By Ellie Gibbs

The University of California Berkeley recently hosted the Cal Invitational, a national speech and debate tournament for high schoolers to compete in at least 12 speaking events.

2017 Cal Invitational

Every year, the tournament brings in large crowds due to its location and reputation. Kids enjoy getting the opportunity to explore Berkeley’s campus and do what they love most. Adnan Ismail, an 11th grade Public Forum debater says "With a buzzing urban environment, great competition, and good food, the Cal Invitational at UC Berkeley is some of the most fun a debater could have all year round."

2017 Cal Invitational 2

One of the biggest reasons debaters come to this tournament is in hopes of earning a “bid” for the Tournament of Champions at the end of the year. One must earn their place in this prestigious competition by advancing to a certain level in other national tournaments throughout the year. This particular tournament was an octafinals bid for Public Forum, for example, so the top 16 teams at this tournament of over 200 teams had this opportunity.

The winner in varsity Public Forum was Nueva AT (the first word being the school and the letter representing the initials of the students’ last names). The winner in varsity Policy Debate was Peninsula TW and the winner in varsity Lincoln-Douglas (with only one person per team) was Lynbrook CW. (for more information on results, please click here.)

Each event had it’s own topic to discuss and each team had a new way to look at it:

  • Lincoln-Douglas: Public colleges and universities in the United States ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech.
  • Public Forum: Resolved: The United States should lift its embargo against Cuba.
  • Policy Debate: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.

Overall, this competitive speaking activity is one of the most addicting and exciting ones a high schooler could ask for and the opportunity to have fun and travel is one that obviously over 500 kids couldn’t pass up.