Oct. 26, 2022
Speech & Debate team ranks 36th nationally
For the third year in a row, Upper St. Clair High School’s Speech & Debate team was named one of the Top 100 schools by the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA). In the 2021-22 school year, Upper St. Clair ranked 36 out of more than 3,000 schools nationwide – up from 38 the previous year.
“Due to the number of students involved in your speech and debate program and the degrees they have earned through competition, leadership and service, 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.”
Students earn Honor Society points and degrees based on participation, which contribute to a school’s strength points. The Upper St. Clair Speech & Debate team achieved 451 or more strength points last year – earning membership in the NSDA’s 400 Club for the third consecutive year.
“Your Club Award 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.”
Nearly 170 students participate in speech and debate at Upper St. Clair High School. The team is coached by Mr. Ben Edwards, social studies teacher, and Mr. Dave Watson, English teacher.
“This fall, we've had one of our best recruiting seasons ever,” Mr. Edwards said. “We're really looking forward to defending our PHSSL State title.”
Mr. Edwards attributes the strong interest in the Speech & Debate Team to the positive culture established by its student leaders.
“I'd like to hope that our numbers are a testament to the friendly atmosphere on the team fostered by our student leadership, and the possibility of individual and team success that our community has built over the last few years,” he said.
Last spring the USCHS Speech & Debate team won the Pennsylvania High School Speech League State Championship for the third time since 2017. The team defeated rival North Allegheny in three major categories – Debate Sweepstakes, Speech Sweepstakes and Overall Large School Sweepstakes. In addition, five juniors earned Academic All American awards from the NSDA.
In February 2022, four members of the USCHS Speech & Debate team earned the degree of Outstanding Distinction and Mr. Watson earned his second Diamond Award from the NSDA’s Honor Society.