The team has grown in strength and numbers while members grow in confidence and resilience.
Three members of the Montrose Speech and Debate Team brought home trophies from the recent Lincoln-Sudbury tournament: Co-captain Anna Hvidsten ‘23 won first place in Impromptu, Raine Niebuhr ‘24 won 4th place in Children’s Literature, and Audrey Kelly ‘23 won 6th place in Group Discussion. At December’s Holly Tournament, Anna and co-captain Chaitanya Arora ‘23 placed 1st and 7th in Impromptu, respectively.
The Team has been excelling this season, both in strength and numbers. According to Chaitanya, after two years of virtual competitions, the new school year provided the opportunity for a growth spurt in the team. “And even our veteran members have been trying new categories - this year has been the perfect time to try something new,” she said. Anna attributes this continued growth to word-of-mouth. “We’ve had a lot of successful tournaments where several of our members brought home trophies. When this news is announced to the school, it speaks for itself and helps draw in younger members as well as members who left during the pandemic years.”
“Most people hate public speaking for fear of being judged,” noted team faculty advisor Mary Catherine Archbold. “Our girls ask you to judge them for their public speaking, and they face this judgment head-on, learning to take constructive criticism, be resilient, and improve in a wide range of skills with enthusiasm.” She credited the Montrose environment with providing the girls the confidence they need for this challenge. “A Montrose education gives girls the good habits of mind, heart and character they need to thrive. Competing in Speech and Debate allows them to demonstrate these good habits in action.”
Team members point to the benefits from competing in Speech and Debate. “Competing in Impromptu, you learn to formulate your thoughts quickly and concisely. This has helped my work in Student Government, Bipartisan Club, and Multicultural Club. Speech has been the foundation of that for me,” said Anna. Audrey Kelly ‘23 agreed: “Competing in Group Discussion has definitely increased my confidence in my voice and taught me that the power of valid arguments always outweighs loud voices and intimidation tactics.”
Audrey added, “Being in Montrose's all-girls environment where I am always treated as an equal and challenged to think critically has been the foundation of this confidence. It's what allows me to remain unshaken and courageous, even during tense rounds of Group Discussion.”