The Debate Team’s Record-Breaking Year

By Sanjana Bajaj

QLS high school students at SFSU’s Western JV Novice Championship.

The Quarry Lane Speech and Debate Program allows middle and high school students to advance their public speaking skills and knowledge of global affairs through various events such as Public Forum Debate and Informative Speaking. Introductory and intermediate middle and high school speech and debate classes are offered, as well as after-school practices on Zoom. Students receive instruction from either the program director (Dr. Thiele), an assistant coach, or a student co-captain. In addition, practice workshops and intramurals are held in order to help students prepare for regional and national tournaments. 

Despite most tournaments remaining on Zoom during this past season, program participation continued to grow, and students across all grades received various awards at the Cal UC Berkeley Invitational, Stanford Palm Classic, Glenbrooks Speech and & Tournament, and more. Students competed in-person for the first time since the pandemic began at SFSU’s Western JV Novice Championship. In April, 6 high school students qualified for and succeeded in the University of Kentucky’s Tournament of Champions (UKTOC), one of the most prestigious “end of the year” tournaments in the nation. Additionally, 27 middle school students competed in the MS Tournament of Champions the following month, and received various awards in Policy and Public Forum Debate, Dramatic and Humorous Interpretation, as well as Impromptu Speaking.  In February, QLS hosted our first Speech & Debate invitational, in which 160 competitors representing 12 schools from 4 states attended. 

Members of the QLS debate team at a tournament

As a member of the QLS debate team, I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the community that has been built here, and am really looking forward to next season! If you are interested in joining the club or would like to learn more, please visit

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