Suchritha Patlolla, a sophomore at the Hun School, took first place in her division at the New Jersey NSDA Congress Tournament and will be one of five students who will represent the state in congressional debate in the 2017 National Speech and Debate Association tournament.
Patlolla, who took first place recently in the U.S. Senate division at the competition in Montville, will be one of 250 congressional debaters participating in the national competition this June in Alabama.
The president of the school’s Congressional Debate Club, Patlolla started debating in sixth grade. Debaters must do extensive research, writing “bills” that are then argued in competition. For the February tournament, Patlolla wrote a bill to identify security flaws in U.S. maritime ports. Her bill was among the ten that judges chose for participants to debate the pros and cons of, as they would in the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives.
Patlolla’s research has taught her about everything from U.S. immigration law to subprime mortgages. She has competed at tournaments at universities around the country, including Harvard, and she has qualified for the Tournament of Champions at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, on April 15.
“I really enjoy the mental challenge of debate,” Patlolla said. “I am constantly learning.”