Victory for KIS: Speech and Debate

It’s not just the sports team that brought brought victory back to KIS last weekend!

During the two-day span of October 14th to October 15th, KAIAC held its very first forensics competition and of course, KIS Speech and Debate team was there for one reason and one reason only – to conquer. Speech was held on Friday, while Debate was held on Saturday, both of which were hosted at YISS (Yongsan International School of Seoul).

The Speech team went to the the final rounds for every category, with Juliet Miinalainen (‘17) proceeding to final rounds in Poetry, Amy Kang (‘17) in Impromptu, Elizabeth Lee (‘18) in Extemporaneous, and Amy Choi (‘17) in Prose. In terms of placing, KIS dominated. Leanne Kim (‘19) came in second place in Extemporaneous, Naidan Ganbold (’17) came in second in Original Oratory, Sara Kim (‘18) came in second in Prose, Hope Yoon (‘19) came in third and Matthew Kim (‘18) first both in the Poetry category. In terms of the two interpretation categories, KIS couldn’t have done any better. All three competitors in the Solo Interpretation category placed, with Amy Choi (‘17) coming in first, Tahee Strein (‘20) second, and Noah Kim (‘18) third. Same goes for Duo Interpretation, with Leona Maruyama (‘17) and Erica Lee (‘17) taking first place, Amy Kang (‘17) and Joy Youn (‘17) second, and finally, Tiffany Namkoong (‘18) and Katie Koo (‘18) third. A glorious double sweep! 

Debate team also met high expectations. Ye Chan Song (‘18) placed first in Lincoln-Douglas, Leanne Kim (‘19) and Jay Jang (‘17) came in first in Public Forum, and Jenny Chung (‘19) and Ricky Seo (‘18) came in second in Parliamentary. Despite two of the three debate captains Chan Ha Hong (‘17) and Yujeong Lee (‘17) not being able to attend due to AISA tournaments, the debaters maintained their confident way of speaking and eloquence of words. Congratulations to all KIS debaters! 

Speech and Debate is off to a great start of the year, and both teams will only grow from here on now. The next competition is to be held at SIS (Seoul International School), on the dates November 18th and November 19th. The Forensics team has made KIS proud, once again! 

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: KIS Speech Team Facebook Group

The Logical and Eloquent: The KIS Speech and Debate Team

KIS’s very own forensics team was arguably the best in their first fall tournament of the year.

The October KAIAC Speech and Debate Competition, the first speech and debate tournament of the year, was a huge triumph for KIS. Championing the first place rank not only as a school for both speech and debate, our KIS speakers and debaters definitely deserve a big round of applause for having put in a tremendous amount of effort into this competition. Every member of the team worked exceptionally diligently after hours of practice over the past month, working to polish their debate skills and perfecting their speeches.

The Amazing KIS Speech and Debate Team The Amazing KIS Speech and Debate Team

This competition was the first KAIAC competition for many students, especially the freshmen on the team. KIS Blueprint interviewed several students about their experiences in their first tournament.

“I guess for me it was a bit uncomfortable because I didn’t debate with my usual partner (Ariel) and there weren’t really many times to actually talk to my other partner so it was a bit of a struggle. However, I think we did well with the little practice we had together, and the competition wasn’t really intimidating or anything, but it might just be me. A lot of people were polite and friendly! :)”

– Jessica Kwon (‘19), Debate Team, Public Forum

“Because it was my first tournament, I’m not disappointed at all even without placing, because I was able to learn so much from the experience and witness so much talent out there!”

– Hope Yoon (‘19), Speech Team, Poetry

“It was great for me.”

– Marc Yoon (‘19), Debate Team, Public Forum

“It was a really great learning experience for me as I was able to witness and learn a lot of things, not only speech related! I was able to build more relationships with members of the KIS speech team, but also members of speech teams from other schools! Although at times we were frustrated and angry, overall, the experience is something I’ll never forget :)”

– Jenny Chung (‘19), Speech Team, Extemporaneous Speaking

“It was fun! I hated the food, though.”

– Leanne Kim (‘19), Speech & Debate Team, Original Oratory & Public Forum

The Amazing KIS Speech and Debate TeamThe Amazing KIS Speech and Debate Team

Although there were some conflicts that occurred due to unexpected results, the tournament hosted at KIS ran pretty smoothly, due to the help of many behind-the-scenes workers. Timers and tabroom workers, who were voluntary KIS students, helped the judges out with timing the speeches and debates, and also with tabulating all of the results as quickly and as accurately as possible. Team captains ran around the school, organizing and making sure that all of the judges, coaches, debaters, speakers, and timers were in the right place. Mr. Burwell and Ms. Cuellar continuously circled back and forth around all the rooms, checking on the students as well as how the competition was running.

