Junior near top in global contest

When junior Alex Goldberg realized he had placed better than over 1,400 students in a global contest, he was shocked.       The Debate Club president traveled to New Haven, Conn. in November to compete in the World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions at Yale University. This was the final competition that showcased the skills of students from around the world who performed well enough in the Global Rounds to qualify for the tournament. In the competition, he teamed up with two students from Indonesia. The group of three students were tested on a wide variety of subjects that included science, literature, art and music, social studies, history, collaborative writing, and team speech and debate. In the end, Alex and his team got 11th place out of 500 participating teams. Individually, he placed 13th out of 1500 students.                                                                                                                                                                                                    The fact that he performed so well was news to him.
“I was really surprised, to be honest,” Goldberg said about his placements. “I didn’t think I was going to do that well. But, you know, I prepared a lot and I’m happy that I did.”                                                                                                                      To get to the Tournament of Champions, Goldberg and his teams performed well enough in the regional contests in San Jose and the international rounds in Amsterdam to earn a spot in the final tournament.                                                       In the earlier rounds of the World Scholar’s Cup, Goldberg teamed up with senior Lizzie Kim and sophomore Lena Kim. When it came time to head to Yale, only Goldberg was the only one able to go. Lizzie explained how their team used each other’s strengths to win in the regional and international rounds.                                                                                    “We all have certain subjects that we are really good at,” she said. “Lena is good at literature. Alex was pretty good at the special area, and I really enjoyed technology and poetry. I feel like all of our strengths helped us do well.”                        Participating with students from all around the world exposed Goldberg to new perspectives about the world we live in. While working with his Indonesian teammates, he was exposed to new ideas,traditions, food, culture, and language.     “Having a global perspective on [Speech and Debate] is really useful because we live in America. That’s just one small part of the world.” Goldberg said. “They [people from other countries] definitely give you a new understanding of what it means to be human.”                                                                                                                                                                                    To prepare for the competition, Goldberg had to look at a list posted by the World Scholar’s Cup that included all of the curriculum and subjects they would cover in the competitions. One topic Goldberg had to study was art pieces and literature, the latter of which included works such as “The Bicentennial Man” by Isaac Asimov, and about 20 other literary works.                                                                                                                                                                                                     There was also a subject called “Special Area” that focused on a different theme each year. This year, the theme was “Unsolved Mysteries” in which students are questioned about the significance of mysteries in society, and why some might be better left unsolved. The questions explores mysteries like Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, the lost Roanoke colony, and the true identity of the writer of the Shakespearean plays. Goldberg really enjoys debating about mysteries,or anything that dominates conversations and affects a lot of people.                                                                               “(I like) pretty much anything that has big impacts,” he said. “It’s not as much fun to discuss something that’s really narrow. So if it’s something that impacts a lot of people, and a really controversial topic then I like talking about it.”             Goldberg plans to participate in the World Scholar’s Cup again next year, and won’t stop doing Speech and Debate anytime soon. He said there is one thing he really loves about debate that motivates him to keep doing it.                                 “I love the sense of community, because there’s all these just really bright people in this world of academic competitions, and there’s so many different perspectives from all over the world,” he said. “So what really fuels me to keep going is just all the people that I’ve met.”