staff, administrators, alumni, and alumni board members, over the three and a half months following the creation of Black at GDS on Instagram. Congratulations to Ethan and Jacqueline on this honor as well as Julia, in her capacity as faculty advisor. Finally, congratulations to Nick Penniman ’22 and Tabitha Lynn ’21 , who were the Bit's editors-in-chief at the time. 


Thanks to debate director jon sharp and head coach Gabe Koo for sending these updates:

Earlier this month, the team of Beck Holtzman ’25 and Peter Kumar ’25 competed at their first tournament this year and ended with a respectable 3-3 record in the public forum division. They were one win away from making it to the elimination rounds.

The team of Mark Orr ’24 and Ike Song ’24 absolutely killed it. By having a 5-2 record in the preliminary rounds, they punched their ticket to the elimination bracket of the JV division. From there, they proceeded to march their way to the FINALS where they eventually dropped. They ended their run as the second best team in the division. Not too shabby.

This past weekend, several teams representing GDS Debate competed at the WUDL Dragon Invitational, collecting a number of top awards and significant team firsts:

  • In the Varsity division, the team of Juniors Sophie Bronner and Griffin Brown ("GDS BB") had a spectacular weekend. Individually, Sophie was recognized as the overall Top Speaker at the tournament; with their 5-1 preliminary record, Sophie and Griffin were the top seed and made it to the Semifinals before being narrowly defeated on a 2-1 decision.
  • Also in this division, Sophomores Mark Orr and Ike Song pulled out a win, a solid showing at their first Varsity-level competition.
  • In the Novice division, the Frosh team of Dhilan Desai and Nora Schrag bagged three wins, earning them a 4th place seeding and a spot in the Semifinals at their first high school debate competition.

Finally, we at GDS Debate would like to extend our compliments and gratitude to our virtual hosts, the fine debaters, teachers, coaches, administrators, and volunteers of the Washington Urban Debate League (WUDL, or pronounced "WOO'dl"), including our friends at the DC International School, who would have been our physical hosts in a different year. Their tournament was excellent, but that is characteristic of this incredible league.

If you would like to know more about the WUDL and its good works, you can check them out at https://www.urbandebatewashingtondc.org

Gabe and jon