What's the warrant behind that?
- What's the warrant behind that?
- Your evidence can tell me whatever it wants.
I'm asking you to explain the logic behind it.
HATTIE: So I went to debate camp for girls, and they said, "Try to talk a little lower."
- Hold up, hold up.
- "Don't interrupt boys."
- Wait, look, can you just let us finish?
ANIKA: You have to be successful in your own way.
It comes from us.
We coach each other.
GABY: We all see ourselves as maybe the ones who can change things.
(laughing, screaming) TINA MCDUFFIE: Girl Talk, on Local, U.S.A. ♪ ♪ Judge ready?
Great, let's begin.
We affirm the resolved: single-gender classrooms would improve the quality of education in American public schools.
The choice in the round today is between the probable cause standard and the reasonable suspicion standard, which is in the status quo.
The United States will never strike North Korea if they believe that their troops in South Korea will be harmed.
They're not going to be vulnerable, 'cause one, they can defend themselves, and two, the U.S.-Japanese alliance will protect them because the U.S. is gonna be there in six hours.
With the embargo lifted, Cuba would instead choose to resume trade with American companies because our exports are more in line with Latin American trade interests, thus we affirm.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ALL: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.
One, two, one, two, one, two, one, two.
One, one, one, one.
To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock.
(all clap) Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock from a cheap and chippy chopper on a big, black block!
(talking in background) Hey, guys!
So the general plan is that we're gonna do block drills, and after that, you get to do varsity-novice mock rounds, where varsity will debate with you.
Currently, they can give humanitarian aid while acting in their national interests.
(students talking indistinctly) - So at the bottom of it, when we're all people, we're all responsible for saving any life, whether it's in our country or in other countries.
And you're actually saving lives... BELLA: Debate is like a bubble.
It's a whole different world.
- So you can't actually quantify how much...
It's about exuding the confidence and delivering, so that people believe that what you are saying is true.
First social contract.
Peop... (grunts) BELLA: Don't worry, don't worry.
Just do it.
For my next point... BELLA: You have to have the stamina.
The people that drop out are the people that can't handle the pressure, can't handle the stress.
I would also say just not letting anyone, like, get in your way.
(people talking in background) And if you're ambitious and you work hard and you just keep going, you take away something from a debate, something so much more important.
- That's the government's main role, and it's what they should be prioritizing because it's their job.
(birds twittering) BELLA: At the top of the contention, it says, "There will be 200 million refugees "from climate change by 2050, which is over 50 times worse than the current Syrian crisis."
- Yeah, we should... - Like, now we can save lives.
BELLA: Okay, so make change now?
- Yeah, kind of.
- Instead of waiting for what might happen.
GABY (voiceover): I have always been taught to be obedient, I guess, and to listen and be respectful.
But I never really learned how to stand up for myself or share my thoughts or just say that I disagreed with an authority figure in general.
BELLA: Well, right, didn't your last sentence... GABY (voiceover): Even in, like, in class, telling people that, like, I disagreed with them on a subject.
JAY: You're telling me I'm pro, I can save, say, four million lives.
Why are you telling me you'll save lives but I'm not?
BELLA: It makes sense that like, okay, like... GABY: It's better to save four million lives than two million lives.
ANIKA: Like, I feel, I feel like that's the same point that we make the other way.
GABY (voiceover): At debate, all it is is the back and forth of, like, "Oh, I have this idea."
"Well, what about this response?"
"But what about the response to that response?"
So, this back-and-forth basically meant that we were almost arguing all the time, but, like, kind of amicable arguing.
(talking indistinctly) We should probably just, like, call the date on the card, 'cause... - Yeah.
Okay, so where are you guys at?
Or, like, where do you need, I think, the most help?
I think you have to... - My case.
- I think the most basic for you is, finish, get your cases out of the way.
ANIKA (voiceover): I was first inspired to join debate because my parents told me to.
I didn't actually think I was gonna like debate.
In fact, I resisted joining really heavily.
BELLA: I just wanna be able to help you guys... ANIKA (voiceover): You know what I mean?
When you think cool things to do in high school, I don't think debate team.
(laughs) And it's not, like, "Oh, wow, you're on the debate team?
(singing a cappella, harmonizing) ♪ I remember all of the things I have done ♪ ♪ And I wanted to be ♪ (voiceover): When I was younger, I was kind of your stereotypical girly girl.
I loved makeup.
I loved dressing up.
Watching all those Disney princess movies.
(singing continues) ♪ When the pain ♪ Yeah, that's the part.
(voiceover): I was obsessed with "American Idol."
Like, I would watch it religiously.
I would record every episode and watch it over and over and over again.
We can do one more run-through with music.
How about that?
♪ When the pain cuts you deep ♪ (voiceover): And then when I joined the Newton South Debate Team, I was so passionate about debate.
I would spend hours messaging varsity members and asking them questions about debate.
I would share my cases with them, have them read over my arguments.
I would show up to practice every single day, even when we had no more tournaments left.
♪ Your remedy ♪ ♪ Oh ♪ (continues typing) GABY: We're all very different, but, like, we're all pretty intense.
There's something about debate that, like, draws us all in and allows for us to be just, like, a very close, like, tight-knit group.
We kind of live in our own little world with, like, our own little language.
And when I start talking to my parents, like, they just look at me with, like, their eyes get really wide, and they're just, like, "What?"
There are just some things that are just very debate and very separate.
♪ ♪ I played pretty competitive soccer.
I played a lot of tennis.
And I do think sports get you into the mindset of being competitive, and wanting to win, and working with other people.
♪ ♪ In a soccer game, if you score two goals, you won, whereas in debate, it's very, very subjective.
- My bad.
(voiceover): There's much larger gray area for winning and losing.
(talking indistinctly) - As long as you get, like... - I know, yeah, it's partially in the summary.
GIL (voiceover): The captains were just so impressive.
Insanely intelligent, like, such amazing debaters.
GIRL: I'm confused how you run this.
- I... Impact of racial backlashes increase discrimination.
- Okay, then... - Discrimination is a cause of poverty, okay, I see.
GIL (voiceover): I walked in the first meeting, they're, like, "Think of your homework, triple it-- that's debate work."
And they're, like, "We spend four hours a day researching."
I was, like, "Oh, my God."
I spent, like, the only thing I can do for four hours is, like, watch TV.
If another non-discriminatory alternative is presented, you should always favor that one and you should not do the discriminatory.
Make sure you only pause at the commas, okay?
- So, just, like, sometimes you, like...
GIRL: But also don't read.
GIL (voiceover): So, my captains were all male.
And Bella was, she really was, like, the person I went to just because I was way too scared of the four boy captains.
- Make sure you don't break up the clause in front of the comma, and then it'll be perfect.
(people laughing) - Very expensive.
(laughs) - I had, like, this tiny glass of water, and I was... BELLA: Hannah, do you want pizza?
- I'm good.
- Are you sure?
- Because you don't eat junk food?
- I'm not hungry.
- Are you sure?
- You want water?
- I have water.
(calculator buttons clicking) HANNAH (voiceover): Not a lot of people on the team, like, the Newton South Debate Team, know this about me, that, like, you know, my parents were refugees after the Vietnam War.
Like, my dad went to college at the age of 33.
And growing up, like, seeing people blatantly discriminating against my parents just because they had an accent, that just really angered me, 'cause I knew how captivating they were in their native tongue.
I really value the ability to express my thoughts and talk about the things that matter to me because of my parents' experiences.
(dog barks) Being able to speak and to communicate is almost like a privilege to me.
(speaking Vietnamese) (giggling) MOTHER: So you're leaving, then.
HANNAH (voiceover): We negate the resolution.
The United States federal government should adopt a carbon tax.
Contention one: pouring more gas on a fire.
A carbon tax affects emissions in two ways.
BOY: First of all, we are saying that in the United States, a carbon tax... HANNAH (voiceover): We have practice every day after school.
We tell you, here's the logic for it, right?
(voiceover): I come home so late, my mom, she always just made really great food, and I'd just eat it in the car.
- ...emit more methane into the air.
Like, I probably have had more meals in the car than, like, at home in the past four or five years.
BELLA: Let's find a way to simplify this, so it doesn't sound as complicated.
