Freshman Friday: Eliana Bender

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Freshman Friday: Eliana Bender

By Rachel Hernandez-Velarde

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There’s no doubt that debaters travel a lot, especially varsity debate. But what about the newcomers, the novices? Freshman Eliana Bender is a happy novice debater. She boasts about her teammates and how much fun she has during debate.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m with my two best friends and I’ve made a lot of other friends on team so that makes it really fun. I also have been able to learn a lot and it’s cool that we get to see college campuses. Our coach Mr. [Eric] Oddo is really nice and all the varsity help whenever I’m confused and obviously another fun part of being in it is getting the trophies,” Bender said.

Bender has been on the top of her class since middle school and is academically competitive. Her FaceTime calls are hours long between her and classmate freshman Isabella Gil. But get this: they’re FaceTiming about homework and debate.

“I’ll FaceTime Isa hours at a time, and we’ll have ‘Homework Sleepovers’. We’ll do homework until two in the morning, usually at her house,” Bender said.

Bender has put in hard work and hard hours for debate. When she placed in the Kentucky tournament, it was no surprise why. Her older peers and Oddo have helped her out greatly.

“I did the best at the Kentucky tournament where I got 6th Place Speaker Award and made it to quarters. I got selected for nationals in Atlanta so that’ll probably be the most fun. Our coach Mr. Oddo is really nice and all the varsity help whenever I’m confused and obviously another fun part of being in it is getting the trophies. It’s like all the handwork and all the practice pays off,” Bender said.