Our debate team achieved exceptionally high results: in Public Forum, Leanne Kim and Marc Yoon placed first, while Amy Kang and Jessica Kwon placed third. Eddie Kim won second place for Lincoln Douglas debate, and for Parliamentary debate, Jerry Kim and Claire Pak placed fourth. Furthermore, many members of the speech team received accolades for their superb performance: for Original Oratory, Amy Kang won first place while Chloe Shin was a finalist. Skylar Kim placed first, Amy Choi second, and Noah Kim a finalist for Solo Interpretation. For Poetry, Matthew Kim won second place, while Hope Yoon was a finalist. In Extemporaneous Speaking, Jenny Chung won second place, and Subin Hur was a finalist. Sara Kim placed first in Prose, while Michelle Park and Sally Lee were finalists. Katie Koo was third for Impromptu, while Sally Hong was a finalist. Finally, Leona Maruyama and Erica Lee placed third for Duo Interpretation, while Tiffany Namkoong and Suahn Hur were finalists.

The Amazing KIS Speech and Debate Team The Amazing KIS Speech and Debate Team The Amazing KIS Speech and Debate Team The Amazing KIS Speech and Debate Team

As a member of the debate team myself, I personally know how hard each of the team members worked to accomplish such great achievements, and how hard everyone who participated must have worked to do so. I hope that in the future competitions, KIS will defend its title.


– Ariel Hyunseo Kim (’19)

Speech & Debate Team Take Stanford

Check out our exclusive scoop of the KIS Speech and Debate Team’s week in one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Should just governments require that employers pay a living wage? Should voting be compulsory in a democracy? The KIS Speech & Debate Team confidently answered such controversial questions when they attended the Stanford Invitational Tournament from February 7, 2015 to February 9, 2015.

The KIS Speech & Debate Team is renowned for its successes in the KAIAC tournaments. The team was proudly presented the first place plaque for two years straight, and is currently first place overall for the ’14-’15 KAIAC rounds.

KAIAC 1st Place: “Most” of the KIS Debate Team gather to participate in the #3wselfie challenge that took place in KIS earlier this year.  // Monica Lee (’15)

And as a result of such successful results, the team was invited to the prestigious speech and debate tournament that took place at Stanford University. Despite the fact that these heavily involved individuals would be absent from several classes and would have to attend school right away the day after they returned with severe cases of jet lag, a number of the members took up the challenge with enthusiasm.

A Familiar Face: Jerry Kim (’16, right) and Ye Chan Song (’18, left) got to run into KIS alum Andrew Lee (’14, center, Stanford University). // Subin Hur (’16)

The tournament consisted of numerous different categories: National Extemp, International Extemp, Oratory, Dramatic, Spar, Expos, Duo, Humorous, Impromptu, Oratorical Interp, LD, Policy, Public Forum, Parliamentary, and Congress for both varsity and JV rounds. The KIS Debate Team participated in three different categories: LD, Public Forum, and Parliamentary, while the KIS Speech Team participated in one: Duo.

“It was truly an enlightening experience, during which I could witness the high quality debate at a national level,” said Subin Hur (’16) while participating in the Varsity Public Forum. “The amount of effort people put into the tournament was beyond my expectation.”

Another participant, Chanwu Oh (’16), who participated in Varsity Parliamentary, also had a lot to say about the tournament and the trip. “In terms of the debate, it was definitely fun, but most importantly it was different since American styles of debate have different rules and tactics compared to the Korean/Asian debates. We had to adjust our strategies on the spot, and I think that was very valuable in terms of adding to our experiences as debaters. In terms of the overall atmosphere, Stanford was beautiful, the people were awesome. It was fun!”

The tournament wasn’t the only component of the trip. After exhausting rounds of speech and debate, fun awaited the speakers and debaters.

All Work, Some Play: The KIS Speech and Debate Team take a break and tour the suburban scene of the Bay area. Looking like something straight out of a TV promo poster! They got to meet another KIS alum, Jenny Youn (’14, UC Berkeley). // Subin Hur (’16)

“We went on tours. We couldn’t explore too much of urban San Francisco, unfortunately, but we went around the rural suburbs, which looked awesome. We went shopping, which was awesome as well!” When asked about the most memorable part of their trip, Chanwu answered, “The food–In-N-Out, Panda Express. The food was one of the most memorable things other than the debates.”

Uncle Sam’s Devil’s Island: The team takes a photo in front of the Alcatraz Landing. // Subin Hur (’16)

A huge round of applause goes to Joy Youn (’17) and Amy Kang (’17), who placed fourth in the JV Duo category for Speech. Congratulations!

“The experience was different from our KAIAC tournaments in many aspects, such as the debate style,” Jerry Kim (’16) commented. And like he said, the trip was no doubt an entertaining and educational experience, but also a very different event. Hopefully, next year’s tournament will bestow even richer experiences for all.

– Serim Jang (’16)

Header: Subin Hur (’16)