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The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

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Maryn Reimers
Yearbook Social Media Editor

(she/her) Maryn is the social media editor and this is her third year on the Trojan Epic staff. She enjoys being on the dance team, swimming and reading.

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West Speech & Debate members qualify for Nationals

West Speech & Debate wins overall sweepstakes at Districts, and members qualify for Nationals in Des Moines June 16-21.
John Cooper
Members of the West Speech & Debate team pose for a photo after winning sweepstakes at Districts.

West co-hosted the East Iowa District Tournament with Bettendorf High School on Jan. 27 for Congress and Feb. 9-10 for Speech and other forms of Debate. After days of crafting speeches, passionately delivering them at a rapid pace and listening to judges’ RFD (Reason for Decision), the results were in.

Competing against 14 other high schools in the region, West won the overall sweepstakes, placing 1st place Debate sweepstakes and 2nd place Speech sweepstakes.

West students also individually placed in Speech events such as Dramatic Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Informative Speaking, International Extemporary, Original Oratory, Program Oral Interpretation and US Extemporary and Debate events, including Lincoln Douglas, Policy, Public Forum, House and Senate. This is a list of people who have qualified to attend Nationals in Des Moines June 16-21:

Public Forum: Waad Dafalla ’26 & Diana Tivanskaya ’25, Bashir Eltyeb ’25 & Benjamin Kleiman ’24

Lincoln Douglas: Jerry Li ’26 and Gwen Smith ’26

International Extemporary: Evelyn Asay ’25

US Extemporary: Andrew Dong ’24 and Faizaan Ahmed ’27

Congress: Lincoln Beihl ’25 and Endrit Ramku ’27

What are you most excited about Nationals?

Endrit Ramku: “Probably getting [to] the competition and just having fun and being challenged. Just mainly seeing what it’s about because I’ve only seen local Iowa [debaters] and not big hotshot national [debaters].”

How do you prepare for Speech & Debate tournaments?

Waad Dafalla: “I always like to reread all my cases the night before and write down the key points so I can prepare for arguments that the other side likes to make. I usually stay up pretty late to make sure there aren’t any big holes in my arguments. Also, I’m usually pretty jittery before a tournament, so I don’t get much sleep anyway.”

What is your favorite part about Speech & Debate?

Gwen Smith: “My favorite part about Speech and Debate is all the people you get to hang out with. It’s a really good way to get some social interaction in between all of your academics. And you get to spend your weekends with those people, and it’s really fun.”

What advice would you give someone wanting to try Speech & Debate?

Bashir Eltyeb: “Don’t think too hard about it. A lot of the good debaters started off not thinking they would be good at it. Show up to a practice, and if it’s not your thing, that’s fine.”

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About the Contributor
Kamakshee Kuchhal, Lead Print Copy Editor
(she/her) Kamakshee Kuchhal is a senior at West High School and is super excited for her third (and last) year on West Side Story Print Staff. Besides being a writing and grammar nerd (lead copy editor), she is also a debater, volunteer, robotics-member and older sister among many other things.
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