Valley Student Kapur Named National Oratory Champion
Valley High School junior JJ Kapur was named the 2017 Original Oratory Champion at the Tournament of Champions, the most prestigious speech and debate competition in the U.S. The win continued his impressive string of victories, which included first-place finishes at the Emory University, Minneapple and Harvard University tournaments and the Barkley Forum for High Schools.
As an original orator, Kapur composed his own persuasive speech addressing a social issue. His speech, “Let’s Dance,” started out with a lively Bollywood dance and focused on his experiences as a Sikh American youth. He earned top rankings in the semifinal and final rounds of the Tournament of Champions before earning the championship trophy.
The Tournament of Champions is the most prestigious high school speech and debate competition in the U.S. To qualify, debaters must receive two bids, earned by advancing to late elimination rounds at select individual tournaments. Held annually at the University of Kentucky, the tournament provides the most successful debaters from individual tournaments with a chance to compete with each other. Valley seniors T.J. Foley and Trent Gilbert also made it to the elimination rounds of the Tournament of Champions.
The Valley debate team was founded in 1968. High school and junior high school students can participate in debate. Coached by Dave McGinnis, the team attends 35-40 competitions per year, traveling to different locations including Harvard, Stanford and Yale universities.