Freshman Milla C. Makes the 2020-2021 USA Debate Development Team

Milla C. ‘24 started debate in 7th grade with encouragement from her parents and no formal training.

“I’ve always been into discussion and debating, and when I got to Poly it was an obvious thing to do. I ended up really liking it and spending lots of time on it.”

After two years of debate at Poly, Milla decided to apply to the USA Debate Development Team, a highly-competitive national team that attends national and international debate tournaments. Milla applied a week before the June 1 deadline with prepared essays and a video. After she passed that stage, there were three more rounds of consideration before she was accepted to the development team. Out of 15 spots on the development team, there were seven returning students and only eight spots open. Milla is the only freshman to make the team.

Through debate, Milla often speaks on salient and current topics affecting the U.S. and world. Her second application round discussed whether we should remove monuments to the confederacy, and the third round was about defunding the police. Milla says these topics allow her to learn a lot through the research and debate as debaters must represent both sides of the argument.

Now Milla is a member of both the USA Debate Development Team and Poly’s debate team. She attends multiple meetings, practices, and tournaments for both teams. Milla hopes to apply to the USA Debate Team next year, an elite team open only to sophomores through seniors, and continue competing. 

Debate has also been helpful to Milla considering her future career.

“I’ve thought about being a lawyer! It goes in line with debate and requires certain skills for debate that are the same with law,” she says. “I would be interested in focusing on something related to humanities including civil rights law.”

As with many activities this school year, the tournaments will look a little different than in the past as the events will be held online. Instead of orating to a room of participants, Milla says she's experienced in the art of speaking directly to the camera.