Coed Varsity Debate · Debate Update


Tennent hosted the NSDA Valley Forge District National Qualifier this past weekend.  The tournament began on Friday evening and ended on Sunday evening.  Saturday and Sunday were very long days for our team (14 hours and 12 hours, respectively), but our students persevered.  Six Tennent students were either double-entered or triple-entered in speech and debate events for a total of fifteen entries.  There were 267 entries across sixteen schools from the Valley Forge District.  The top two (or three, in some cases) in each event qualified to NSDA Nationals (June 14-19, 2020) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Special thanks to
  • The Valley Forge District Committee, including Valley Forge District Chair / School Board member Chris Berdnik, for running the tournament
  • Tennent’s administrative team for their ongoing support of our students and our program
  • Tennent’s faculty and staff for their support and the use of their classrooms
  • Amy Campbell, Joey Jang, Carolyn Cabello, and Fran Watkins for technology access and support
  • Tracy Farre, Ana Cruz, and our food services staff who catered the event and handled concessions
  • Joe Pietrzak and Tennent’s custodial staff for their assistance throughout the weekend
  • Our judges who covered Tennent’s judging obligations and enabled our students to compete
  • Our student volunteers from the National Honor Society who assisted me and Tim with a variety of tasks throughout the weekend
Below are some highlights from the Valley Forge District Tournament:
  • Assistant speech captain Ethan Baker was selected to represent the Valley Forge District in World Schools Debate at Nationals.  Ethan is the fourth student in Tennent’s history to be selected for a World Schools Debate Team.  The two five-person World Schools Debate Teams from the Valley Forge District include students from eight different schools.  Tim and I will be coaching both of Valley Forge’s World Schools Debate Teams again this year.
  • Having placed 11th in Lincoln-Douglas Debate at NSDA Nationals in 2019, team captain Nick Simila auto-qualified to NSDA Nationals this year.  Nick is now a three-time NSDA national qualifier, a two-time NCFL national qualifier, and a four-time PHSSL state qualifier.
  • Freshman Emma Weinstein advanced to the final round of Programmed Oral Interpretation and placed 5th overall!  It is important to note that Emma competed against three seniors and two juniors in the final round.
  • Assistant Congress captain Michela Allen placed 5th in Senate.
Current NSDA Rankings
  • WTHS: 13th overall in the state
  • Nick Simila: #1 overall in the Valley Forge District and in the state, #1 in the state in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Big Questions Debate, #8 in the state in Extemporaneous Debate
  • Ethan Baker: #3 in the state in Programmed Oral Interpretation
  • Sierra Marelia: #8 in Extemporaneous Debate