The Yokota School Debate Team's Championship 1997 Season:

You Can't Win Them All (But You Can Try).

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Only two years ago, this incarnation of the YHS Debate team started with six 8th graders and 2 9th graders (both of whom knew they had to leave at the end of the season) and no returning members. Last season, they swept the alternative tournament, and this year they tied with St. Mary's to earn YHS's first Kanto Plains championship.

The award came to a team that was Yokota's biggest and best. Rob Bankey swept the top speaker award by over ten points, an enormous margin, and clearly starred. Yet Yokota had lots more debaters of skill including fellow captain Brice Carson, Andrew Kim, Leeann Chen, Rebecca Brusseau, and..... This was the kind of team on which the captains could really help coach the newer debaters and everyone, absolutely everyone, helped the tournament six in preparing for the big show. In fact, my toughest decision all year came in deciding which six to take to the tournament. Two years before I would've loved to have that problem!

The only disappointment this season was in DoDDs decision, once more, not to invite the debaters to go to Far East East Speech and Drama Tournament. I'm very proud of my team for showing Yokota at its best.

Here's the team circa September.

Here's the team at the tournament.

Rob Bankey: Top Debater in the Kanto Plains 1997.

Whole Season 22 wins -28 losses
Note: Simply coming up with 50 squads ready to debate must be a record also.

October 3
St. Mary A over YHS A (Brice/Robert)
St. Mary's B ties YHS B (Matt/Sheena)
YHS C over St. Mary's C (Andrew/Mikki)
YHS A over Seisen A (Brice/Robert)
Seisen over YHS C (Monique/Rebecca)
Seisen over YHS C (Jamie/Cole)
YHS C over ASIJ C (Matt/Andrew)

October 20
St. Mary's A over YHS A (Brice/Robert)
YHS B over St. Mary's B (Matt/Sheena)
St. Mary's C over YHS C (Andrew/Mikki)
ASIJ C over YHS C (Jaime/Cole)
YHS A over Seisen A (Brice/Robert)
Seisen B over YHS B (Monique/Rebecca)
Seisen C over YHS C (Justina/Peter)
YHS C over St. Mary's C (Cole/Jaime)

October 27

ASIJ A over YHS A (Brice/Robert)
YHS B over ASIJ B (Leeann/Andrew)
ASIJ C over YHS C (Peter/Justina)
ASIJ C over YHS C (Cole/Jaime)
ASIJ A defeats YHS A (Rebecca/Monique)
YHS B defeats ASIJ B (Andrew/Mikki)
YHS C defeats ASIJ C (Matt/Sheena)

November 3

YHS A defeats St. Mary's A (Rebecca/Robert)
St. Mary's B defeats YHS B (Andrew/Matt)
YHS C defeats ASIJ C (Justina/Peter)
YHS A defeats ASIJ A (Rebecca/Robert)
ASIJ B defeats YHS B (Andrew/Matt)
Seisen C defeats YHS C (Jaime/Leeann)

November 10

YHS A defeats Seisen A (Robert/Leeann)
Seisen B defeats YHS B (Brice/Andrew)
YHS C defeats ASIJ C (Monique/Rebecca)
YHS A defeats ASIJ A (Robert/Leeann)
ASIJ B defeats YHS B (Matt/Andrew)
YHS C defeats Seisen C (Monique/Rebecca)
YHS C defeats ASIJ C (Jaime/Sheena)

Alternative Assembly-intra-school Championship

A defeats D (Robert-Leeann over Justina-Peter)
B defeats E (Brice-Andrew over Jaime-Sheena)
C defeats F (Monique-Rebecca over Matt-Cole)
E defeats D (Jaime-Sheena over Justina-Peter)
C defeats D (Monique-Rebecca over Justina-Peter)
B defeats C (Robert-Leeann over Monique Rebecca)
A defeats B (Robert-Leeann over Brice-Andrew)

Final Standings (including byes)
A team 3-0: "the bragging rights" (Leeann, Robert)
B-C teams 2-1 (Matt-Andrew; Monique-Rebecca)
E team 1-1 (Jaime-Sheena)
D-F teams 0-2 (Justina-Peter; Matt-Cole)

Alternative Tournament (0-6)
ASIJ over YHS D (Peter/Justina)
ASIJ over YHS E (Sheena/Jaime)
Seisen over YHS F (Mikki/Matt)
St. Mary's over YHS D (Peter-Justina)
St. Mary's over YHS E (Sheena/Jaime)
ASIJ over YHS F (Cole/Matt)