(inaudible) And also, I think we should... Um, you talked about green kind of, like, twice.
- I think you should have just talked about it once.
♪ ♪ (Bella speaking Russian) (brother and Bella speaking Russian) BELLA (voiceover): The difference I really did not expect when I became captain, suddenly, the responsibility on how the novices did and how they performed, that was all on us, and also, I felt it was also on me.
(brother speaking Russian, Bella laughing) BELLA (voiceover): Coaching definitely interfered with practice for me.
Success earns you more respect.
(chuckling): Like, people revered me more in some way last year, just based off of, like, NCFL quarterfinals, C.O.C.
bid, NSDA qualifying.
(speaking Russian) (voiceover): I never have a feeling of complete satisfaction.
(speaking Russian) (voiceover): I always think that I can be doing better.
BOY (voiceover): People are currently not addressing the issue of race, and by paying reparations, we finally bring it back up.
So, I think it's because people start-- I don't think...
But we're running that as separate.
We're not running it as a link.
BELLA (voiceover): Like, I've never committed myself so many hours to one thing every day no matter what.
It's definitely the adrenaline.
Like, you, it's, like... You suddenly have this, like, energy, even though, you know, you could be pulling an all-nighter and just no sleep.
- But there are African Americans in those communities who don't even own their homes.
And just to be able to generate wealth, they need to own their home first.
BELLA (voiceover): Adrenaline's, like, what gets you going, and then it's, it's just team.
It's, like, the overwhelming idea of team.
(birds twittering) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (groans) I hate this.
(scraping ice) JOSH: All right!
Someone... Hackle, Silvian, Gretchen Zhang!
There he is, all right!
♪ ♪ Justin Shuster, Hanbo, Kayla, Mitch.
GABY: Am I in this car?
BELLA: Yeah, let's go.
- All right, novices in the back, obviously.
♪ ♪ (talking in background) HANNAH: Then what do we do?
BOY: You sit around and you prep.
HANNAH: Prep, okay.
GIRL: Yeah, you can't go in.
(people talking in background) GIL (voiceover): No one really knows, like, what debate is.
They think we're, like, in this dark wood auditorium, and there's, like, hundreds of people watching.
...to an unstable region increases civilian casualties.
(voiceover): In reality, you're at a tournament with, like, 200, 300 other teams, and everyone has to debate at once.
- Wait, but there are 40,000, 40,000 troops overall.
GIL (voiceover): We're waking up at 6:00 or, like, we're debating in classrooms, or in hallways, in broom closets.
- That's how companies are turning over... GIL (voiceover): It's a lot less, like, glamorous than people think.
- They switch, okay.
Oh, rounds are out, rounds are out!
BOY: Guys, rounds are out!
(talking in background) 610!
- 627, 627.
GIL (voiceover): I always have, like, a pit in my stomach the minute they announce rounds.
(voiceover): It's like, okay, they're out, and you just, like, see this list of, like, this team's going against this team in this room, this judge.
Because it's, like, you could be going against, like, the best team in the country, the worst team in the country, and those wins mean the same.
(people talking in background) ANIKA (voiceover): More often than not, you don't have enough time to do as much prep as you would like.
Sometimes we start working on a completely different topic a week or two weeks before we go to a tournament.
GABY (voiceover): It's like cramming the night before for a test.
You learn a lot of really, really random facts.
I'm pretty good at memorizing things.
I used to know, like, all the old winners of "America's Next Top Model."
I don't know why, but I just memorized them all.
BOY: But the judge will probably need a few minutes to decide.
♪ ♪ ANIKA (voiceover): I was very confused my novice year, I'll be honest.
I really didn't understand how any of the pieces of arguments or tools for debate functioned with each other.
♪ ♪ I honestly think understanding what a rebuttal is, understanding blocks, understanding the speeches, summary, final focus, they only come with watching debate rounds.
♪ ♪ You guys wanna call it?
(coin clangs on floor) - It's tails, yeah.
- So we will speak second.
- It's tails.
- It is?
- We'll speak second.
- Sounds good, we'll affirm.
♪ ♪ JAY: It is heads.
Anika and I will... Negate.
♪ ♪ HANNAH: Is everyone good?
So, let's begin.
We negate resolved: the United States should abolish the capital gains tax.
Contention one is equality.
The capital gains tax is one of the many progressive taxes that takes income... (voiceover): There are so many rules.
There are so many written and unspoken rules, you know?
We affirm, and our sole contention is the economy.
HANNAH (voiceover): We have four-minute case readings from both teams.
Did we see job growth?
Did unemployment decrease?
- I don't know, you tell me.
- It didn't.
(voiceover): Then you have a three-minute cross-examination from the two people that read their cases.
If you want to talk about increasing investments, the only way you can actually do so substantially is by giving money to the right people again.
HANNAH (voiceover): And then their partners give four-minute rebuttals to each other's cases.
- He also tells you that all of this burden falls onto the middle class.
- Well, no, if the government is missing... HANNAH (voiceover): After that, those people that gave rebuttals have another three-minute cross-examination period.
- ...a lot of economic growth.
They're forgetting that we just got a massive corporate tax cut.
(voiceover): Then you have the first people that read the cases give two-minute summaries.
- $600 billion is gonna be paid yearly when we actually abolish the capital gains tax.
Yeah, but people weren't realizing their assets at that rate.
- Yes, they were.
HANNAH (voiceover): After the summaries, you have grand cross, which is where all four people debate each other.
- A lot of factors led to... - Yeah, I understand that, but what we're telling you...
I understand that, sort of-- okay.
- But furthermore, if you want to look to an impact-level analysis, they try to... HANNAH (voiceover): And then after that, you have the other partners deliver their two-minute final foci.
- The rich have tax loopholes when you abolish the capital gains tax.
♪ ♪ - Good round.
- Good round.
Thanks for judging.
- Thanks for judging.
♪ ♪ So, ultimately, I vote neg, but let me go through my decision.
I think you guys probably win the point on poor communities, but I think you guys could have applied Goldman right back to them.
I think your summary, you spread yourself a little bit too thin.
You guys were throwing stats at me, and, like, I agree with your stats, like, sure, but I have no idea how they happen.
BELLA (voiceover): Debate is perception, especially public forum, where even though you have two confident debaters, you put them side by side, and that's really where a power dynamic is formed in the minds of a judge.
Who talks louder, who gets to talk more, who looks confused, who is perceptually dominant?
GIRL: Which is why we should have a higher evidentiary standard and stop doing all these random search... - Can I talk about... - Well, no, 'cause I'm... - You've been talking there for, like, two minutes, though.
Can I talk about restorative justice?
BOY: The most important pieces of evidence in the round look to what generally happens when FDI is going to be increased.
- Hold on, hold on.
But is it talking about FDI increased to an authoritarian regime?
Correct, however, given we've provided a framework and you haven't, that should... - Right.
Gaby can still respond to your framework in rebuttal, and I'm sure she'll do that.
But you never once prove that you're actually helping the poor or low-income areas.
You're just talking about short-term versus long-term capital gains, right?
- Give us one example.
- He started the process in 2010.
BOY: It takes five years of conversation to say that we are now gonna allow tourism?
I don't think so.
- Maybe the wages are going to decrease... - Wait, no, they are going away.
- But we're actually going to see the jobs get replaced.
- Hold up, hold up.
They are going away.
- Open higher fines.
- $700 million is... - Wait, look, can you just let us finish?
We've been going in circles.
Can I ask you a question?
You're trying to force me into a corner and I'm not going to say... ♪ ♪ (bird twittering) BEN: Are you guys getting tripped up with any speeches?
And if so, like, what is the specific part you don't get about that speech?
- Where do you want help with?
ANIKA: It's more, like, cross-ex.
The other-- you'll just start, like, yelling.
BEN: Yeah, yeah, actually, that's really important.
Don't yell, like, ever.
(all laugh) Because it's student-run, I think that's what makes the Newton South Debate Team really special.
But, like, let's say, like, we accidentally do, like, it just comes out and you realize it sounds bad... HANNAH (voiceover): It's just, like, high school students helping high school students.
The older kids coach the younger kids, and it's just a cycle that keeps going.
If you start sounding, like, meek, that's probably more of a loss in perceptual dominance.
- Hattie never loses perceptual dominance.
