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DeBois Takes Debate to Next Level at Harrison High

HARRISON, N.Y. - Juggling the responsibilities of sophomore year, playing clarinet in the Harrison Marching Band and competing on the school's debate team hasn't stopped Danny DeBois.

After competing in a weekend-long regional tournament at Hendrick Hudson , DeBois was one of the first of roughly 70 students nationwide to qualify for the national Tournament of Champions in Kentucky.

"It's really exciting to be one of the first to qualify because not many sophomores do," DeBois said. "The Tournament of Champions is often referred to as the hardest tournament. It's very intense and will require a lot of research."

DeBois, along with several other passionate Harrison debaters, comprise a consistently successful Harrison Husky debate team. Senior Ally Brabant is also one "bid" away from qualifying for the Kentucky tournament.

Brabant has acted as a positive role model and friend, DeBois said, helping the team flourish.

"We're all close to each other," DeBois said. "Everyone, to some degree, can be trusted to do something. It makes us very efficient."

Junior debater Ashley Muller said the tight-knit group also raises benefits in and out of school.

"It's a family," Muller said. "It's great for school because we get to keep up-to-date with current events."

The team practices three to four times a week, with more scheduled in weeks leading up to major competitions under the guidance of advisor Chetan Hertzig.

Junior Hayley Kronthal said her participation with the team relies on her dedication to succeed.

"You can't do it without loving it," Kronthal said. "Otherwise it wouldn't be enjoyable."

DeBois said outside-of-the-classroom drills are also required for success including background research and speaking or rebuttal drills.

"Debates are like a game," DeBois said. "It's not just the quality of your arguments. You also have to sufficiently answer the questions in your allotted time."

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