DALLAS, TX, July 09, 2019 (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 Dallas, TX, 31 high students across 11 states have been crowned 2019 Champions, winning more than $100,000 in scholarships. With nearly 10,000 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. 

“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.”

Jared Padalecki from the hit TV shows Supernatural and Gilmore Girls attended the tournament as a special guest and final round judge in Duo Interpretation. Padalecki is a 1998 National Speech and Debate Association Duo Interpretation champion who remembers the impact that speech and debate had in priming him for his acting career. 

"It's an honor to be a part of the National Speech and Debate Tournament. I was on a similar stage 21 years ago, which I believe was probably before any of our finalists were born," said Jared Padalecki. "I know how important high school speech and debate is. Speech and debate helps prepare you for the world, the artistic aspect of speech and the objective aspect of the debate, hopefully, helps to build a well-rounded person. My experiences as a member of the National Speech & Debate Association helped me develop the confidence and skills I needed to build the career I have today."

Almost 200,000 students are members of the National Speech & Debate Association, and only 4% qualify to compete at the national tournament. The national champions make up less than 1% of all high school speech and debate competitors nationwide. 

The 2019 NSDA High School Speech & Debate National Champions: 

LANNY D. AND B. J. NAEGELIN DRAMATIC INTERPRETATION
Jacob Foster (Comeaux High School, Lafayette, LA)
Coached by Jacob Simon.  

SANDRA SILVERS DUO INTERPRETATION
Kyle Ahern and Kevin Ahern (Dreyfoos School Of The Arts, West Palm Beach, FL)
Coached by Angela Anyzeski and Martha Warwick.

HUMOROUS INTERPRETATION
Conor Sherry (Archbishop Mitty High School, San Jose, CA)
Coached by Karen Cruz and BJ Cruz. 

INFORMATIVE SPEAKING
Jordyn Allen (American Heritage Plantation High School, Plantation, FL)
Coached by Ryan Hubbard, Joele Denis, and Spencer Orlowski.

A. C. ELEY INTERNATIONAL EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING
Rene Otero (Hendrickson High School, Pflugerville, TX)
Coached by Kirsten Nash and Aly Mithani.

JOE AND PAM WYCOFF ORIGINAL ORATORY
Haris Hosseini (The Harker School, San Jose, CA)
Coached by Scott Odekirk.

PROGRAM ORAL INTERPRETATION
Ella Schnake (Raymore-Peculiar High School, Peculiar, MO)
Coached by Todd Schnake.

CARMENDALE FERNANDES UNITED STATES EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING
Jacqueline Wei (Plano West Senior High School, Plano, TX)
Coached by Robey Holland and Kattie Leito.

BIG QUESTIONS DEBATE
John Henry Stearns (Tuloso Midway High School, Corpus Christi, TX)
Coached by Tasha Kneis and Linda Esquivel.

CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE (HOUSE)
Hunter Brown (Spring Woods High School, Houston, TX)
Coached by Victoria Beard.

CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE (SENATE)
Rohit Jhawar (Kennedy High School, Richmond, CA)
Coached by Quest Sandel.

LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE
Grace Johannes (Liberty Senior High School, Liberty, MO)
Coached by Tim Baldwin.

RICHARD B. SODIKOW POLICY DEBATE CO-CHAMPIONS
Jake Berry and Jimin Park
Raina Peter and Grace Kessler
(Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, KS)
Coached by Cynthia Burgett and Timothy Ellis. 

PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE
Sandeep Shankar and Daniel Cigale (Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Sudbury, MA)
Coached by Tim Nikula.

UNITED STATES WORLD SCHOOLS DEBATE
Kayla Arenschield (Solon High School, Solon, OH)
Cassandra Berlin (Hawken School, Gates Mills, OH)
Kennedy Hughes (Vermilion High School, Vermilion, OH)
David Lyons (Hawken School, Gates Mills, OH)
Liberty Oliver (Vermilion High School, Vermilion, OH)
Coached by Devon Snook. 

BROTHER RENÉ STERNER COMMENTARY
Akshatha Narasimhan (Coral Academy Of Science Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV)
Coached by Amanda Sloan. 

EXTEMPORANEOUS DEBATE
Zoey Chacon (BASIS San Antonio Shavano, San Antonio, TX)
Coached by Alexander Decker.

EXPOSITORY SPEAKING
Mckenna Daly (George Washington High School, Denver, CO)
Coached by Maryrose Kohan and Devin Sarno.  

POETRY READING
Josh Moton (Comeaux High School, Lafayette, LA)
Coached by Jacob Simon.

PROSE READING
Rashon Leday (Comeaux High School, Lafayette, LA)
Coached by Jacob Simon.

IMPROMPTU
Jocelyn Marks (Theodore Roosevelt High School, Des Moines, IA)
Coached by Max Hardt.

STORYTELLING
Ingamnwie Acha (Liberty North High School, Liberty, MO)
Coached by Kim Lenger.


About the National Speech & Debate Tournament
The 2019 National Speech & Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas featured students from 48 states, 5 countries, and 2 U.S. territories. The week-long 2019 National Tournament brought nearly 10,000 students, coaches, educators, and parents to the Dallas area. The National Speech & Debate Association has hosted the National Tournament in various cities since 1931, with the 2020 National Tournament to be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 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 almost 200,000 student members, less than 4% 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 nearly two 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