FSHA Senior Ranked Among Top 10 Female Debaters in Country

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Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Top of the News Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Community News Community News center column 3 FSHA Senior Ranked Among Top 10 Female Debaters in Country Article and Photo courtesy of FLINTRIDGE SACRED HEART ACADEMY Published on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 | 4:07 pm Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,PCC – EducationVirtual Schools PasadenaDarrell Done EducationHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimescenter_img EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Monica Amestoy, a senior at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy (FSHA), has returned from representing her school at the Tournament of Champions (TOC) at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, Ky. It was there that Amestoy joined 80 of the best Lincoln/Douglas high school debaters in the country at one of the most prestigious tournaments in the nation.Securing an invitation to this tournament was the culmination of a four-year journey of hard work and dedication for this talented debater. Amestoy got the “debate bug” during her freshman year when she took part in a national contest on climate change that required a public debate in front of fellow students. She’s never looked back: “If you had told me four years ago that I would be one of the top debaters in the nation my senior year, I would have laughed. In fact, I lost all my rounds at my first tournament, but when I heard about the TOC, I knew this was an activity I had to master,” Amestoy says. Not only is Amestoy ranked in the top 50 of Lincoln/Douglas debaters nationwide, she is one of only 10 females on that list.While other all-girls high schools in the San Gabriel Valley have speech and debate teams, FSHA is the only local all-girls school to send a debater to the TOC, and Amestoy is the first student in the school’s history to qualify for the TOC. And making it in the male-dominated world of debate is no easy feat. “Debate at the top level really feels like a boys’ club sometimes, so I had a lot of fun interrupting that trend. Often, girls are either seen as not dominant enough or overly mean and aggressive, while those same traits classify guys as assertive,” says Amestoy. However, Amestoy didn’t let gender disparity and stereotypes weigh her down.To prepare for the TOC, Amestoy attended debate camps during summers to sharpen her skills, spending a total of seven weeks last summer in three different camps. She also went to as many high-level circuit debate tournaments as she could during her senior year at FSHA. Frequently, Amestoy attended these tournaments as the sole representative from FSHA, accompanied only by her coach or by her father. Considering that many of her main competitors would bring much larger teams of 10 to 100 students to tournaments with many years of experience in the world of high-level debate, Amestoy’s small entourage wasoften viewed as a disadvantage. But Amestoy thinks there are benefits to having such a small team. “Being from a small team and doing all my own work meant that I knew everything I used during the tournament—better than anyone else. So when I had to compare evidence, there was no way that a debater who had never actually read the evidence was going to be better than me,” says Amestoy.With the goal of the TOC in front of her, Amestoy, her coaches and her father crisscrossed the country several times during her senior year pursuing tournaments in Connecticut, New York, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nevada and Utah. All of these tournaments offered TOC bids. Amestoy got her first bid at the Victory Briefs Tournament in UCLA—one of the most challenging tournaments in the country—and continued onto the quarterfinal round. Amestoy later won the Top Speaker Award, beating out 400 other Varsity Lincoln/Douglas debaters at the California Invitational Tournament at UC Berkeley.These achievements required commitment from not only Amestoy, but also from the young debate team at FSHA, the school’s administration, her family and the extended FSHA community.“The cost of all of this travel was significant, but the community effort to cover these costs was tremendous,” says Tom Amestoy, her father. The team sold donuts and hot chocolate during lunchtime and break times at FSHA. However, the team budget, as well as the Amestoy family’s frequent flyer points were not enough to get the young debater to the TOC. This was when outside supporters of the FSHA team chipped in to help Amestoy achieve her goals. Kenneth Gray, CEO of A-Fordable Billing Solutions (and a college debater himself), stepped up to pay for some of Amestoy’s travel, as did Jack Neil Swickard, an attorney in Orange County and former FSHA faculty member who had championed the fledgling team years ago and also coached college debate. “Jack dropped by to visit the school and learned about the resurgence of the team and Monica’s goal of making it to the TOC, and he wanted to show his support,” head coach Leilani McHugh says.It takes most teams many years to qualify a debater to the Tournament of Champions. FSHA has had a speech team for several years, but started the debate team only four years ago when McHugh’s son volunteered to be the school’s debate coach. The small team of three debaters has now grown to a team of 10. “Monica Amestoy will serve as an inspiration to this tiny but mighty team for years to come,” McHugh says. Amestoy will be attending and debating for the University of Utah this fall.Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 440 Saint Katherine Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, (626) 685-8500 or visit www.fsha.org. Make a comment Business News 8 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Subscribe Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadenalast_img

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