Coed Varsity Debate · Debate – Update

From Dr. Mooney and Mr. Berdnik:


William Tennent High School hosted the Valley Forge district’s National Speech and Debate Association’s national qualifier on Friday, March 8th, to Sunday, March 10th.
Fourteen Tennent students were double (two main events or one main event, plus congress) or triple-entered (two main events plus congress), creating a total of 26 one or two person entries (depending on the event).  Entries are limited by a team’s strength measured by NSDA points and degrees over a three year period. There are 33 schools active in the Valley Forge district, which stretches Pennsylvania east to and including State College, 18 of which competed this weekend. Note the following:
  • Ethan Knox ’19 was 1st in Lincoln-Douglas debate, qualifying to nationals. He also placed 4th in international extemporaneous speaking. Ethan has now qualified to two NSDA national tournaments, three NCFL national tournaments, and four PHSSL state championships.
  • Nick Simila ’20 was 2nd in Lincoln-Douglas debate, qualifying to nationals. This is the first time Tennent has advanced two students to NSDA nationals in main stage events. Nick and Ethan are Tennent’s only two-time NSDA national qualifiers.
  • Michela Allen ‘22 received a gavel for serving as presiding officer in the house.
  • Lars Midthassel ’19 was selected to represent the Valley Forge district at nationals in World Schools debate. Lars is the third student in Tennent history to be selected for the World Schools team.
  • Tennent was 3rd in trophy points, which is an accumulation of the number of rounds entries competed in.  The formats were such that congress had two sessions, speech events three or four preliminary rounds, breaking to a final round, and debate events were a double-elimination tournament.
  • Tennent was 4th in overall sweepstakes, a measure of success in both debate and speech events.
  • Tennent was 3rd in debate sweepstakes, a measure of success in the debate events (policy debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, and public forum debate).
Those team awards are particularly gratifying, as our entry included 10 first-year competitors (8 freshmen, 2 sophomores) out of 14 total Tennent students competing.
Special thanks to Tennent’s Chris Berdnik who serves on the Valley Forge board of five that directs the tournament, Sheila Lubert who ran ballot collection and distribution, Colleen Mooney and Tim Coughlin who orchestrated room checks with our custodial team, AJ/Fran/Joey provided guest WiFi for debate eBallots, and Tracy Farre and Ana Cruz who ran catering and concessions for more than 350 judge and student entries. NHS students volunteered all weekend long and were instrumental to smooth operations.
NSDA nationals will be held in mid-June in Dallas, TX. A Board action item for both NCFL nationals in Milwaukee (four students, plus judges) and NSDA nationals (three students, plus judges) will on an upcoming agenda.
The team travels Thursday to the Pennsylvania High School Speech League state championship at Bloomsburg University and will return Saturday evening.