School news

Debate students excel in state & circuit competitions, showcasing T-2-4 Core Characteristics

PICTURED: Cristopher Melendez & Colin Blakeslee

Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD) is proud to celebrate the exceptional performances of its debate students from Memorial and Spring Woods High Schools, who recently won various state and circuit competitions.

These impressive achievements are a testament to the Core Characteristics of a T-2-4 Ready Graduate that SBISD is committed to developing in Every Child.

Memorial High School emerged as a standout in the competition, with junior David Xu claiming victory in the national circuit tournament at the University of Houston. Additionally, seniors Ivan Ting and Jeremy Tu showcased their talents by reaching the elimination rounds of the same competition and qualifying for the Texas Forensics Association (TFA) State competition. To date, Memorial High's students have amassed an impressive total of 15 TFA State qualifications.

Furthermore, Senior Colin Blakeslee's remarkable performance in the UIL state finals in Congressional Debate marked the first time a Memorial High student placed in the top six. His fourth-place win at the finals, held at the State Capitol in Austin, is a testament to his outstanding abilities.

Leading these students to success is the dedicated Director of Forensics at Memorial High School, Harry Yu. Yu's commitment to his student’s growth and development has enabled students to hone their skills and display excellence in competition.

"It's incredible to see Memorial Debaters compete at extremely high levels, especially because they are hungry for competition," said Yu. "I'm so proud of their resilience because debate is a question of endurance. They are competing 6 to 12 hours to reach the end of a tournament, and they always want more."

Yu is also an alumnus of the debate program at Spring Woods High School and a former student of SBISD educator, Victoria Beard, who is celebrating Spring Woods High’s own wins at competition.

Cristopher Melendez, a 12th-grade student, qualified for the UIL State 6A Meet in Congressional Debate, marking his second consecutive year qualifying. Last year, he placed fourth at UIL State. This year, he placed third in the grueling 16-hour debate spread over two days. Spring Woods HS Debate has also qualified a congressional debater to UIL State for the past nine years and has had many finalists.

“Debate is crucial because it teaches critical thinking skills, helps students develop self-confidence through public speaking, as well as develops leadership skills,” said Beard.

We are proud to celebrate the successes of our Mustangs and Tigers, whose victories in competitions showcase the legacy of great debate in SBISD!

To learn more about SBISD Core Characteristics of a T-2-4 Ready Graduate, click here.