Two Tucson students compete on national stage

Two Tucson students compete on national stage

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Two Tucson high school students took on the largest academic competition right from their homes this week as the National Speech and Debate Championship went virtual.

It’s one of the only national competitions still standing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The two Catalina Foothills High School students said they never expected it to happen, but this way is a little easier since there’s no travel involved.

Here's how it worked:

  • Debate events happened live on Zoom with judges listening in.
  • Speech events were prerecorded before the deadline and submitted through the website.

Even though they didn't compete in front of an audience, the desire for perfection was still there.

“It’s weird to have to do it in front of a camera, in front of my computer, instead of seeing real people face to face. That aspect has been nerve-wracking for me,” Yusuf Rahman, President of CFHS Speech and Debate, said.

“They’re sticking very close to the original format. There’s not going to be any changes in timing. It’s just a change to an online medium. Frankly, having it online and being able to do it in my bedroom is a lot easier,” Josh Tint, Treasurer of CFHS Speech and Debate, said.

Josh and Yusuf were two of just 77 Arizona competitors.

They're the only two students from Tucson who advanced to the national competition.

Josh placed in the top 20 for his event “Big Questions.”

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