Don't Argue with Tess

Spotlight Date: 
September 30, 2013
Tess Sapertein
Tess Saperstein had no idea that debate would be her passion. In 8th grade, Tess wanted to take karate. Her mom wanted her to try debate. Tess agreed to attend one debate meeting at Bak and afterwards she was hooked. She signed up for debate, quit karate and has debating ever since. As Tess puts it “It was always very clear I was okay with confrontation and standing up for myself.”
Tess is a senior Communications major and recently placed 2nd at Yale and 7th in the National Catholic Forensic League. She said when she returned, her classmates were so supportive, greeting her with hugs and a gift bag. Tess competes in Congressional debate. She comes up with legislation and then argues the merits of it. The inspiration for her proposition comes from something she read in the news or a subject she is passionate about. She argues for legislation that she feels that Congress could do and would make a difference. 
Tess practices her debate year round. For the past three years she has attended a summer program at the Florida Forensic Institute in Ft. Lauderdale. The summer program really improved her skills but her class at Dreyfoos is great because she always has similar people who share her interest. "Three times a week I get to see Ms. Weber and focus on debate."
When asked what Dreyfoos means to her, Tess responded, "A creative atmosphere where people of all walks of life are accepted. Some of the best friends I have ever made and the most talented people I ever met are here. My debate family is like my family away from home but that being said, I have friends in band and digital media. There is this plethora of talented people I am surrounded with and I love it."
As far as where she is headed for college Tess responded, "If I knew I would tell you!  I am applying at many colleges but my top choices are Harvard, Brown and Georgetown."  She is a National Merit Semi- finalist so getting into one of her top choices should not be a problem!  She wants to major in International Relations and go into the Foreign Service because she loves policy making. "I want to be one of the people who shapes policy and makes real changes." 

"One of the best decisions I have made was to audition for Dreyfoos. I have had the most amazing friends and amazing teachers. It has offered me a community where I am accepted no matter how weird I am."
Ms. Weber, the dean of the communications department, added that Tess has been invited to attend the Round Robin competition at two upcoming tournaments. Round Robin is a special one-day competition prior to the actual debate tournament. Students are invited based on their debate record and achievements in forensics.  Tess will be participating in both the Bronx High School of Science Legislative Round Robin and the Blue Key Congress Round Robin at the University of Florida. 
Tess has also been recognized as an Academic All-American by the National Forensic League. This recognition by NFL, the Speech and Debate Honor Society, is given to students who have earned the Superior Distinction degree for their performance in speech and debate tournaments and who have both impressive grades and test scores.