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Debate Students Headed to National Tournament

Debate Students Headed to National Tournament
Renie Deanda

Next week, three Upper School debate students and their sponsor, Mrs. Walker will head to the National Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa for a full week of competition. 

The National Speech and Debate Association - National Tournament has 6700 students from 1500 schools and will crown 42 champions.

Michelle Walker- Speech & Debate Teacher

"I am honored to be taking a team of students to NSDA Nationals, the pinnacle event for Speech & Debate students. Nationals is the Super Bowl of the Speech & Debate world, and I am eager to see how they perform with such an elite crowd of competitors. Liz, Helina and Wes have led our team this year as Varsity members, and their dedication to their craft has earned them a spot on the national stage. 

Personally, I am looking forward to contributing as a judge in several speech events so I may observe the best of the best. This experience allows me, as teacher and coach, to bring back fresh ideas and new strategies to elevate their performance in future competitions. 

My prayer for these students is that they trust their own knowledge and remember their training. I pray for strength and endurance to compete in their event multiple times every day for the week. And after a week of participating with students from across the U.S. with a diverse set of backgrounds and beliefs, I pray that we can stay grounded in the truth of Christ." 

Wesley Evans, 11th grade, competing in Domestic Extemp 

"At Nationals, I’m most excited to learn how to best compete at this high level. That definitely makes me a tad nervous, diving head first into a whole new world, but it's an experience, and a fun one at that. 

Before performing I usually just chill and relax to some music, whilst reading the news so I’m in the right headspace and so I’ve prepared enough for the upcoming round. My favorite part of competing in extemporaneous speech is that I get to learn so much more than I would ever do on my own. I am so grateful for this opportunity. Here we come, Des Moines!"

Helina Zhang, 11th grade, competing in International Extemp

"I’m really looking forward to Nationals as I will get the chance to compete with different people from all over the United States. At local tournaments, you see a lot of the same competitors because they are in your area. I’m hoping to gain new experiences and perspectives from competing for the first time on a national level. 

A speech ritual I have is listening to my debate playlist that includes a lot of bubblegum pop to keep the energy going, especially since I usually compete early in the morning. Right before I leave for my round, I usually do some vocal exercises and just take some deep breaths to calm my nerves."

Elizabeth Glasper, 11th grade, competing in Expository and Poetry 

"What I’m most excited about for Nationals is competing against people from all over the country. I like how fast paced the competition is, and after competing at TFA State this past March, I feel ready to take on Nationals. I’m ready for this new opportunity to learn more skills past local level tournaments, gain experience, and meet new people. I’m very glad to be heading to Iowa to represent our school. 

Right before I perform, I usually do a little dance to psych out the competition. One of my favorite parts of competing is listening to some of the other speeches that people write and perform."

Good luck, Eagles!

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