Thursday, August 27, 2015 — On August 27, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley visitedMaspeth High School to support the accomplishments of the team’s new, successful Speech & Debate Team. This past school year, Maspeth’s Victoria Panata and Arielle Gallegos won the 2015 Citi Foundation HS Championships in Public Forumand went on to compete in the prestigious National DebateCoaches Association (NDCA) National Championships held inLas Vegas, Nevada. Debating and competing almost every weekend in both local and national tournaments has transformed the students competitively, intellectually, and professionally. Senior Arielle Gallegos said, “Debate helped me to become very confident and skilled with public speaking.” Senior Rocky Sanabria said, “Competing in debate tournaments helped me to understand popular issues and current events on a much more nuanced and academic level.” Jordy Portugal, Maspeth’s most recent Debate Team Captain, graduated high school with an admission and full scholarship to Columbia University; he attributes much of his acceptance to his history in debate. Debate is one of the most effective extracurricular activities students can participate in. “As an English teacher, I have seen students’ reading, writing, and analytical skills transformed after they’ve joined debate. Their understanding of argumentation and textual analysis becomes incredibly professional and academic. This is all developed through the rigorous and challenging process of writing their own cases, researching complex current events and philosophies, and, of course, intensively debating at tournaments,” said Debate Coach Miss Su. Maspeth High School is proud to represent Queens through its high-achieving Speech & Debate Team.