At the World’s Individual Debate and Public Speaking Championship (WIDPSC) in Hong Kong, Tejasv Arya ’15 stood before an audience of 16,000 to deliver a five-minute speech he had been given only two minutes to prepare. Ultimately, Arya placed 11th overall of 150 participants in the event, titled “Impromptu Speaking.”
“I was definitely nervous during the competition. I had never done a speech event before, only debates. So it was unnerving at first, but when I got past that initial nervousness, and when I got into the form and rhythm of the speech, it was really enjoyable and went by quickly,” he said.
The competition’s 150 participants competed in four categories over the course of the week-long tournament: Persuasive Speech, Interpretive Reading, Impromptu Speaking and Debating.
The event that ran from April 5 to April 12 attracted high school students from around the world, with 14 delegates representing the United States. Many of the American delegates were students from New England preparatory schools, Arya said. Countries from Europe, Asia and Australia were also represented at the WIDPSC.
“The experience was incredibly valuable. First, due to the fact that it was an international competition, I was able to meet people from all around the world, people I would not have met otherwise. We were all competing against each other, but at the end of the competition we got to explore Hong Kong together,” said Arya.
Arya qualified for the WIDPSC by winning top prizes at debate tournaments throughout the year, including events at Roxbury Latin, Exeter, Hotchkiss and Andover. Some of his former competitors were also present at the competition.
“The atmosphere was an odd mixture of competition and friendliness… I had seen [them] at different debates but hardly knew each other outside of a single debate round,” he said.
At Andover, Arya was a board member of the Philomathean Society and Mock Trial, and has been a regular attendee of Model United Nations since his first year here as a new Lower.
“The Philomathean Society only does debate… so a majority of the tournament was completely uncharted waters for me, but I got to refine my skills [during the tournament] and I couldn’t have asked for a better [way] to be introduced to speaking events,” Arya said.
“As far as public speaking, it helps me understand how to express my opinions and address a big crowd. It prepares you well in terms of confidence and overall expression,” he added.
Arya plans on continuing parliamentary debate in college and hopes to participate in WIDPSC at the collegiate level.