(all laugh) - Hattie, you wanna talk about cross?
- Ellen, re-ask your question.
- Are you guys novices?
- Oh, that's so good.
- I know generally, most, like, girls' voices are higher than guys', and, like, thus decreases their perceptual dominance, so how do you still maintain that?
So, I went to debate camp three years ago, and so we had a seminar for girls where they told us how to be dominant.
And they said, "Try to talk a little lower.
Don't interrupt boys."
They gave you all these tips and tricks, right?
Which is BS.
You know, the problem is not us.
The problem is the judges.
GIL (voiceover): I think Hattie was the first person I saw that I was, like, "Wow, I wanna be like you."
And it totally changed the model... GIL (voiceover): She was, like, super-progressive.
Like, she was one of the first girls who started wearing, like, jeans and being, like, (muted) the dress code.
- You should never think... She's the person who trained, like, Bella and Kayla and, like, Rebecca, and, like, all the people that, like, trained me, you know?
HATTIE: Then from, like, the how-do-you-win-rounds perspective, there have been tons of really, really successful girls on the national circuit who did not do those things.
BEN: No matter if you're a boy or a girl, whatever it is, sounding confident, speaking slowly, speaking loudly, and just, like, taking most of the crossfire down, if you, like, just practice that over and over in rounds, you'll eventually get it.
And so, the third one, which is most specific and most in depth... - No, I was just asking what the lowest level is, right?
Because you're kind of cherry-picking it, right?
- No, so what I'm specifically explaining to you is... BEN (voiceover): I think boys are definitely more likely to be confident from the outset.
- ...most specific and most relevant to carbon tax.
- Like, we can talk about that later.
I was just wondering what the lowest level was.
A lot of the time, it's arrogance.
It's, like, I'm just, you know, better because I am.
And I think girls are more self-conscious.
- Okay, f, fine...
GIRL: Being too friendly.
BOY: And Ben's being too assertive.
BEN (voiceover): Because boys don't have to worry about a lot of this stuff.
BOY: We're falling behind, and our manufacturing sectors are suffering... - Is it specifically because... BEN (voiceover): I don't think girls can just sit back and allow themselves to continue to lose, so that's why we try and teach, like, you know, this, these are the specific ways you can try to adapt so that you can win more rounds.
- So, what we're showing you is when...
- But that later level of racism still exists.
But the issue is with probable cause.
It starts with the search, right?
JAY (voiceover): I am a boy, which, in this activity, means something.
If I'm a police officer and I have this implicit bias you talk about... (voiceover): But Newton is a place where I think gender equity is a big deal, and people pay attention to it and think about it consciously.
- But what we're saying is that, like, probable cause makes it harder to act on those implicit biases.
- But we can still search...
It creates a place where it's easier, not necessarily easy and not necessarily always perfect, but it's easier to be a girl on a debate team than some other teams, where you start off and it's, it's just a room full of boys.
(talking in background) It makes it hard to be sexist when the boys are outnumbered.
GIRL: It's all about being confident.
That was an awful cross.
- Yeah, guys, what the actual hell are you doing?
You guys are all asking questions and none of you are listening to each other.
And if you listen, then you can catch a logical flaw in what they're saying and press them on it.
And Gaby, you were being pretty passive in comparison to Ellen, right?
Like, she was doing most of the talking.
She would ask you a question.
You would answer and she would interject again.
If you're asked a question, you give an answer, they interrupt, you say, "Oh, can I finish my answer?"
Especially against guys, when they're trying to, like, tower over you, and really, really... ELLEN: Should you be more aggressive with guys?
Or... - No!
You wanna, you wanna-- so here's the thing.
It's not about being more aggressive.
It's about being more assertive and curbing their aggression.
So, try working on that balance and try different techniques, right?
Not every single technique works for everyone.
Cool, okay, summary.
JOSH: All right, Pambley!
- They're not here yet, Josh-- looking out...
I'm literally keeping track of the cars, and when they come, I will tell you.
- Silvian, no.
- No, no.
- Gretchen Zhang?
HANNAH (voiceover): There's no one around that is as dedicated as Josh is.
We're actually a public school, so we don't have the money to hire a full-time coach.
He, like, does so much work.
He'll organize carpools, track down kids, and constantly be on the phone with people and parents and figuring out logistics.
And he's not, like, really paid at all.
- (groans) - ...to affect more people in the long run.
- It'll be awesome.
- It will be awesome.
- Exactly, you really have to believe it.
- I know.
I made someone say it, like, 100 times.
They were, like, "I will win."
Don't make me do it with you.
(laughing) - No, okay, okay.
I don't need to do that.
- Are you sure?
- Yeah, yeah.
(laughs) - I'll just say it now, I will win.
(yelps) My shoe!
(people talking in background) Okay, at the one-minute mark, we're gonna take out the pens and we're gonna do the rest of the case just regular.
Okay, ready, set, go!
(talking in background) (reading case) BELLA (voiceover): I think in some ways, Gaby reminds me of me.
BELLA: But for me as a novice, I was probably way more confident, and way more competitive.
(talking in background) BELLA: And somewhere, I think, along the way, I had a lot of comments on ballots like, "too aggressive," "tone it down a little."
I had multiple comments on, like, "skirt is too short."
- ...as Al-Jazeera explains in 2014... (inaudible) (voiceover): I made a decision at one point to wear pants, mostly my sophomore year.
I thought I felt more... Less girl-like, I think.
I was, like, trying to strike this perfect balance that I don't think exists between exuding confidence, but not too much.
But as soon as you start to second-guess how you present yourself, I think that's when you start to lose it.
(talking in background) We negate resolved: in response to the current crisis, a government should prioritize the humanitarian needs of refugees over its national interests.
The primary obligation of a government is to help and protect its own citizens from any harm.
We don't see the other...
The stats speak for themselves, right?
Like, the fact that in the Tournament of Champions, there's one girl in the top 32 or whatever, and it's definitely not because girls are worse at debate.
First, on politics, but we turned that and they don't respond to it.
(voiceover): I think a lot of it is subconscious, right?
I think that it has to do with the judge bias.
It has to do with, like, boys having lower voices or whatever it is.
- That's the biggest impact in today's round.
The link into that is the first place you go.
MALCOLM (voiceover): And so I think that contributes to the higher-level teams being, like, predominantly male, in part because there are less girls that stick through it at that, to that point, because they get driven away... - Right.
- ...by the sexism that's so prevalent in the activity.
Even if we look in the long term, we have to look at tomorrow first.
BELLA (voiceover): You know, people do judge the book by the cover.
So, I mean, we learn the little skills to exude confidence.
Time magazine finds that only the U.S. is going to be able to slow down China.
BELLA (voiceover): Stand up tall, no slouching.
Glue your feet to the ground.
Pretend there's sticky glue or tape.
- And when there are people trapped under buildings, every second counts.
They have to be the first responders so they can save the most lives.
BELLA (voiceover): Lower your voice at the end of your sentences, don't trail off.
- Can I ask you a question?
- Ask me a question.
- Why would a base be better in another location?
BELLA (voiceover): Volume probably has to be louder than someone who's really not confident.
Eye contact with the judge is key.
- Okay, but if they can't get there as fast, they can't respond as fast, Japan isn't paying for it, then why should we be moving there?
I would say those.
I mean, mastering those.
(birds twittering) Gil, wasn't it incredible that I guessed what you were wearing?
- I know, okay, I started laughing out loud.
It was so good-- how... - I'm so...
I know you so well.
- How did you know?
(voiceover): Sometimes your natural voice is, like, not the best for public speaking.
Freshman year at this local tournament, the judge told me, like, "Your voice is too feminine for debate."
(speaking Hebrew) (voiceover): At that point, I was, like, "How can I control my voice?
Like, I literally was born with it."
People only say that when they have naturally... NOY: Naturally, yeah, I think so, too.
GIL (voiceover): Having my twin sister, Noy, there to listen to my speeches, but also just be there where I can rant about it and, like, cry and, like, have someone listen is really helpful.
MOTHER (speaking Hebrew): NOY (in Hebrew): (all laughing) NOY (voiceover): The fact that she's more argumentative, like, I don't really care about that.
(laughing): It's before a tournament she turns into a little bit of a psycho and just yells.
