• Nov. 13, 2020

    Speech & Debate team ranks 50th nationally

    NSDA Upper St. Clair High School’s Speech & Debate team was recently named one of the Top 100 programs in the National Speech & Debate Association for the 2019-20 school year. Upper St. Clair ranked 50th out of more than 3,000 schools nationwide.

    “Due to the incredibly high number of students involved in your speech and debate program and the degrees they have earned through competition, your school was named one of the top programs in the nation,” J. Scott Wunn, NSDA executive director, said. “This is the most prestigious membership award the association can bestow upon a school.”

    Speech and debate students earn points and degrees from NSDA based on competitive and service-rated activities, ranging from the Degree of Merit with 25 or more points to the Degree of Premier Distinction with 1,500 or more points. These degrees contribute to a school’s strength points.

    The Upper St. Clair Speech & Debate team earned membership in the NSDA’s 400 Club for achieving 400 or more strength points last year.

    “This milestone is remarkable because it demonstrates outstanding commitment to teaching students essential life skills – including communication, research, listening, writing and organization,” Mr. Wunn said. “The hard work you have invested to achieve this distinction will pay dividends from years to come.”

    With nearly 125 members, the Upper St. Clair Speech & Debate team has high hopes of winning its third Pennsylvania High School Speech League championship this spring.

    “COVID has been a challenge, but we've utilized some really innovative technology developed by our national league, the National Speech & Debate Association, so that we have a full slate of Saturday tournaments between October and April,” Ben Edwards, speech and debate coach, said. “We've lost some of the camaraderie fostered by in-person practice and tournaments, but we hope to foster an environment where our students feel like they're a part of something in these strange times.”

    During the 2019-2020 school year, 10 Upper St. Clair High School students earned Academic All-American Awards from the National Speech & Debate Association. Honorees include senior Maddie Nolen and 2020 graduates Vivek Babu, Sunny Chai, Claire Chen, Devan Ekbote, Mathena Jencka, Basir Khan, Alex Lampe, Anusha Neupane and Anika Sinha.