Coed Varsity Debate · A NATIONAL DEBATE

FROM Mr. Berdnik & Dr. Mooney:

Dear #TennentDebate Fans:


I am pleased to share that yesterday junior Nick Simila won the Northeast Qualifier of the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Debate Series at Chaminade HS, in Mineola, NY (Long Island).  The 2019 regional competition topic was “RESOLVED: Convicted felons who have completed their sentence should be allowed to vote in the United States.” The National Championship is July 25-27, 2019, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.


The National Championship is a three-day retreat at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The culmination of the Great Communicator Debate Series, it brings together the top two debaters from each of six qualifying tournament across the country, as well as the top two extemporaneous speakers from the NSDA National Tournament, the top orator from the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament, and the top two debaters from the National Urban Debate League. Alongside a wildcard entry from one of the regions, this brings together no more than eighteen (18) of the best debaters in the country.


There are some amazing features to this competition:


  • Participants compete for $50,000 in scholarships.
  • Hotel and airfare expenses for each qualifying student plus one chaperone judge are covered by the Ronald Reagan Foundation.


For winning yesterday’s regional qualifier, Nick has already earned $1,500 in scholarships for himself and $500 for the Tennent Debate program.


The 2017 and 2018 Reagan Debates national champion came out of the Northeast Qualifier.  The closest we have ever come before to qualifying was senior Ethan Knox’s run in 2017, where he lost a 2-1 split decision at Chaminade in the semifinal round to the eventual regional and national champion.


Nick’s path to victory yesterday was a team effort.  Both Nick (6th seed) and Ethan (14th seed) cleared to the Octofinal round, where Ethan upset the third seed in the bracket of 16.  As is our practice in elimination rounds, we advanced the higher seed (Nick over Ethan) in the quarterfinal round, and from there Nick won a 3-0 decision in semifinals and a 2-1 decision in the final round. The final round was adjudicated by a panel that included leadership from New York state’s judiciary and legislature, plus a senior member of the Reagan Foundation’s team.