And, like, she, when she gets stressed out, she just, like, kind of starts acting like a queen and just, like, orders me around, like, and my mom like we're her servants.
(people talking in background) (talking in background) HANNAH (voiceover): I don't think the amount of hours you put in, and, like, all the pain and emotional trauma is worth it if you don't feel socially integrated with the team.
And I didn't always.
A lot of the time, I felt like I was on the fringe of the debate clique.
It's like an organism that, like, changes shape constantly and spits out its weakest components.
(talking in background) Sophomore year, Bella asked me to be her partner.
She was a senior, which was really cool.
Yeah, I agree.
I think, yeah, I, like, didn't explain... - No, I mean, it's, like, screw the round, right?
No one cares about the round.
I guess I'm trying to develop strategy for later, right?
'Cause I do think green tech is unique in terms of its investment, right?
- Yeah, because... Well, I mean, I'm just gonna, like, resay whatever you just said.
HANNAH (voiceover): There are times where I definitely take advantage of the fact that, like, my voice isn't naturally that high-pitched, and so then I would play into that, and I feel guilty, because then I was perpetuating this whole system where we were discriminating against girls with higher-pitched voices, or even, like, guys or people with higher-pitched voices.
Yeah, just, like, decades or centuries of societal standards.
Is it okay if I give a road map?
Is the judge ready?
We negate resolved: in the united public K-12 schools... - Teachers can act with impunity because... (students debating) ♪ ♪ - The agreement that lets the U.S. have its base in Okinawa makes it really... (whispering indistinctly) Refugees are dying and we need to fix that.
Now, do you have a question?
♪ ♪ (no dialogue) (playing fast-tempo piece) (tempo slowing) - Lemongrass... (murmuring) - Lemongrass?
- It's in the oven.
- I don't really want rice.
(voiceover): My parents are both from India.
They're in a country that they're unfamiliar with, and I think that they feel as though, in order for us to be successful, we need to be doing a lot.
- When is (inaudible)?
- No, no, next week.
So, not, not the coming week, but the week after.
(voiceover): I think that it's just the unfamiliarity, which makes them maybe feel like they need to overcompensate at times.
- I'm not debating, but I'm still going to all the practices.
ANIKA (voiceover): Like my dad, he definitely holds me to a higher standard than he would've been held to when he was my age, right?
Like, a significantly higher standard.
- Anika, give me a chapati.
- Have you seen the pictures, Mama?
MOTHER: Can you open the door?
- What time is it?
MOTHER: 6:27... - Wait, wait, 6:25?
- Oh, God, I have to be there at 6:30.
- Yeah, okay, I should go.
♪ ♪ (talking in background) ♪ ♪ Okay, wait, do you know any of these teams?
I don't know, I don't recognize any of them except for, like, Plano Senior, and, like, we probably will not... JOSH: Welcome to the Harvard Tournament.
You're going to see some of the best debaters in the country here.
You're gonna get to debate against some of the best debaters in the country.
The thing that makes this team unique is the fact that you guys do it yourself.
You coach each other.
So, you know, congratulations to all of you and have a very good tournament.
- People are paying X amount of money and they only get ten percent of that back.
GIL (voiceover): So, you have 20 debate teams in the Newton South Debate Team, and, like, five, six teams, so, like, ten, 12 kids will go to tournament.
- Yeah, they look like... My polls look like that.
GIL (voiceover): So, you are a team, but you're also competing against each other.
What I was thinking is, if we wanna pull reform through as a response, we respond to their case first, to, like, their responses first.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, that's what I was gonna say.
- No, but if they respond to churches, make sure to respond to the turns.
- You know what I mean?
GABY (voiceover): Freshman year, we tried a lot of different partners, and I ended up going to Harvard with Ellen.
- I'm tired, but I'm ready.
(voiceover): I honestly think finding a debate partner is kind of like dating a little bit.
There are things you don't realize that you're looking for, but then once you have it, like, you realize you need it.
- Can we sit down?
- Yeah, let's sit.
(voiceover): You are there every day, day in, day out.
You have to be really brutal with each other and really honest with each other.
- I have a blue shirt, I have a white shirt.
(voiceover): You have to have the same goals, the same mindset.
So, it becomes a lot of, like, figuring out what works well for the two of you, which is, which can be difficult.
Is everybody in the round ready?
Awesome, then let's begin.
We affirm that resolved: in United States public K through 12 schools, the probable cause standard ought to apply to searches of students.
We offer one observation.
Security measures in schools make students dis, feel distrusted and unfairly treated.
- So, they say that the surveillance system is going to take, if they... ANIKA (voiceover): Jay and I, we would always come together to discuss arguments.
And so we thought, you know what, why don't we just try being a partnership?
- I'm going to give you two reasons why safety is going to stay the same under a probable cause standard.
The first, since in the real world, you can search people under the probable cause standard without a warrant... ANIKA (voiceover): So, we were put together for the Harvard tournament.
We weren't sure how well that was gonna go.
- I mean, if safety is the same in both worlds, then you both decide... - If you're getting rid of surveillance, it won't be.
- Sure, we can argue that later.
- But there's no... - But if safety's the same... - I mean, this is a cross, we can argue it now.
- Wait... Like, I, I looked over... - ...100 students, that's not many.
- Well, the point is, he still found, like, when you decrease search standards, you still find four times as much evidence.
Thank you so much for judging.
JUDGE: Nice job.
- Thank you.
(people talking in background) BELLA (voiceover): The Harvard tournament has two pools, the varsity pool and the JV pool.
Over 200 pairs in each division.
And so, usually, first-years don't do well because it's freshman and sophomore, so you're competing against people with two years of experience.
First of all, scope, gridlock affects policies, which outweigh every single American...
But what both of our cards specifically say is, it's about... BELLA (voiceover): But Anika and Jay are just, like, breezing through their rounds.
- ...where there aren't low-income communities.
(spectators applaud) BELLA (voiceover): Basically, they got all the way through finals.
And then they lost by, like, a ballot.
- I don't!
'Cause that means that I don't get to win... - Let's hug it out.
BELLA (voiceover): But we were still celebrating.
- Aw... - Aw... - Novices!
Oh, my God!
BELLA (voiceover): I mean, I knew they could do it, but I didn't know they'd be that great their first year.
ANIKA (voiceover): Before Harvard, we were almost sure we were gonna be partners, and after Harvard, we were 100% set that we were gonna be partners.
♪ ♪ (talking in background) ♪ ♪ Are we getting on, Josh?
JOSH: Yes, get on, guys.
- Get on, guys.
♪ ♪ (bicycle bell ringing) JAY (voiceover): Debate tournaments are miserable.
- Man, it's cold as (muted).
People don't eat for three days.
They eat nothing but bags of chips, rarely, or they don't sleep for three days.
- According to E.P.A., both of these can cause respiratory problems in... JAY (voiceover): And all anyone wants to talk about is this topic that in reality you probably don't care about anymore, but you know you're supposed to care about, so you keep talking about it.
- I guess it's not even government.
It's, like, private companies, right?
JAY (voiceover): There have been times where, like, we've been sitting in hotel rooms late at night trying to come up with new arguments or trying to refine the ones we've had, and everyone is snapping at each other and yelling at each other and being grumpy.
JOSH: Not on time.
BELLA: This has literally been, like, the worst...
This has been the worst for us.
- Every team that we've never, like, had a drop to.
BELLA: I stayed up till, like, 4:00.
Not that it paid off, but, like, I dropped to some random team, I don't even know where it, where it came from.
- (inaudible) BELLA (voiceover): I mean, there were so many hard days.
To have a really rewarding day, you probably have, like, 100 hard days, where you push through to do research, even though you're tired and fight with your teammates, and embarrass yourself sometimes, and get critiqued.
We have dropped four bid rounds now, the, the rounds that you have to win to get to the Tournament of Champions, so... BELLA (voiceover): The losses, they hurt.
The curse lives on.
- The curse lives on.
- Let's walk, let's walk.
BELLA (voiceover): I mean, everyone likes to win.
But there's a huge progression, I think for almost every single person, from freshman year to senior year, from my personal success to thinking about partnerships, and, "Let me help the team."
Like, I learned the importance and the satisfaction of not putting yourself first, I'd put it that way.
