On Wednesday morning, December 4, Shevach High School’s debate team headed down to Bala Cynwyd, Philadelphia, for Kosloff Torah Academy’s second annual debate invitational. Before the debate meet, the Shevach team took a well-guided tour of Eastern State Penitentiary to learn about social and prison reform issues, past and present. The debate meet was scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and, by the end of the evening, the Shevach team had won three of the top awards.

At Kosloff Torah Academy, teams representing Jewish girls’ high schools in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Baltimore met in the formal debate and extemporaneous speaking competitions. A warm and intellectually rich atmosphere filled the building, and all of the students, coaches, and chaperones met over a graciously hosted delicious dinner.

Shevach High School is incredibly proud of all of its debate team members, for whom this was a first formal debate experience. Sarah Press and Racheli Robinson were awarded first place as the highest scoring debate team. Elana Adler was awarded third place in the category of highest scoring individual debater, and Daniella Haim was awarded second place in the extemporaneous speaking competition. Congratulations to Shoshana Mandelbaum and Elana Adler for also winning each of their debate matches, and to Hadassah Gottesman, Daniella Haim, Leah Scheiner, and Rina Steinberg for their strong performances in the extemporaneous speaking competition. Kudos to Miriam Romm, who served as team support and videographer.

The Shevach students expressed how much they enjoyed meeting girls from many different schools. Elana Adler commented, “It was a great environment and everyone was very friendly, even though we were debating each other.” While the students had spent many hours researching the topic of the debate and preparing their arguments, they also had to think on the spot to craft strong counterarguments.

Shevach is thankful to the faculty, staff, and students of Kosloff Torah Academy for organizing and hosting this outstanding event, and grateful to Mr. Barry Grossman, teacher of American Government, AP US History, and Contemporary Global Issues at Shevach, for preparing the students for the debate. Yasher koach to Rebbetzin Rochelle Hirtz, Shevach’s Principal, who made the trip possible, and to Mrs. Nechama Mirsky, Associate Principal, General Studies, for chaperoning the students to Philadelphia.