June 2, 2021
Speech & Debate earns National Sweepstakes Award
The Upper St. Clair Speech & Debate Team won the school’s first ever National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) Sweepstakes Award, the Daniel S. Masterson, Jr. Award of Excellence in Forensics. The honor is given to the top five schools in the tournament who showed excellence across interpretation, debate and rhetorical events.
A team of juniors advanced to the final round in Public Forum Debate. Will Bacdayan and Ammar Kethavath were one ballot away from a national championship (3-2), finishing second overall and equaling the highest finish ever by an Upper St. Clair debater at a national tournament.
Junior Rushikesh Kulkarni placed fourth in Extemporaneous Speech. He is the school’s first-ever national speech finalist and, consequently, the highest-ever speech finish for Upper St. Clair at a national tournament.
In total, 28 Upper St. Clair High School students qualified to compete at the NCFL 2021 69th Grand National Speech & Debate Tournament, which was held virtually May 28-30, 2021. More than 3,000 students from 544 high school throughout the country competed. The top 60 students nationally in each speech category and top 64 in each debate category advanced to elimination rounds.
Additional Individual Achievements:
Advanced to Quarterfinals
Senior Sophia Shi, Extemporaneous Speaking – 15th place
Advanced to Octofinals
Seniors Bryce Keating & Joe Phillips, Duo Interpretation – 29th place
Senior Richa Mahajan, Prose/Poetry – 57th place
Junior Saif Durrani, Lincoln-Douglas Debate – Tied, 33rd place
Also competing at the tournament were the following:
- Seniors: Maddie Nolen (Dramatic Performance), Marlena Bononi (Dramatic Performance), Reshma Gudla (Original Oratory)
- Juniors: Shana Reddy (Original Oratory), Henry Rainone (Dramatic Performance), Saif bin Hammad (Extemporaneous Speaking), Maggie Lowden (Original Oratory), Ashley Eichberg & Shreya Golakiya (Policy Debate), Scott Cheung & Nitish Sharma (Public Forum Debate)
- Sophomores: Jack Miller (Extemporaneous Speaking), Maya Qahramonova & Chelsea Liu (Duo Interpretation), Qadir Khan & Daniel Wang (Public Forum Debate)
- Freshmen: Aarav Patil (Declamation), Zoe Sobel-Drum (Declamation), Shubham Patel & Shiven Verma (Policy Debate)
The Upper St. Clair High School Speech & Debate Team is coached by Mr. Edwards, social studies teacher, and Mr. Dave Watson, English teacher.