(talking softly) GIL: And are all three judges ready?
We affirm the United States should withdraw its military presence from Okinawa.
Contention one is holding Japan back.
Remember, they give you no specific number from Okinawa.
They only give you this general study.
Let's look to what's actually happening in East Asia.
First, Hugh White of the National Interest explains that our nuclear capabilities are the only U.S. force which deters China.
This is because China... GIL (voiceover): Sophomore year, Ayush didn't have a partner, and I was really, like, the last option, but, like, there's no one else, so I was, like, "Me!"
AYUSH (whispering): And finally, they have literally no number from Okinawa.
It's been there since 1945.
Why couldn't they have a number of deterrents?
Because it's not working.
GIL (voiceover): Like, in the beginning, I really did rely on Ayush to, like, lead me through stuff.
AYUSH: People are unemployed.
That's the issue that needs to be solved in the status quo.
That can only be solved with... GIL (voiceover): Competing with a junior, it was really a big learning curve.
They have amphibious capabilities.
They have a ton of soldiers... - Wait, amphibious capabilities?
Can you explain what that means?
- Like... - Amphibious capabilities?
BOY: Like, they're, they can use, like, boats and stuff.
- So, no other Marine can use a boat?
I qualified for Nationals!
(voiceover): We ended up qualifying for NCFLs, which is one of the national tournaments, and that was, like, such a big deal for me.
It was, like, really exciting.
- ♪ Gil ♪ Oh, my God, I am so, so, so proud of you.
Seriously, you should be, like, so proud.
- I'm so, yeah.
- Yeah, I'm so proud.
You're going to California!
JOSH: And I would write out some sentences like that, you know, introduce that, those concepts...
But even if you believe that these trials are legitimate, you'd still vote for us, considering the district... No, no, no.
(mumbling) You still don't look to the... You'd still vote for us, because it is not worth it to entrench the, to entrench worldwide poverty to save a couple of rich people.
(birds chirping) (computer keys tapping) Mitch?
I'm going over to the girls' room to knock on their door to make sure that they're, like, up.
Or getting up at some point soon.
(door opening) AYUSH: Yes.
(whispering): You guys, wake up.
- Wake up, it's, like, 6:00 in the morning.
- I know!
- We were planning to wake up at 6:15.
I really suck at doing the eyeliner.
GIL (voiceover): I think every girl debater has got comments from judges of how they look, how they dress.
Comments like, "Oh, I think you should put on more makeup."
I've gotten comments on, like, "Cute dress."
"Oh, I don't think the shoes match."
Like, don't look at my shoes.
Like, look at what I'm saying.
(talking in background) First of all, the majority of the time... And take advantage of progress instead of... ♪ ♪ (groans) AYUSH: Why are the postings not out, okay?
JOSH: This is important.
AYUSH: Somebody needs to be on top of it.
The thing is, it's also, like, like, 10:40, and the majority of, like, a lot of people are coming from the East Coast, so it feels like 1:00 for us, like 1:30 for us.
JOSH: Are you saying it's not fair?
- It is not fair, Josh.
GIL (voiceover): At this tournament, one judge, she was, like, "I really liked your points, but your voice... "Try to sound like Oprah.
You need, like, more Oprah."
AYUSH: Postings are out.
It's backwards, though, um, four...
I cannot read this.
GIRL: Wait, where?
- Yeah-- 4052.
- Where are you getting this?
- Where are you getting this?
AYUSH: Yeah, we didn't break.
JOSH: I'm sure you guys were really close.
Sorry you didn't make it.
GIL (voiceover): I think you keep going, because at least for me, like, it made me really angry.
I just, like, did bad, cried.
Did worse, cried.
And then I was just, like, now it's just pissing me off that I'm bad at this.
JUDGE 1: So, it's a 2-1 for the negative.
JUDGE 2: I end up voting pro in this round.
Most of my voting comes from sort of the pro's final focus.
I just don't see much offense coming from either side at the end of the round.
You guys were too fast, you know, in sort of just... You know, you guys could have made the point better on the popular support, also.
CAROLINE (voiceover): I mean, you have to be aggressive, right?
Like, you can't just let your opponent talk over you.
(chuckles): But it's really hard as a woman, um, to not come across as, like... Bitchy, right?
Like, aggressive, powerful women are not what people wanna see necessarily-- or they say they want to see them, but then when they're actually in front of them, they sound shrill or stringent or whatever.
For you guys, I wanna hear some really, some more distinction between your summary and your final focus.
Tell me why I should vote for you.
MORRY (voiceover): It's not just that there's implicit bias, it's that it manifests, right?
Like, a lot of women are first speakers, rather than second speakers, because there's this conception that the second speaker's more important.
And it's not just limited to gender.
This, Asian students are stereotyped as, like, being robotic debaters.
Black debaters can be seen as, like, too aggressive.
And in every case you have, like, the other side of the coin, which is, like, the, "Oh, this is one of the good ones, this is, like, "the model of what, like, a debater of color "or, like, a woman debater should be, "because of how closely they're acting to this, like, White male standard."
These two judges are not going to vote for us.
- That's fine, we tried.
MORRY (voiceover): And that's just, like, that's, that's just where you start.
ANNOUNCER: All right, in a 2-1 decision, 4153 advances.
ANNOUNCER 2: From Poly Prep, Daniel Fernandez.
ANNOUNCER 3: Conner Hayes.
- In seventh place, from Boston Latin, Anthony Tao.
ANNOUNCER 3: Matthew Massa, Jake Rearden.
JOSH: In fifth place, from Westford, David Towers.
(voiceover): I mean, what do we do?
Do we tell judges not to be biased?
Well, they already think they're not being biased.
In fact, they'd probably take offense if you tell them, you know, "You're biased."
(on mic): In second place, from Newton South, Sam Fishman.
ANNOUNCER 2: Third top speaker, from Acton-Boxborough, Joshua Lee.
ANNOUNCER 4: First speaker in JVPF is Harry Fin.
JOSH: And your top speaker, with an astounding 118 points, Ed Deng.
(audience cheering and applauding) (voiceover): But let's say we figured out some training for judges, such that we could eliminate their gender bias.
Then the girls will have been trained to perform well in a world that does not exist.
All right, so can we have the seniors just come on up over here to my right, your left?
Come on up.
(cheers and applause) (talking in background) JOSH: Seniors, when you go on to college or wherever you're going next, you're going to find, even more than you see now, that you know how to research, you know how to develop an argument, you know what an argument is, and you know how to convince people, and that is the dividing line between folks who can really have an influence.
Use that skill well.
All right, so, um, that's it, you can all go home.
Oh, wait, there are these things.
We are going to hand out awards starting with novice.
In fifth place from Nashua, Dreha Sinha.
From Nashua, Rohan Kumar.
BELLA (voiceover): It feels like all of my responsibilities are kind of now over in, like, a flash.
JOSH: In first place, your co-champions in public forum, from Newton South, Ellen Deng and Victoria Wong, and Jay Garg and Anika Sridhar.
(cheering and applauding) BELLA (voiceover): It feels natural to hand off the team, and I couldn't be happier.
But I think I'm gonna miss the team a lot, just being involved.
JOSH: Team awards.
In sixth place, Milton High School.
BELLA (voiceover): I haven't, like, fully let it go.
(cheering and applauding) JOSH: Third place, Newton South High School.
(cheering and applauding) Second place, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School.
♪ ♪ BELLA (voiceover): And what we tell the second-years is, "You're role models.
Novices look up to you."
These novices like Anika, Jay, Gaby, they're gonna walk in the next year, and they're gonna feel like gods.
♪ ♪ (tires screeching) ALL: She slits a sheet, the sheet she slits, and on that slitted sheet she sits.
She slits the sheet, the sheet she slits, and on that slitted sheet she sits.
Shoo pa-pa, shoo pa, shoo pa. Fee fi, fee fi fo fum.
(slapping thighs) Fee fi fo fum!
Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot, we'll be together, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.
So whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot, we'll be together, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.
(cheering) TEACHER: ...the following except, you're gonna read through every one of these answers and try to find the one that... ANIKA (voiceover): Newton's very different from a lot of other places in the country.
Starting from... (speaking Mandarin) (speaking Mandarin slowly) ANIKA (voiceover): The environment is really heavily focused on success and high achieving.
