U.S. Markets closed

23 Middle School Students Crowned 2019 National Speech & Debate Association Champions

The National Speech & Debate Tournament is the largest academic competition in the world.


DALLAS, TX, July 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

The National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) is proud to announce this year’s National Speech and Debate champions. Following a week of exceptional competition at the National Speech & Debate Tournament in Dallas, TX, 23 middle school students across 8 states have been crowned 2019 Champions. With nearly 10,000 students, coaches, educators, and parents from across the country attending the tournament each year, the National Speech & Debate Tournament is the largest academic competition in the world. 

 “Our national champions are the future leaders of our country,” said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association. “These students not only have extraordinary talent, but they are passionate, smart, dedicated, and hard working. We’re extremely proud of their accomplishments and look forward to all of the great things they will do in the future.”

Jared Padalecki from the hit TV shows Supernatural and Gilmore Girls attended the tournament as a special guest and final round judge in High School Duo Interpretation. Padalecki is a 1998 National Speech and Debate Association Duo Interpretation champion who remembers the impact that speech and debate had in priming him for his acting career. 

"It's an honor to be a part of the National Speech and Debate Tournament. I was on a similar stage 21 years ago, which I believe was probably before any of our finalists were born," said Jared Padalecki. "I know how important speech and debate is. Speech and debate helps prepare you for the world, the artistic aspect of speech and the objective aspect of the debate, hopefully, helps to build a well-rounded person. My experiences as a member of the National Speech & Debate Association helped me develop the confidence and skills I needed to build the career I have today."

The Middle School National Speech & Debate Tournament is presented by Summit Debate. 

The 2019 NSDA Middle School Speech & Debate National Champions: 

PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE
Prajwal Saokar & Brian Yoo (Riverwatch Middle School, GA)
Coached by Mike Lacy. 

LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE
Benjamin Who (River Oaks Baptist School, TX)
Coached by Parin Kashyap, Arjun Tallipaker, Thomas Rivera, and Perry Beard. 

CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE
Adrian Baek (Valley Preparatory School, CA)
Coached by Ricardo Velasquez. 

 POLICY DEBATE CO-CHAMPIONS
Aliza Chauthani & Alex Huang
Eleanor Barrett & Sahana Sudarsan
(Kealing Middle School, TX)
Coached by Yao Yao Chen.

WORLD SCHOOLS DEBATE
Eric Li, Aurora Zhang, Jonathan Chu, and Alice Xu (Canada)

EXTEMPORANEOUS DEBATE
Sophie Reeves (Alice Deal, Washington, D.C.)
Coached by Tim Stroud.

EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING
Mckinley Paltzik (Phoenix Country Day School, AZ)
Coached by C. Ryan Joyce.

ORIGINAL ORATORY
Katie Eckermen (Phoenix Country Day School, AZ)
Coached by C. Ryan Joyce.

DECLAMATION SPEAKING
Niamh Campbell (Phoenix Country Day School, AZ)
Coached by C. Ryan Joyce.

IMPROMPTU SPEAKING
Clara Son (The Broadoaks School Of Whittier College, CA)
Coached by Robert Cannon.

POETRY READING
Katie Eckermen (Phoenix Country Day School, AZ)
Coached by C. Ryan Joyce.

PROSE READING
Wayne Southwell (Valley Middle School, MN)
Coached by Luke Ostrander, Daniel Hodges, Cade Shelton, Tzitel Voss, Tessa Dahlgren.

STORYTELLING
Ayur Vallecha (Pike School, MA)
Coached by Elisabeth F. Venetiou.  

HUMOROUS INTERPRETATION
Will Bourell (Milton Academy Middle, MA)
Coached by Yoshi Makishima, Nick Govindan, Tom Troy, Emily DiDonna, Emily Arsenault, and Deborah Simon.

DRAMATIC INTERPRETATION
Natalie Porter (Woodland Middle School, TN)
Coached by Margaret Hall.

DUO INTERPRETATION 
Miles Sabeeh & Devan Amin (Phoenix Country Day School, AZ)
Coached by C. Ryan Joyce.

About the National Speech & Debate Tournament
The 2019 National Speech & Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas featured students from 48 states, 5 countries, and 2 U.S. territories. The week-long 2019 National Tournament brought nearly 10,000 students, coaches, educators, and parents to the Dallas area. The National Speech & Debate Association has hosted the National Tournament in various cities since 1931, with the 2020 National Tournament to be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. To qualify for this premier event, students across the country compete in 110 District Tournaments. The winners of these District Tournaments qualify for the National Tournament. From almost 200,000 student members, less than 4% qualify to compete in this prestigious competition for the right to be called National Champions. 

About the National Speech & Debate Association
The National Speech & Debate Association is the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school, high school, and collegiate students in the United States. The Association provides competitive speech and debate activities, high-quality resources, comprehensive training, scholarship opportunities, and advanced recognition to more than 150,000 students and coaches every year. For 90 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has empowered nearly two million members to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders in our society. For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org.

###

Grace Rogers
National Speech & Debate Association
920-748-6206
grace.rogers@speechanddebate.org