SHS Debate Team Lives Up To “Team of the Year” Title


Meilyn Martinez Ibanez, Correspondent

On March 25, 2023, Stamford High School hosted the Connecticut Debate Association (CDA) for the first time since schools closed down for COVID-19. A total of 114 debaters who placed in the top five across all of the CDA tournaments this year came together at Stamford High for the first State Finals hosted here in 20 years. Not only was the tournament monumental because of the circumstances, but Stamford High’s very own debate team placed better than it has in decades.

This season, Stamford High qualified the most debaters for States than any other team in Connecticut, and the city of Stamford was responsible for more than a third of all debaters present. As for the Black Knights, sophomores Hayden Katz and Meher Jain placed first and fourth in novice speakers, respectively. As teams, fellow debaters Julia Schager (junior) and Ryan Shoztic (senior) garnered the most points and placed first. Ryan Shoztic also placed first in varsity speakers, awarding Stamford High School a combined three out of four state championships.

Jeremy White, a teacher here at Stamford High and coach of our debate team, expressed gratitude to his students for their dedication and time. When asked about leading the whole team, he said, “[They’re] some of the best I’ve had.” In regards to senior captain Ryan Shoztic, he said, “It’s a great way to end his career as a senior…He’s been pretty dominant in his career.”

Regarding his personal experience, Ryan Shoztic said, “It was a really great experience; it’s sad as it was my last tournament. It meant a lot to me as it was also Mr. White’s last year and my first time placing first in states in my career.”