BOY: Oh, we found the optic nerve, right?
(teacher speaking French) (speaking French) (voiceover): Everyone here is constantly talking about college, constantly talking about school, constantly talking about their grades, constantly talking about their extracurriculars.
JAY: There's 20 million people that have been given healthcare because of the Affordable Care Act.
There's a ton of statistics about, like, how it's actually helpful.
It's so clean, you know?
ANIKA (voiceover): I don't want to ever, like, disappoint people in my life, like my friends, my family.
- I also missed the beginning of this conversation, but, like, I don't think, it's, like, they couldn't, they tried to cut it for, like, literally a year.
ANIKA (voiceover): I know the feeling of, like, every tournament matters so much.
Every record matters so much.
This specific tournament is so important.
I don't know enough about it.
But I don't think you do, either, I'm assuming.
I think we need to, I think we need to just look into, like... (Gaby and Anika talking at once) - Then why'd we vote for them in the first place if they're not going to do what we want them to do?
- ...in the first place, instead of universal background checks... - What mental health legislation is this?
What, give me an example of the bill.
- Like, you want specifically?
Like, putting up more clinics or just in general?
Like, I don't need to give you specifics.
(both talking over each other) - Why can't, why can't, why can't you have, why can't you have two solutions to the same problem?
GIL: I thought both, all crossfires were really unproductive.
You guys were kind of just, like, talking over each other, right?
Anais, your summary was very good for mental health.
(voiceover): I knew I wanted to be captain pretty much, like, October freshman year.
- So the people that I'm thinking are to get cut are these.
GIL (voiceover): I liked when I walked in the room, everyone's, like, "Oh, Gil's here," like... Yeah, it, like, felt good.
It felt different, like, I never felt like that before.
We want cases done on Monday!
Monday practice, your cases should be done.
(voiceover): I definitely scared a few of them, which I think is good.
'Cause, like, I think they would have just have slacked off if there wasn't a little fear.
During the Revere Tournament, when Jay was teaching you, like, the (inaudible) structure that we were, that we taught you, and you're, like, "No, I think my way's better"...
BOY: Are you saying, "Take more notes"?
HANNAH: It's not really about notes, but it's about, like, the attitude.
Every year, there's always clique that forms, but I think it's really valuable to make sure that everyone feels a part of the team.
You're a sophomore, right?
- So, like, we've been looking through your prep, and you, you put in a lot of the research, but one thing that we'd want you to do is to participate more in practice.
Ask your questions, like, contribute, give your ideas.
(voiceover): There are novices that are really rambunctious and outspoken and more popular, and then there are the quiet ones that still need to break out of their shell.
I'll make sure that the kids that are really quiet, but I can tell are working really hard, get the attention they deserve.
- Try to, like, you know, be more confident in round, like, 'cause you know more than your opponent, I'm pretty sure.
So, like, keep doing that.
Just be more confident in round, because you have the content to back it up.
What business, big businesses do is, they try... Can I, like, literally just let me finish my explanation.
JOHNNY: I haven't said anything!
- 'Cause I can see you're gonna interrupt me before I finish.
(voiceover): I've always been super-hard on myself.
I have a fear of failure.
Kind of, like, not being enough, in a way, and not... ...doing something that matters.
Because startups need a lot more people than a business that's adding a small branch.
(voiceover): I've had a lot of struggle to, like, have success in the national circuit.
Like, I went 2-4 at Big Lex my sophomore year, and I was crushed.
- ...to hire these employees... (voiceover): I was so distraught.
Like, I felt like I should have been doing better.
Like, I was watching all my friends do really well.
- But Johnny, you're understanding how... You're misunderstanding how a business works.
Startups grow at a much faster rate than already... Johnny, can I just finish?
Can I get one sentence out?
- I agree!
- Johnny, can I get one sentence out?
(voiceover): Like, you're surrounded by all these people who are so smart and so passionate, and it can be hard not to compare yourself to them and be, like, "Wow, I've done nothing."
(chuckles) STATION ANNOUNCER: This is the last call for Amtrak Northeast Regional train with intermediate stops.
Passengers should proceed to track one.
ELLEN: Is everyone ready?
You guys ready?
Okay, starting now.
We affirm the United States should lift its embargo against Cuba.
Contention one is Russian influence.
There are two reasons why lifting the Cuban embargo will stop Russian aggression.
Jeffrey Thompson of UMass finds that a ten percent increase in infrastructure spending lowered manufacturing costs by 2.3%.
Ultimately, what you're seeing is, we're actually going to be helping the poor.
(whispering) GABY (voiceover): Princeton was, like, really rough for Ellen and I originally.
Day one, we lost both of our rounds.
ELLEN: And, like, last round, was just, like... GABY: Yeah, we... (sighs): It was, like, not, it was not good.
WOMAN: What happened last round?
Like... - Um, it just got messy.
- Okay, so, the other team... Yeah, the other team, like, made it really confusing for the judge.
And they did this thing, like, called, like, muddling, where they just, like, make it really, really confusing.
They're, they were, like, really, really confident and, like, really perceptually dominant, especially 'cause, like, they're guys, so they have, like, lower voices anyways.
GABY (voiceover): I don't ever like to think that the reason we lost a round is because we are girls.
Well, I think we should redo speeches.
- Yeah, I think so, too.
- But we should go back to the place... GABY (voiceover): I do think it definitely influences the judges.
I don't think it's a deciding factor, usually, but...
I do think it's there.
(talking indistinctly) WOLF BLITZER: But it could be very, very close in some of those key battleground states.
GIRL: No, I, I know.
BLITZER: Donald Trump has what, about a 20,000-vote lead, but it's very, very early...
GIRL: No, and then he said, and, and he's, like, "Oh, she only supports Hillary 'cause she's a woman," and then I just laid out point-by-point the reasons why I supported her, and he's, like, "She's dishonest."
MIKE: She's not dishonest, she's condescending.
She thinks her ideas are better than people, and she doesn't need to be responsible... - That's because they are better than the people, because she's spent years working in policy.
- No, she's very smart.
GIRL: Guys, Trump is in the lead.
ANIKA: He's up by two points.
GIRL: Oh, no, oh, no, oh, no!
MIKE: So, Trump is winning South Carolina?
- Yeah, and North Carolina.
And Florida and Michigan and Ohio.
JOHN KING: They're doing what they said they would do.
They are competitive across the Rust Belt.
Okay, ready, Dika, Gil, Anika?
("Closer" by Chainsmokers playing) DIKA: I knew it!
I knew it!
- This was literally the song of the summer for us.
GIRLS: ♪ You looked as good as the day I met you ♪ ♪ I forget just why I left you ♪ ♪ I was insane ♪ ♪ And I can't stop ♪ KING: 16 points in theory, but...
GIRL: Oh, oh, no, it got worse, it got worse.
(Gil and Anika gasp) It got even worse.
GIRL: Oh, my goodness, how is this happening?
This is actually horrifying.
GIL (voiceover): Everyone who's done debate can, like, be right there with Hillary.
When we were all watching, like, we all saw it happen.
GIRL: Oh, no, New Hampshire.
Goodbye, New Hampshire.
(girls talking in background) ANIKA (voiceover): For some reason, it felt as though, if Hillary Clinton were to be elected, it would have some type of impact, and to know that there was this one lurking variable, lurking factor, that she really could not control... BLITZER: And Trump has a 56,000-vote lead over Hillary Clinton, 49.5%.
He is ahead in North Carolina right now... (talking indistinctly) ♪ ♪ (laughing) It's going to be a struggle, Malcolm.
♪ ♪ HANNAH (voiceover): I'm, like, not gonna lie.
Harvard is a magical place.
Growing up, it was always my dream school.
It's been weird, 'cause it's, like, it's right there, but, like, you can, like, go in, and you can go into Harvard Yard, but, like, you're not really a part of it.
Like, what if I had a class here?
And, like, what if I was a student here?
DAN: Start on their first contention about agribusiness.
Really big problem here is that agribusiness is a really non-unique point.
According to the World Food Program in 2016... HANNAH (voiceover): Junior year and senior year, Dan and I partnered, and that was super-fun.
Like, yeah, we got really close.
- That means they make a lot more money.
