Fort Lauderdale, Florida, July 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) is proud to announce this year’s national speech and debate champions. Following a week of exceptional competition at the National Speech & Debate Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the following high school students have been crowned 2018 champions, winning more than $150,000 in scholarships.

“Our national champions are the future leaders of our country,” said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association. “These students not only have extraordinary talent, but they are passionate, smart, dedicated, and hard working. We’re extremely proud of their accomplishments and look forward to all of the great things they will do in the future.”

With more than 8,000 students, coaches, educators, and parents from across the country attending the tournament each year, the National Speech & Debate Tournament is the largest academic competition in the world. More than 150,000 students are members of the National Speech & Debate Association, and only 3% qualify to compete at the national tournament. The national champions make up less than 1% of all speech and debate competitors.

The 2018 NSDA High School Speech & Debate National Champions:

SPEECH EVENTS:
DRAMATIC INTERPRETATION
Kimberly Lee (Summit High School, Summit, NJ)
Coached by Anne Poyner.

DUO INTERPRETATION
Molly McDermott and Kamila Cwanek (Prospect High School, Mt Prospect, IL)
Coached by Scott McDermott, Jon Kaminsky, and Michael Piccoli.

HUMOROUS INTERPRETATION
Taylor Headrick (Highland High School, Medina, OH)
Coached by Suzette Burtoft.

INFORMATIVE SPEAKING
Lily Neumann-Drenth (Woodbury High School, Woodbury, MN)
Coached by Suzanne White and Dillon White

INTERNATIONAL EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING
Uzair Alpial (Plano West Senior High School, Plano, TX)
Coached by Rhonda Smith and Kattie Leito

ORIGINAL ORATORY
Halima Badri (Apple Valley High School, Apple Valley, MN)
Coached by Scott Voss

PROGRAM ORAL INTERPRETATION
Jenee Cidel (Cypress Bay High School, Weston, FL)
Coached by Jon Wayne Martin, Alyssa Fiebrantz, and Joele Miguel Denis

UNITED STATES EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING
Jacqueline Wei (Plano West Senior High School, Plano, TX)
Coached by Rhonda Smith and Kattie Leito

COMMENTARY
Natalie Estes (Collierville High School, Collierville, TN)
Coached by Jeff Robbins

EXTEMPORANEOUS DEBATE
Margaret Kelly (Glendale High School, Springfield, MO)
Coached by Allen Sutton

EXPOSITORY SPEAKING
Olivia Dutcher (ILEAD North Hollywood, Van Nuys, CA)
Coached by Iain Lampert

IMPROMPTU
Miles Morton (ILEAD North Hollywood, Van Nuys, CA)
Coached by Iain Lampert

POETRY READING
Jahne Manifold (Noblesville High School, Noblesville, IN)
Coached by Evan Elliott and Richard Bowman

PROSE READING
Jack Neel (Bethlehem High School, Bardstown, KY)
Coached by Jenny Mudd Neel

STORYTELLING
Garrett Williams (Liberty North High School, Liberty, MO)
Coached by Kim Lenger

DEBATE EVENTS:
BIG QUESTIONS DEBATE
Seung Joh Cho (L.C. Anderson High School, Austin, TX)
Coached by Robey Holland

CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE (HOUSE)
Nicholas DeVito (Poly Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn, NY)
Coached by Maggie Woodward, Janna White, and Jack Ave

CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE (SENATE)
Luke Tillitski (Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte, NC)
Coached by Jonathan Peele

LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE
Ishan Bhatt (St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Ridgeland, MS)
Coached by Jharick Shields, Darin Maier, and Ruthie Taylor

POLICY DEBATE
Stephen Lowe and Danish Khan (Blue Valley Southwest High School, Overland Park, KS)
Coached by Jared Zuckerman

PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE
Ishan Maunder and Devesh Kodnani (Mission San Jose High School, Fremont, CA)
Coached by Jasmine Liu

USA WORLD SCHOOLS DEBATE
Elyse Dewbre (Northland Christian School, Houston, TX)
Kaitlyn England (Kingwood High School, Kingwood, TX)
Emily Grantham (Kingwood High School, Kingwood, TX)
Leila Saklou (Kingwood High School, Kingwood, TX)
Shreya Joshi (Woodlands High School, The Woodlands, TX)
Coached by Courtney Coffman

Special Awards:
COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR
Student Voices of Broward County
Accepted by Marjory Stoneman Douglas Speech & Debate Captains Katherine Guerra and Todd Hewling (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL)

NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR
D. Scott Looney (Hawken School, Gates Mills, Ohio)

WILLIAMS WOODS TATE, JR. NATIONAL STUDENT OF THE YEAR
Elena Cecil (LaRue County High School, Hodgenville, KY)

JAMES M. COPELAND HIGH SCHOOL COACH OF THE YEAR
Joni Anker (Eagan High School, Eagan, MN)

NATIONAL EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
Mary Gormley (Montville High School, Montville, NJ)

MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR
Errol Evans (Attucks Middle School, Hollywood, FL)

MIDDLE SCHOOL COACH OF THE YEAR
Monica Salda (Sacred Heart Catholic School, Hattiesburg, MS)

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About the National Speech & Debate Tournament
This year’s National Speech & Debate Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida featured students from 47 states, 5 countries, and 1 U.S. territory. The week-long 2018 National Tournament brought more than 7,000 students, coaches, educators, and parents to the Fort Lauderdale area.The National Speech & Debate Association has hosted the National Tournament in various cities since 1931. To qualify for this premier event, students across the country compete in 110 District Tournaments. The winners of these District Tournaments qualify for the National Tournament. From more than 150,000 student members, less than 3% qualify to compete in this prestigious competition for the right to be called National Champions.

About the National Speech & Debate Association
The National Speech & Debate Association is the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school, high school, and collegiate students in the United States. The Association provides competitive speech and debate activities, high-quality resources, comprehensive training, scholarship opportunities, and advanced recognition to more than 150,000 students and coaches every year. For 90 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has empowered more than 1.5 million members to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders in our society. For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org.


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Grace Rogers
National Speech & Debate Association
(920) 748-6206
grace.rogers@speechanddebate.org