Junior Wins Robin Crawford Award

-By Priya Shukla- A few weeks ago, Lilla Gabrielli ’16 won the Robin Crawford Award, a first place speaker trophy in the DANEIS league. She worked with Alexandra Belluck ’17 in a debate competition, which consisted of a cross-ex round, a parliamentary extemporaneous speaking round, and two rounds of impromptu speaking.

In the cross-ex round, both her and her partner took turns debating whether mass surveillance is a justified method of government intelligence gathering. Going into the debate, Gabrielli and Belluck had already prepared their speeches and questions for the cross-ex part; however, they did not know what side they would be assigned to argue on the day. This meant that they had to prepare arguments and questions for both sides, and be able to think on their feet the day of the debate. Since they didn’t know what they would have to argue, they had to work with whatever was thrown at them. The DANEIS, particularly this specific competition, is for champion debaters, some of the best speakers in the league. When I asked her how she reacted to winning the award, she explained, “Winning this award means so much to me because I had never expected to do this well. Going into the tournament, Alexandra and I were incredibly intimidated”. Although she was intimidated, she clearly did not let that hinder her from giving her best performance. She said, “Winning this award really inspires me to continue to compete in more public speaking tournaments next year’ —it’s really such a boost of confidence going into next year”. Although some people would probably stop after such a huge accomplishment, Gabrielli only sees this as fuel to see what else she can achieve.

As exciting as public speaking can be, it is easy to be frightened at the thought of giving a speech in front of people you have just met. However, even Gabrielli said she gets nervous when speaking in front of audiences. Being good at public speaking does not necessitate a lack of nerves, but it means that one has to be able to leave her comfort zone. According to Gabrielli, “Even though it might be daunting at first, it only gets easier the more times you do it!” A huge congratulations to Lilla Gabrielli on her achievement, and maybe this will make you consider trying some public speaking!