- Wait, are they down two now?
Or, yeah, 'cause only Caleb and... GIL (voiceover): This year, I was partnered with Kayla.
We definitely picked up the pace.
We started doing well towards the end of our year.
Like, going through that ride and being, like, "Holy (muted)," like, "We're finally where we wanna be."
(praying in Hebrew) Please, God, I don't know Hebrew, but I will learn it just so I can pray to You.
♪ ♪ ANIKA (voiceover): Jay and I always, before every debate round, we, like, do a fist bump and we're just, like, "We've got this, like, we're totally gonna win."
And we haven't won every time that we've done it, but we have lost every time that we haven't done it, so... (laughs) ♪ ♪ JUDGE: Uh, congratulations, everyone, for getting to the octos.
It's a 2-1 for the Pro.
(spectators applauding) GIL (voiceover): Harvard was really fun, we got to top 16, and it had around, like, 500 teams, give or take.
- (laughs) (voiceover): Like, we ended up losing to the people who, like, finaled, so, like, we were completely fine.
The sense of pride you get from winning or doing well at a debate tournament was so much higher than, like, anything else.
- Oh, my God.
- (grunts) GIL (voiceover): 'Cause, like, you're kind of on cloud nine, and then you, like, you walk to school the next day, on Monday.
(laughs): And you're, like, "Ask me about my tournament."
Like, "Please ask me how it went."
(laughs) (shouting and laughing) He, Anthony Tao was so confused about, like, that we weren't talking about rent control homes.
Yeah, because, it just... Yeah, I wasn't clear enough in summary, either, but I think we just need to be really explicit when we weren't talking about rent control.
AMIT: Hi, sorry.
- Are you the judge?
- We're Newton South.
- Oh, okay.
GABY: We negate resolved: the United States should promote the development of market-rate housing in urban neighborhoods.
For context, market-rate housing is an apartment that has no rent restrictions.
(voiceover): States junior year, I went with Amit instead of Ellen.
- ...tells you that you see 84 houses built for every single one.
GABY (voiceover): Jay and Anika won their side of the bracket, and Amit and I won our side of the bracket.
And at debate tournaments, if you're on the same, if you're from the same school, you don't debate against each other.
So, we were both kind of co-champions, which was really nice.
(laughs) It was a lot of fun.
It was very exciting for Newton South, so... ♪ ♪ - And it's that way.
- Oh, yeah.
ANIKA (voiceover): Debate tournaments are very, very expensive-- you know, the Tournament of Champions was over $1,000.
I think the Harvard tournament has, like, $100 registration fee or something, which is just to register for the tournament.
Like, not even including meals, transportation, or where you're gonna stay.
GIRL: It's worse than just having ICE agents spread out throughout the country.
A sanctuary city will redefine itself to literally just be... - No, but, Gaby, Gaby... (voiceover): We are very fortunate that we can afford to go to these tournaments.
ANIKA: But that doesn't mean that the converse is true.
- It has to mean that the converse is true.
GABY (voiceover): It's so elitist, it's terrible.
ANIKA: I don't think any judge is going to buy that a sanctuary city is the same thing as an anti-sanctuary city.
GABY (voiceover): It has kind of made me realize, like, a lot more of my privilege.
- You know, it seems like by allowing sanctuary cities, you would allow people to do the opposite.
(voiceover): Even just, like, the environment that I live in.
Like, I go to a great school, I have parents that really instill these values on me.
I read a lot.
I talk to friends who care about politics.
♪ ♪ ANIKA (voiceover): Um, and through debate, you can understand different points of view.
And I think as, serving as an intern at Senator Warren's office, I'd be able to, like, you know, bring those skills to the table while talking to constituents.
And if they have policy questions, we work with a lot of public policy in debate, so... (voiceover): I would've never said that I wanted to do politics or anything of the sort before I joined debate.
Before I joined debate, I was just, like, "I'll do something with, like, math," which is very interesting, for sure.
(audience applauding) DONALD TRUMP (on television): Members of Congress, the state of our union is strong.
(cheering and applauding) ANIKA (voiceover): We are really not seeing a lot of listening in current politics.
And in debate, a lot of the time, you cannot interject-- you are forced to just listen.
So at the very least, you have to hear what they have to say.
GABY (voiceover): For example, the November topic was about whether or not the United States should instate universal background checks for gun transfers and ownership.
And I very strongly believe that there should be universal background checks.
And even though I came out of that topic still thinking the exact same thing, like, it, it really opens your mind to seeing both sides, even when you disagree with them.
♪ ♪ HANNAH: I've been debating back-to-back for, like, seven weeks now.
- I believe you, I'm right there with you.
- So, I know, it's still mentally and emotionally taxing.
- All right, so, Newton South, and then Big Lex, and then Columbia, and then Brandeis, and then NSDAs, then NCFLs, and then Harvard.
- Yeah, it's the, I call it the seven-week... - Shrewsbury, Needham.
You got, you have NSDAs.
- Oh, and T, are you guys going to T.O.Cs.?
- All right.
So that's a big deal.
- Like, I'm gonna crash eventually.
(chuckles): Yeah, so... - Yes, you will.
- Just don't know when-- hopefully not in the middle of a tournament, but... See you tomorrow at 7:10.
- 7:10, is that when it is, 7:10?
GABY (voiceover): The T.O.C.
is the Tournament of Champions.
It's, like, the biggest, most challenging tournament of the year.
And if you win, it's, like, okay, you're, like, you're pretty much the best debaters in the country.
(talking in background) "A one-dollar increase," wait, "found that..." "A one-dollar corporate, corporate campaign contribution..." (voiceover): I was so miserable before the T.O.C.
You know, I was exhausted, I didn't wanna go.
- Like, perpetuating influence, but it's not a terminal impact.
And I was, like, "All right, we're here.
Let's just get through it."
(chuckles) Like, "I've been here and done this.
One more time."
(chuckles) HANNAH: What room are we in?
We're in Blazer 233.
- Oh, now we're flight one.
- Darn it!
- Why do they keep changing things?
We're flight one at 10:50.
HANNAH (voiceover): I was really proud.
Like, the best of the best is there.
Everyone knows their stuff.
And we ended up doing really well.
- I'm gonna practice my speeches.
- Yeah, I'm gonna redo that rebuttal big-time.
- (chuckles): You saved us during your final focus.
(voiceover): But Anika and Jay, it definitely wasn't luck.
Like, they were up against a lot of really tough opponents, and so they definitely earned their spot in the final round.
Are all of my judges ready?
Anika and I negate resolved: the United States should end its arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Contention one is stopping starvation.
And they tell you that ending arms sales sends a signal that the U.S. cares about human rights abuses.
Three responses: first, this concedes our third link to our case.
Their evidence talking about 20 million people getting killed by arms sales is talking about military coups and other things like that.
It doesn't actually talk about arms.
This is a really misconstrued piece of evidence.
But third, this is... (voiceover): I think debaters oftentimes fail to adapt to judges.
- Going to my point of second contention about Yemen.
Essentially, they tell you... (voiceover): The judge is just gonna vote for who looks like a winner, so to speak.
Stereotypes have shown looking like a winner oftentimes isn't very feminine.
- What's the warrant behind that?
- What's the warrant behind that?
- Well, the (inaudible) says... - Like, are they of different sizes, and, like, fit in different, like, you know... - The (inaudible) says that the U.S.... (audience laughing) - Like, your evidence can tell me whatever it wants.
I'm asking you to explain the logic behind it to me.
- The logic, the logic that, I believe the evidence... ANIKA (voiceover): But I never really subscribed to the notion that I was supposed to be like somebody else, you know, debate like somebody else.
You have to be successful in your own way.
Sure, but the people are hungry... You even tell me people are hungry right now, right?
- Yeah, and they're still gonna be hungry because there's still, gonna be a blockade in either world.
ANIKA (voiceover): A lot of people would say, like, "I don't like your style of debate," and I would be, like, "Okay, I don't like your style of debate."
Like, I don't care-- I'm not gonna change my style of debate because you don't like it, you know?
It doesn't matter if the Houthis are angry!
(voiceover): We shouldn't have to change or try to become someone else just to win.
I would say making Iran angry is more important than making the Houthis angry.
