Standout Student: Wayzata Student Excels in Debate
In Minnesota’s largest high school, the hallways are a crowded place when students have to get from one class to another. But when the school day finishes and the halls clear, that’s when the hard work takes place on activities that won’t appear on any report card.
Sophia Nayyar is on Wayzata High School’s debate team, but for this junior, debate isn’t just another after-school program.
“It’s generally my passion,” Nayyar said. “I love arguing with people about political topics and I think it’s definitely really interesting.”
This is Nayyar’s third year on the debate team, but it’s her first year doing Congress debate, where students essentially argue for or against pieces of legislation.
If you talk to her coaches, her love and passion for the activity becomes evident.
“I’ve spent over 10 years coaching debate at either the high school or college level, and she is easily one of my top five most motivated students,” said Keith Bistodeau, Wayzata’s assistant debate coach.
Nayyar is motivated, in part, because of her interest in political science. Combine that with a drive to succeed, and you have a recipe for success.
“I definitely fall in the ‘very passionate’ spectrum,” Nayyar said. “I’m very passionate in everything I do, and I go in with full force, and I think politics is something that should be encouraged.”
A Perfect Score
Recently, Nayyar became the first Wayzata student to receive a perfect score in Congress debate.
“It’s rare. It does happen, but for us, it’s the first time,” Bistodeau said. “And considering that Wayzata is one of the top debate programs in the state, that just speaks volumes of how difficult it is, and how amazing it is of an achievement to get it.”
Yet she doesn’t let the success get to her head. Nayyar also serves as a mentor on the debate team, helping the other students improve their skills.
“She specifically likes working with our novice competitors, just kind of showing them the ropes and helping kind of lead them through to be successful in their own debates as well,” Bistodeau said.
Nayyar hopes to empower other young women to follow in her footsteps.
“I’m passionate about everything I do, especially when it comes to school,” Nayyar said. “And I really want to inspire others and help other people.”
Nayyar is still undecided on a college, but she’s currently looking at schools on the East Coast. She’s said she’s thinking of majoring in either political science or neuroscience.