Students qualify for NSDA National Championship in June

May 22, 2017

Jersey Village High School teachers Greg Higgins, left, and Regina Jennings celebrate the qualification of sophomore Joseph Flores, center, to the NSDA National Championship in informative speaking.
Jersey Village High School teachers Greg Higgins, left, and Regina Jennings celebrate the qualification of sophomore Joseph Flores, center, to the NSDA National Championship in informative speaking.

May 22, 2017—Sixteen students from CFISD high schools will compete at the National Speech and Debate Association National Championship, which will be held in Birmingham, Ala., June 18-23. 

To qualify, students had to place as top competitors at district tournaments held throughout the country this spring. Students can advance in a variety of events in the categories of debate, public speaking and literature performance. Earning the right to participate in this tournament places a student among the best speech and debate contestants in the United States. 

Cypress Falls High School students, from left, Alison Yarto, Phillip Koether and Dinah Chukwu will represent the school in Birmingham, Ala., at the speech and debate national championship.
Cypress Falls High School students, from left, Alison Yarto, Phillip Koether and Dinah Chukwu will represent the school in Birmingham, Ala., at the speech and debate national championship.

CFISD will be represented by students from Cy-Fair, Cypress Creek, Cypress Falls, Cypress Lakes, Cypress Woods and Jersey Village high schools at this national championship, which according to NSDA (http://www.speechanddebate.org/nationals) is one of the largest academic competitions in the world. 

NSDA, which also serves as the honor society for speech and debate students, awards winners college scholarships and also recognizes outstanding educators during this summer event.

The students representing CFISD will be:

Congressional Debate

  • Evan Ortiz, Cy-Fair; and
  • Daniel Lehmann, Cypress Creek.

In Congressional Debate, students participate in a mock legislative session that follows parliamentary procedures similar to the U. S. House of Representatives and Senate.  They consider a variety of bills and decide whether or not to pass them into law.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate

  • Tess Welch, Cy-Fair.

In Lincoln-Douglas Debate, students compete individually as they tackle ethical social issues. These students have been assigned to research and discuss the appropriate balancing of civil liberties with national security interests.

Public Forum Debate

  • Alison Yarto and Phillip Koether, Cypress Falls;
  • Eileene Lee and Tvisha Malik, Cypress Woods; and
  • Hannah Bertinot and Sean O’Leary, Cypress Woods.

In Public Forum Debate, students work in partnerships to research topics taken from current news. This summer’s topic will discuss humanitarian and counterterrorism efforts in East Africa.

World Schools Debate

  • Sthefany Robles, Cy-Fair;
  • Amanda Liu, Cy-Fair; and
  • Collin Goemmer, Cypress Creek.

 

World Schools Debate assigns topics on domestic and international affairs in a more impromptu fashion. Students combine from different schools in their regions to participate on a team, which brings debaters who were sometimes competitors during the year together as they partner to represent their cities at the national championship. 

Big Questions Debate

  • Kavya Sethi, Cy-Fair.

 

Big Questions Debate is a new event in which students are asked to dissect broad philosophical questions, such as this year’s topic: Does science leave room for free will?  Students must be prepared to argue both sides of the topic with an emphasis on a conversational speaking style.

International Extemporaneous Speaking

  • Alex Cox, Cypress Lakes.

 

International Extemporaneous Speaking challenges participants to think on their feet as they are given a question regarding foreign affairs at the tournament and have only 30 minutes to prepare a 7-minute persuasive speech, which is delivered without notes. 

Informative Speaking

  • Joseph Flores, Jersey Village.

Informative Speaking requires students to present a 10-minute memorized speech that they have written on a subject of their choosing. The goal is to educate the audience on a topic of significance, and visual aids are included for this purpose.

Program Oral Interpretation

  • Dinah Chukwu, Cypress Falls.

Program Oral Interpretation highlights the dramatic advocacy skills of students as they present a 10-minute performance they have crafted by splicing together different types of literature to communicate a central theme. Presentations must include two or three genres, such as prose and poetry, and each piece is intermixed to advocate a position on an issue chosen by the student.

Cypress Woods High School students Sean O’Leary, left, and Hannah Bertinot receive their second-place awards at their qualifying regional tournament for the NSDA National Championship with coach John Augillard, center. They advanced to the national level in Public Form Debate, along with teammates Tvisha Malik and Rebecca Lee (not pictured), who placed first.
Cypress Woods High School students Sean O’Leary, left, and Hannah Bertinot receive their second-place awards at their qualifying regional tournament for the NSDA National Championship with coach John Augillard, center. They advanced to the national level in Public Form Debate, along with teammates Tvisha Malik and Rebecca Lee (not pictured), who placed first.

These students are coached by Perry Beard at Cy-Fair, Dustin Kay at Cypress Creek, Debbie Waddell at Cypress Falls, Hannah McCord at Cypress Lakes, John Augillard at Cypress Woods and Regina Jennings and Greg Higgins at Jersey Village. 

Waddell also will be recognized by the NSDA as a three-time Diamond Award winner at a national ceremony celebrating outstanding speech and debate educators. Former Cypress Lakes coach Miranda McDonald also will be honored for having earning her first Diamond Award this past December before becoming an assistant principal at Watkins Middle School.

Cypress Lakes High School student Alex Cox, right, receives her award for qualifying to the NSDA National Championship in international extemporaneous speaking with her coach, Hannah McCord
Cypress Lakes High School student Alex Cox, right, receives her award for qualifying to the NSDA National Championship in international extemporaneous speaking with her coach, Hannah McCord

“Since 1925, NSDA has served more than 1.4 million students including hundreds of members of the US Congress, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Oscar-winning actors, presidents of universities such as Harvard and Yale, as well as three sitting justices of the Supreme Court,” said Waddell, who serves as chairwoman for the East Texas NSDA District.  “I have seen the positive impact this activity has empowering students and giving them a passionate and informed voice.” 

From left, Sthefany Robles, Evan Ortiz, Tess Welch and Amanda Liu will represent Cy-Fair High School at the debate national championship this summer.
From left, Sthefany Robles, Evan Ortiz, Tess Welch and Amanda Liu will represent Cy-Fair High School at the debate national championship this summer.

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