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Speech and Debate: Best Western District Novice Team

Quarterfinals qualifier, Arnav N.  (Abigail Z.)

Fourteen Academy Speech and Debate students qualified for states this season. The team competed at the OSDA (Ohio Speech and Debate Association) finals at Austintown on March 3-4.

Ms. Hogan, the team’s advisor, welcomed new coaches Ms. Kim Reiner and Mr. Bruce Mann, former high school competitors, to remodel the team by focusing on Speech events, which allows students to build speaking skills and understand what it means to perform and overcome the common fear of public speaking. By not having a debate-focused team, Ms. Reiner and Mr. Mann helped more students and prepared all of them at higher levels.

Fourteen students competed at districts on February 4 after a series of in-person tournaments and virtual matches held in  Michigan, New Jersey, and New York. 

Current Congress captains, Alex N. and Tiko B., and future 2023-24 captain, David W. qualified at the States in Congressional Debate (Congress), an event simulating the U.S. Congress.

Also at districts, Gavin H. and Chaz M. placed second in DUO Interpretation, which requires a pair of students to recreate events from books, movies, or plays–without physically interacting or looking at each other. In U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking (a discussion of) American current events,  Erica D., Sam B., and Hansheng X. took home 2nd, 4th, and 5th, respectively. Likewise, Dilin G. received 2nd in  International Extemp. Grace H. placed second in Program Oral Interpretation (POI), an event interpreting poetry or prose. Arnav N. placed second in Informative Speaking (IS), which requires students to inform the audience about a topic of interest. In Arnav’s case, internet findings on avocados led to research involving sloths, Native Americans, the Mexican Cartel and his speech, “The Tale of the Avocado.” Ellie T. was tournament champion in Original Oratory, delivering a powerful speech with original thoughts. 

Students who qualified as alternates were  Zair H. in POI, Eesha T. in Humorous Interpretation ( recreating a humorous skit), and David W. in Declamation, a re-enactment of previous historical speeches.

At states, sophomore Arnav N. finished highest, ranking 10th out of 65 spots in preliminaries and receiving 4th in his quarterfinal, an exceptional accomplishment for a novice speaker.

Academy has won over 150 awards in 2022-2023, placed top 10% nationally, and received Best Novice Team in Western District. 

Individually, tournament highlights include Grace H.’s 1st place (POI), Sam B.’s 3rd place (U.S. Extemp), and David W.’s 3rd place (Congress) at Hathaway Brown.

Gavin H., Chaz M. (DUO), and Sam B.’s (Extemp) came in second place at Olentangy.

Arnav N. took first place (IS) at Beavercreek.

 Zair H.’s came in second place (POI) at University School.

On the Speech circuit, Arnav said, “I think that this season has been amazing for our team! We’ve undergone a ton of changes, and it’s great to see that so many people did so well. I’m so proud of everyone, especially our new captain, David W., who stepped in and tried a new event. If anyone is looking to become a better public speaker, become more confident, or just have some fun and act or discuss current events they should totally join Speech next year!”

Students accomplished Ms. Reiner’s goals of “creating something they were passionate about, presenting it well, being proud and comfortable with their voice, and leaving a profound message.”


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