Eye on the Pupil: Junior Daniel Moerner

Though words supposedly never hurt us, junior Daniel Moerner is a nearly unstoppable force when it comes to the power of his words, both when debating and when singing to different melodies.

Daniel’s kitchen counter, unlike most, isn’t lined with empty cereal boxes, but with trophies from his debate competitions. Every Wednesday night from 7 to 9 p.m. Daniel, a member of both the National Forensics League and Coastal Forensics League, meets with 50 students from MVHS and LAHS to prepare for upcoming competitions. The team is currently ranked fourth in the nation.

Daniel is a Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debater, and does one-on-one debates with other competitors on topics about values and ethics. This is Daniel’s third year debating, and he is currently the captain of the LD debate team.

“I like to debate because of the people and the community,” Daniel said. “I have so many great friends from around the nation that I love to talk to and interact with. The chance to read and do preparation is also intellectually stimulating.”

Daniel has traveled to New York, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Kentucky, debating against thousands from around the nation.

He has won many prestigious awards, including first place at the Stanford National Invitational and the Vassar Round Robin. At the Stanford Invitational in February, he got a scholarship to the debate summer camp.

During the first semester, Daniel qualified for a national tournament known as the Tournament of Champions in Kentucky by receiving six bids from getting into certain rounds of certain tournaments; two bids are needed in order to attend this tournament. This invitation-only tournament has 70 of the nation’s best debaters and begins tomorrow.

Going into the tournament, “Victory Briefs Daily” currently ranks Daniel second in the nation in his event.

According to coach Stephen Hess, a sophomore at Stanford University and an MVHS alumnus, Daniel is on a different level from the other competitors on his team.

“You only need to teach him something once, and often you don’t have to teach him anything at all,” Stephen said. “He will work through problems himself. He pushes her teammates to a higher level.”

Though much of Daniel’s time is spent traveling the country debating at numerous tournaments, Daniel also finds time to explore another passion: singing.

Since middle school, Daniel has been part of school music groups; in the second semester of freshman year, he was a member of Chorale, and he participated in Concert Choir during his sophomore year.

Daniel became a member of the Main Street Singers his junior year.

Unlike debate, singing attracts Daniel because it is enjoyable but also challenging.

“It’s a lot about self-discipline but also about how you can help other people and your section,” Daniel said. “I also like it because I’m one of the best debaters at this school but not the best singer, so it’s something that I have to work hard for.”

According to music teacher Mark Shaull, Daniel has been a strong and supportive member of the Main Street Singers and has an “excellent understanding of [their] culture and commitment to excellence.”

Shaull believes that once Daniel graduates from high school, he’ll take with him “the knowledge of the impact and power of music in one’s life.”

Daniel recently returned from a tour of Europe with the Main Street Singers. The tour went from April 9-27.

While on tour, the singers had the opportunity to sing at the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris in front of hundreds and a constant flow of tourists.

“Singing in Notre Dame was such a wonderful opportunity because so few people get to do it,” Daniel said.