Alternative Tournament Speaker Awards
Peter Twigg tied for fourth (top 3 received awards, 3rd had 42, 4th 41)

Main Tournament (1-1-7 ties or 4 1/2 4 1/2) Points
(Tie here means the judges split on their decision)
YHS A ties with ASIJ A (Leeann/Rob) 3
YHS B ties with ASIJ B (Brice/Andrew) 2
YHS C ties with ASIJ C (Monique/Rebecca) 1

YHS A defeats St. Mary's A (Leeann/Rob) 6
YHS B ties with St. Mary's B (Brice/Andrew) 2
YHS C ties with St. Mary's C (Monique/Rebecca) 1

YHS A ties with Seisen A (Leeann/Rob) 3
Seisen B defeats YHS B (Brice/Andrew) 0
YHS C ties Seisen C (Monique/Leeann) 1
Total 19

Final Scores from the Tournament:
First: St. Mary's and YHS = 19
Third: Seisen/ASIJ = 17

Speaker Awards and points
Rob Bankey # 1 (171, closest competition: 157)
Brice Carson # 3 in B (129), Andrew Kim 4th (127)

Announcements and News Stories

October 22
In quest of their most sucessful regular season ever,the 1997 YHS Varsity Debate team met ASIJ, Seisen, and St.Mary's on the field of rhetorical battle. The A team of Robert Bankey and Brice Carson sucessfully defeated Seisen and lost to St. Mary's on a technicality. On the B level, the team of Matt Downing and Sheena Reekie remained unbeaten for the season by downing St. Mary's. At the C level, Jaime Ritton and Cole Tucker won their first debate of the season, again against St. Mary's. All debaters are to be congratulated on a fine effort.

October 27
The Yokota High School Varsity Debate team battled against ASIJ on Monday October 27. Andrew Kim lifted his personal record to 4-1 by winning a C debate in partnership with Leeann Chen and a B debate with Mikki Levi. Matt Downing continued his personally unbeaten season by winning along with C level partner Sheena Reekie. On the A leve, the team of Rebecca Brousseau and Monique Bankey barely lost a very close match described by the judge as the "best debate of the season." Congratulations to all debaters.

Article By Alan Kinchloe in the Panther Press

Debate Team

by: Allen Kincheloe

The Debate team seems to be on a good start this year. Their current record is 6 1/2 - 8 /2. Daniel Fruit, their sponsor, said, "The debate team has a chance (to win the tournament) this year." because they have some better people this year and would have a better record if it wasn't for the technicality. A debate team is two sides that try to prove different sides of an argument.

The subject for this year's debate is "Renewable Energy." One side of the debate tries to prove that the government needs to change it. The other side tries to prove that it's just fine and it needs to stay the same.

Daniel Fruit has worked with debate for five years now.

They had a match Monday night November 3, 1997 at the Yokota High School in the Lecture Hall. The Varsity "A" team, Robert Bank and Rebecca Brusseau had a win. The "C" team, Justina Jenson and Peter Twigg, had their first win of this season. The Debate team is three for three. Daniel Fruit their "sponsor", said "They have a very good chance this year." Good luck guys!

November 3
The Yokota High School Varsity Debate team battled against the other Kanto Plains schools, earning a 3-3 record on the evening. On the A level, the team of Rebecca Broussea and Robert Bankey went 2-0. On the C level, Peter Twigg and Justina Jensen won their first match of the season. For both Justina and Rebecca these were their very first debate victories. Congratulations to the team on another fine effort.

November 14
The powerful YHS debate team went 5-2 against Kanto Plains opponents on Monday. The A team of Robert Bankey and Leeann Chen swept all before them, racking up a 2-0 record while Monique Bankey and Rebecca Brousseau scored two wins in the C level. The C squad of Jaime Ritton and Sheena Reekie won their sole match. This leaves Sheena with the distinction of going an entire season UNDEFEATED. Will she remained undefeated in the alternative tournament? Inquiring minds can go to the Alternative Debate Tournament in the 2 story building Monday at 1600 and find out for sure. YHS ended the regular season with a record of 171/2 wins, 5 more than last year and its best record of the 1990s.

