At the beginning of the debate rounds in Utah, Nicole Sukhbaatar (pictured on the top right holding a certificate) took a deep breath, recalled last summer, and began her speeches.
Nicole participated in the University of Arizona's Arabic Jumpstart program, funded by Qatar Foundation International, in the summer of 2022 as a high school student wanting to improve her Arabic skills. She prepared specifically for the National High School Arabic Debate organized by QatarDebate. Sukhbaatar wanted to improve her Arabic skills, knowing that, by doing so, there was a chance of her being able to be a contributing teammate in the debate.
This past weekend, on February 3rd and 4th, the University of Utah hosted the National High School Arabic Debate. Teams of four from around the country flew to participate in the debate. West High School, Sukhbaatar's team, was incredibly nervous. Speaking in a second language is hard, and for the team debating in Arabic seemed impossible. However, throughout the debate, they began to gain confidence and fluency and realized that their language skills were good enough to create, refute, and debate arguments. This confidence in their language skills won them first place in the debate and will allow them to head to Qatar in August to represent the United States on the international level.
Mabrook Nicole and team! We are excited to see how far your Arabic skills will take you!