TOPSFIELD, MA – SUNDAY 6 NOVEMBER
More news came; details of what transpired at the Exeter Debate Tournament were filtering back into the bus as it raced southward back towards Belmont. Initially, there were just rumors about Belmont Hill’s performance, but then it became clear that Sunday’s debate was revolutionary for Belmont Hill. Sixth Former Hunter Present ‘17, a veteran advanced debater, won first place at the Exeter tournament and, as a result, earned a spot on the US debate team at the prestigious 2017 World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in Sydney, Australia.
“I have no words. Just no words,” the notoriously articulate Present said to his fellow master debaters in the bus. Even though previous Belmont Hill debaters have come close to winning Worlds-qualifying tournaments (notably Alex Czarnecki ‘17), Present is the first debater from Belmont Hill to actually make it to the world stage in a quarter-century. He earned this spot by receiving an extraordinary and outstanding score of 94 out of a possible 100 points in his first round of debating, a pursuit in which scores of 80-85 are considered average. His final tally for the day was 269 out of a possible 300 points, the highest from Belmont Hill and the highest from all schools.
Initially fellow debaters on the bus were incredulous as pranks about debaters making Worlds have been a common feature of Belmont Hill post-debate activity. As more and more reports came in from Alex Czarnecki, who stayed behind in the northern climes of Exeter to collect scores, the unthinkable became real and celebration erupted inside the bus. Hunter Present has made history for Belmont Hill, and he has put officially Belmont Hill debate on the map. Between now and April, Hunter will be practicing his debating skills to show the world the virtues of Belmont Hill. We wish him success as he travels down under to Sydney to take home the big gavel.