November 17
The Yokota High School A team of Robert Bankey and Leeann Chen won the "bragging rights" at the interschool championship on Monday with a perfect 3-0 record. It wasn't easy. They survived a very close battle with the C team and take-no-prisoners final round against the B team (both 2-1) in route to the top. Cheer on all Yokota's debaters as they battle in the tournament Friday.

November 22


The Yokota High School Varsity Debate team tied St. Mary's on November 21st for Kanto Plains Championship. The victory was truly a team effort. D-F debaters Matt Downing, Peter Twigg, Cole Tucker, Jaime Ritton, Sheena Reekie, Justina Jensen, and Mikki Levi helped with research and writing throughout the last week. In the tournament, the C team of Monique Bankey/Rebecca Brousseau provided key victories. The B team of Brice Carson/Andrew Kim also won important matches with Brice winning the 3rd place speaker award and Andrew almost equalling him. The A team of Leeann Chen/Robert Bankey put Yokota over the top. Robert Bankey claimed THE top speaker award for the entire tournament. Congratulations debaters, you made Yokota High School Proud!

YHS Wins Debate Tournament (in Panther Press

Yokota High School Wins Kanto Plains Debate Championship

On Friday, November 21st, 1997, a room full of debaters stood hushed, as tournament director Phil Keohane announced the co-winners of the 1997 Kanto Plains Debate Championship. Two teams had tied: St. Mary's and Yokota High School.

This ended a memorable evening for Yokota High School. Just moments earlier, Mr. Keohane had announced that one of Yokota's captain, Brice Carson, had won a third place speaker award for B debaters. Yokota's other captain, Robert Bankey, had achieved the highest individual award given in the Kanto Plains: the all-star patch for top level A debater.

Despite the individual accomplishments, however, debaters were most proud of their journey as a team, a journey that had begun three years earlier when Yokota attended the same tournament and placed a distant fifth (last). For this reason, it was very appropriate that the team received a trophy, for all the debaters, including the D-F teams (Matt Downing, Cole Tucker, Peter Twigg, Justina Jensen, Mikki Levi, Jaime Ritton, Sheena Reekie) had spent numerous hours helping prepare the A team (Leann Chen/Robert Bankey), B team ( Andrew Kim/Brice Carson), and C team (Monique Bankey/Rebecca Brousseau) for the tournament. For the last week, all 13 had worked, ate, and slept debate.

"I'm very proud of my team," commented coach Fruit. "They worked hard, tried, and deserved their success." He added. "Not only that, they are a wonderful group of kids."

Debate is a very demanding activity. Other YHS students got some notion of this Monday during the debate assemblies. Some teachers had students try to take notes on the rival speeches; few could do so. In fact, while a person is speaking, the opposite school's debaters must simultaneously (a) take notes (b) assemble evidence, and (c) write speeches. Not only this, debaters must spend long hours conducting research so that they have the evidence on hand and can have the prepartion to write those speeches. The fact that top debaters make this look easy is a great accomplishment.

"Students at YHS are getting more acquainted with debate," Mr. Fruit said, "and that's good. I hope that some students who were interested in the debates Monday and excited by our success try out next year. Whether we win or lose the tournament, you will certainly learn a lot and feel challenged."

YHS Wins Varsity Debate Championship
As Appeared in the Parent Newsletter

Yokota High School tied St. Mary's International School to claim the Kanto Plains' Championship. The winning Yokota team included captain Robert Bankey and Leeann Chen, A level, team captain Brice Carson and Andrew Kim, B level, and Monique Bankey and Rebecca Brusseau, C level.

In addition to winning the tournament, captain Brice Carson place third among all B level debaters and received an award certificate. Carson's partner, Andrew Kim, narrowly missed winning another C speaker's award. Robert Bankey, Yokota's other captain, won the highest individual award given to Kanto Plains debaters: recognition as the top A level debater in the tournament.

This victory capped a season which saw Yokota win an all-time high of 22 wins at all levels. Other members of the team included Matt Downing, Cole Tucker, Mikki Levi, Jaime Ritton, Peter Twigg, Justina Jensen, and Sheena Reekie. Peter Twigg narrowly missed winning a speaker's award in the Alternative (j.v.) tournament. The team's coach is Daniel R. Fruit, an English/history at YHS.

