Public Speaking Goes National

Caroline Colwell, News Editor

Over the summer, nine Miramonte public speakers traveled to Birmingham, AL to compete in this year’s National Forensic League (NFL) tournament.

The tournament was held June 16-21. Throughout the spring, students all over the country compete in local and state speech and debate tournaments to qualify for Nationals, which is the largest academic competition in the world. Miramonte sent 34 competitors to the California High School Speech Association’s State Championships this past April, where two Miramonte came home as state champions, 11 were finalists, and 15 were semi-finalists.

Miramonte was honored as a School of Outstanding Distinction thanks to the team’s performance in both speech and debate events.

Teacher and Head Coach Kristin Plant was awarded her first Diamond Award, to honor her achievements as a coach.

At NFL Nationals, junior Bryan Wang finished in the top 20 for Extemporaneous Commentary, in which students are given 30 minutes to prepare a 10 minute speech analyzing a national or international political issue.

Senior Daniel Galarza performed well with his dramatic interpretation of literature, and sophomores Jonathan Zhou and Daniel Ginsburg advanced to the elimination round of the Public Forum competition, in which they discussed the topic “Resolved: The benefits of American drone strikes against foreign targets outweigh the harms.”

Senior and Team co-President Ethan Miles finished top 60 in International Extemporaneous Speaking. “Nationals was a truly amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity,” Miles said. “I’m sure everyone will cherish it for the rest of their lives.”

Miramonte excelled in Congressional Debate. Charles Correll, 2013 State Champion, finished 14th in the state. Senior Bennett Stehr finished 11th, and for the second time, senior Connor Meckfessel placed in the top five in the House of Representatives.

“It was a great experience,” Stehr said. “You get to meet a lot of really interesting people, whom you are able to debate against and hear speak. I also enjoyed getting to know the members of the Miramonte team much better.

Together, the Miramonte Congress team received the Senator Karl E. Mundt Congressional Trophy, which recognizes ongoing excellence in the Congressional Debate competition. This year was Miramonte’s third time receiving the award.

This year will be Public Speaking’s 30th year at Miramonte.