Because you end the security umbrella, you lead to more chemical and biological weapons.
That's really important, because it leads to higher civilian casualties in the long term, making any type of conflict worse.
(audience applauding) - Wonderful, thank you!
(chuckling) I think the whole room was buzzing.
It was so cool.
(laughs) HANNAH (voiceover): Everyone on the Newton South team was cheering.
And then when they won... - You guys far exceeded my expectations.
(cheering and applauding) GABY (voiceover): Anika was the first girl to win in nine years.
And to see her go that far, that's crazy to me.
JOSH: I feel incredibly privileged.
Guys... GABY (voiceover): In the debate community, when you do well, you almost become, like, a little bit, like, "famous' among debaters, which is really weird.
(laughs) GIL (voiceover): Her winning that was, like, oh, my God, like, we have, like, a legend now, like, on the team.
And, like, the girls that were then freshmen, they, like, idolized Anika.
(snow blower whirring) (game audio playing in background) GIL: Wait, what the heck?
- I just got in.
(woman cheering) GIL (voiceover): We both applied early decision and... NOY: ...we both got accepted to Brown University.
GIRL: It's Dan!
GIRL: Mr. Harvard!
(students cheer and applaud) I know, like, I feel like a proud mommy or something like that, I'm just so proud.
You guys know Hannah got in?
- We know!
GABY: We know!
DAN: I wasn't sure!
I'm so proud of you.
- Thank you, thank you.
- Are you excited?
Like, we can go home and visit our families at the same time.
- Oh, my goodness.
Yeah, we live four houses away from each other and now we're... HANNAH: But I was in the lobby waiting to meet him.
- For your Harvard interviews?
It was, like, so intense and so intimidating.
And I got there, like, 30 minutes early.
- And then I ordered... (voiceover): I didn't really think it was a possibility, you know?
Like, I'm still in shock that, like, I got in.
- ...one bite of it, and it was so bland... (voiceover): I could just, like, feel so many doors opening for me.
(snow crunching) HANNAH: My mom was, like, "I'm so proud of Dan."
(chuckles) (voiceover): It's hard to, like, influence the outcome of the things that we were debating, but if you took, like, the microcosm of high school debate and then put it on this, like, national, international stage...
I want to be able to influence the outcome of things.
Whether it's through my work, through my actual voice, I wanna be heard.
GIL (voiceover): I got way more confident.
That confidence where people are, like, "Damn!"
Like, I spoke up for myself and it worked.
- Zip it up?
- Yeah, zip it.
Oh... (voiceover): You get kind of tired of being self-conscious, caring about what people think.
- (exclaims) (mother speaking Hebrew) NOY: Oh, here and there, I got it.
GIL (voiceover): I don't know, I think debate really just, like, makes you grow up.
(talking in background) WOMAN: I heard you were best-dressed, Gil.
- You can't tell?
- We share a closet.
(chuckling) - That's her claim to fame, Noy.
(engine idling) ♪ ♪ JAY: Novices!
Novices, you have a minute and a half to give a speech based off of the concessions that your varsity just made-- in five, four, three, two, one-- go!
(students talking at once) I'd rather they had a judge, but we don't.
We just don't have one.
- Then take one of the varsity rounds and change it to, like, two varsity-novice rounds.
That way, everyone has a judge.
- Is that okay?
- Whatever, sure.
ANIKA (voiceover): Jay and I really didn't compete that much this year.
Senior year, we kind of decided to focus more on the team.
Oh, yeah, guys!
If novices are debating varsity, then varsity are supposed to give comments to the novices at the end.
Okay, keep the rooms neat, please!
ANIKA (voiceover): Obviously, as a girl in debate, you feel some kind of obligation to continue performing.
But once we had, like, 60 or 70 people walk in and be, like, "I wanna join the debate team," we were, like, "Okay."
They-- I went into the room.
There was a group of, like, seven or eight people, and they were playing hangman!
- Are you kidding?
I had to, I literally yelled at them.
- Well, guess what?
The bar moves when you go from novice to varsity.
- You know, and that's not gonna cut it anymore.
♪ ♪ (talking in background) ♪ ♪ Hi, novices, how are you all?
Are you guys all feeling prepared?
- Stress level's 5,000% higher.
GABY: So, in first cross, Meena, I thought you did a good job.
I thought the only thing was, like, it actually proves your point if you went with the analysis that I just told you... (voiceover): The team was definitely my number-one priority senior year.
- I thought you spent a little bit too much time on defense.
I was really glad you extended the U.N. stuff, even though it...
Watching the novices do well that I trained was just, like, so amazing.
The most rewarding thing that I've ever done on the debate team.
- How was rounds?
Yeah, let's go!
- (laughs): The judge...
The judge was criticizing the other team for, like, chewing gum.
I mean, the judge is right, like... Don't chew gum in rounds.
JAY: Anika, what color are you going to wear tomorrow?
- Maybe I'll wear my bright yellow shirt, because it stands out and Jay hates it, which makes me wanna wear it more.
- There's absolutely nothing I can wear that even looks remotely close to good with yellow.
(voiceover): We joke quite often, actually, on our team that debate partnerships are like marriage.
By that metric, Anika and I have been married for four years.
(talking at once) ANIKA: We are having a discussion now on some of the inequalities and issues in the activity of debate in general.
And first, we're gonna talk about sexism.
GABY (voiceover): I think girls keep showing up because they like the activity-- simple.
But also secondarily, we all kind of see ourselves as maybe the ones who can change things.
Some of these are kind of, like, institutional problems to a certain extent, and things that are really difficult to address, but, like, I don't know, is there any ideas you guys have?
Things that would've made you guys feel better at the time?
GIRL: Because this is so institutional, like, it requires solutions that are, like, proactively, like, anti-sexist, which means that, like, actively look for times that you can, like, mention female debaters that are doing really well.
GABY (voiceover): When I look at the national debate circuit, sure, I don't see a lot of girls, but I also see our ability to get where those boys are.
Like, we have you guys, as well, like, upperclassman female role models.
It's not just all guy captains or whatever.
It's, it's a team where everyone is included, and I think that's something... ANIKA (voiceover): This year, a lot of national tournaments seem to be very male-dominated yet again.
NCFL finals was four males.
NSDA finals was four males.
finals was four males.
Which means that there's still a lot of work to do.
It comes from us, right?
We coach each other.
We perpetuate a good team dynamic.
We promote women into positions of power, and then try to have everybody speak up.
So, it's really up to you guys to continue doing that.
♪ ♪ (talking indistinctly, laughing) ANIKA (voiceover): I'm glad that this year I've been able to have a little bit more fun and relax a little more.
I made time to just prioritize being a little bit happier and healthier.
- Says the debater!
ANIKA (voiceover): I'm never going to be in high school again.
You know, hang out with my best friends, go to the mall, go to the movies, just go to each other's houses, like... GABY: Three-time champions, whoo!
This time that I have now I'm never going to get back.
(cheers) ♪ ♪ GABY (voiceover): My dad says, thinks that, like, recently, I've started talking back a little bit.
I get a little sassier now with my parents and my sisters.
Debate has really taught me to question everything.
Like, when in doubt, ask, why is this true?
Like, why, why, why, why, why?
(turns engine off) And I think my voice is growing stronger, and I think I'm finding it a little more every day.
♪ ♪ MAN: And now please join me in welcoming the class of 2019!
(audience cheers and applauds) ("Pomp and Circumstance" playing) (woman reading names) (audience cheers and applauds) (audience cheering and applauding, woman continues) Jay Habib Garg.
(audience cheers and applauds) Gabriella Nicole Lewis.
(audience cheers and applauds) Sandra Lewis.
(audience cheers and applauds) MAN: Anika Vadisari Sridhar.
(audience cheers and applauds) John James Stembridge.
(audience cheers and applauds) MAN: With the responsibility vested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I pronounce you graduates of Newton South High School!
(audience cheers and applauds) ♪ ♪ ANIKA: Hi, Senator Warren.
- So nice to see you-- tell me your name.
- My name's Anika, I was actually one of your interns this summer.
- Oh, my gosh, of course!
It's good to see you!
- It's good to see you, too.
WOMAN: All right, ready?
One, two, three...
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ MCDUFFIE: Girl Talk is available on Amazon Prime Video.