Debaters Denied!: From November 1998 Panther Press

By: Daniel Fruit

On November 21st, 1997, Yokota High School won its first Kanto Plains championship, tying St. Mary's. While this represents a major triumph for Yokota, it also marked a sad year for debating in DoDDs. In ten years, the number of schools debating in DoDDs has decreased until only Yokota remains. This may seem surprising, but not so surprising considering DoDDs continued lack of support for debating.

After the various newspaper articles appeared celebrating YHS's hard-earned victory, I received a message of congratulations from a DoDDs didn't show its support in a more meaningful fashion: by restoring a Far East debate tournament. I received no response. Apparently, it's a lot cheaper to write am email message or two than to commit to actively supporting a debate program by giving away 4-6 plane tickets.

Three years ago, DoDDs debaters attended the Far East tournament along with other members of various school speech and drama teams. Each year, teams that attended Far East could take 12 students: 10 drama students plus 2 debaters. When I attended the tournament in 1992-1993, 3 schools sent debate teams: YHS, Kinnick, and Seoul. YHS WON that tournament. The next year, YHS won several medals in other speech categories.

Somewhere along the line, however, DoDDs drama directors started to get greedy. Schools lacking a debate program started bringing 12 drama students. This blatant cheating led to a call for a vote about whether Far East should continue to have debate as event. Note that none of the debate coaches received a vote. The drama coaches voted to simply steal the two debate spots so that every drama coach could bring 12 drama students.

I have fought to try to change this situation. I tried to support some schools' new programs. Two years ago, Several schools contacted me about the idea of starting a team solely for the tournament. I supplied them each with an entire disk full of information, only to have, Yet again, drama coaches (note again how debate coaches never get a vote) vote to take the debate spots. This year, I tried contacting the DoDDs person in charge of the event only to have him refer me to the host school who refered me back to the DoDDs person in charge. Everyone refused to take responsibility, and no one offered YHS what it deserves: tickets on the plane to Far East Speech and Drama Tournament.

I think that this situation punishes my debaters and YHS. If other schools no longer debate, then they should have only 10 spots in the Far East. Either that, or YHS, which has gone to the work of supporting and maintaining a debate program when all other DoDDs schools have failed, should get 14 seats to the tournament. Let us send our A + B teams, and let them debate. I suggest that if yet another drama coaches' vote doesn't achieve this end, our school take our example from the drama teams and simply send 14 students, rules or no. Better yet, Why not let the debate coaches vote on whether to send their teams.

Debate Team Champs at Yokota High
From: The International Educator

By Daniel R. Fruit

Debate Team Champs at Yokota High

Yokota High School tied St. Marys' International School to claim the Kanto Plains Championship, the first in its 25 year history. Everyone worked hard very hard. I'm proud of you.

That winning Yokota team included team captain Robert Bankey also A level team captain and Leeann Chen; team captain Brice Carson and Andrew Kim, B level; and Monique Bankey and Rebecca Brousseau, C level. In addition to winning the tournament, Captain Brice Carson placed third among all B level debaters and received a certificate. Carson's partner, Andrew Kim, narrowly missed winning another speaker's award. Robert Bankey, Yokota's other captain, won the highest individual award in the Kanto Plains as the top A level debater.

The victory capped a season that saw Yokota win an all-time high of 22 victories. Other team members included Matt Downing, Peter Twigg, Mikki Levi, Jaime Ritton, Justina Jensen, and Sheena Reekie. Twigg narrowly missed winning a speaker's award in the alternative tournament.

Daniel R. Fruit, team coach, teaches English/history at YHS

Yokota High Sets Debate Team Win Record
From: Pacific Starts and Stripes

Tokyo-Yokota High Schools debate team reached a school record 171/2 wins for the regurlar season. Team members tied for first in the Kanto Debate Championship.

Yokota shared the chamionship Friday with St. Mary's International School in a four-way contest that involved the topic: "Resolved that the US should substantionally increase the use of renewable energy."

Yokota's Robert Bankey was awarded a top individual A-level award, and he and teammate Leeann Chen competed in the A division. Brice Carson was third individually in the B division.

Others earning points for coach Daniel R. Fruit's squad were Andrew Kim in B level and Monique Bankey and Rebecca Brousseau in C.Other debaters were: Matt Downing, Peter Twigg, Mikki Levi, Jaime Ritton, Justina Jensen, and Sheena Reekie.

Seems Like Yokota Spirit

Play our unofficial anthem

Alternate words:
Here we are now.
We're debaters.
From Yokota