Chesterton Tribune



CHS Speech and Debate Awards honor program participants

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The Chesterton High School Speech and Debate team hosted an awards event, celebrating the achievements of this year’s team, on Tuesday evening.

Students who achieved the required points were entered into the National Forensic League’s Honor Society and individuals were honored for achievement in the competition season.

The individual state teams were also honored along with those named to the IHSFA All-State teams this year. Achieving the honor for first team in debate were Megan Daye, Camma Duhamell, Hannah Geiss, Ben Hoham, Matt Jewison, Paul Petro, Madison Simms, Sofia Winski. The second team was comprised of Jenna Aguilar, Sid Augustyn, Katelyn Balakir, JD Cory, Ethan Dibble, Ryan Donovan, Nick Hanson, Azeez Lakhani, Devin Michael, Zachary Mullins, Grace Whah, and Branden Wong.

This year’s debate team won its fifth consecutive state title and 28th overall. Representing the speech team and its AAA division runner-up performance were first team members Paige Donovan, Hannah Geiss, Josh Hogan, Indy Loving, Allen Smith, AJ Stirling, and Max Winski. Ryan Day, Logan Summers, and Connor Wantuch were included on the second team all-state.

The team maintains a scholarship in the name of Christine Pritchard, a former coach, teacher, and theatre director at CHS. It is awarded to a senior who has a love of both Speech and ‘the stage.’ This year’s winner was Joshua Hogan; the team’s top point earner and a performer in a number of CHS productions, particularly the annual children’s play.

Tom and Dianna Gearin were on hand to present the Gearin Excellence in Debate scholarship. The award is an effort by the family to give back to a program that their children, Tom and Kira, loved so much while in high school. This year’s winner was Hannah Geiss, who finished her speech and debate career as a member of five team state titles, three individual state titles, and as a four-time national qualifier.

The final scholarship is the Vincent TEAM award. Expressing the love of a family that saw three sons through the program, this award is given to someone who goes above and beyond the competition part of the program. Ryan Day was the recipient and coaches noted his extreme level of leadership during fundraising and his hand written encouragement to his teammates as the reasons he was chosen.

Individual tiered category awards named after former coaches or friends of the program were presented, the first of which was the ‘Doug Pishkur’s Difference Makers.’ Reserved for first and second year team members, this award goes to those who have already emerged as difference makers for the team. Winners this year were Bella Auricchio, Jackson Fleming, Gianna Galante, Andrea Hardesty, Hattie Hoham, Matthew Kootsopanagos, Mei Pantuso, Ian Quinn, Rhianna Ritz, Anna Sanders, Charlie Skube, Jon Sumita, Alex Szmutko, and Abbey Wilcox.

The second level of award was the ‘Catherine Keane Future Cornerstones’. Once again reserved for members who have only been a part of the team for a couple of years, these individuals have already proven to be essential building blocks. Recipients this year of the award were Jenna Aguilar, Ethan Dibble, Ryan Donovan, Anekah Fish, Nicholas Hanson, Bella Jennings, Salomae Minnier, Rebecca Mueller, and Sanjana Raj.

The ‘Glen Percifield Most Improved’ award was given to Sid Augustyn, JD Cory, Owen Cowsert, Azeez Lakhani, Anna Leady, Devin Michael, Zachary Mullins, Grace Whah, and Sofia Winski.

The ‘Barbara Funke Significant Contributors’ identifies students who do more than just ‘score points for the team’. These actors oftentimes perform the little things that make a team function to its fullest. Winners this year were Aaron Drew, Matthew Jewison, Amber Johnson, Sam Winski, and Casandra Wuerthele.

The ‘Carol Biel Rising Leaders’ award honors those who look to be the ‘next generation’ of team leaders. The sophomores and juniors that won the award were Elli Didonna, Ben Hoham, Emily Krygoske, Indigo Loving, Madison Simms, and Max Winski.

The ‘Outstanding Performer’ award is named after James Cavallo, the longest tenured debate coach in the team’s history. This award goes to students that are elite performers, rising to the level of the best in the state and in the country. Chosen for the award this year were Megan Daye, Camma Duhamell, Creighton Gaff, Bryn Jackson, Paul Petro, Allen Smith, AJ Stirling, and Connor Wantuch.

The highest award given this year was the ‘Joseph Wycoff Outstanding Program Contribution’ award. The students in this category set themselves apart as both performers and teammates; often going above and beyond in both aspects of the program. This year’s winners were all seniors and included, Katelyn Balakir, Ryan Day, Paige Donovan, Hannah Geiss, Joshua Hogan, and Logan Summers.

The team now turns its attention to two national tournaments; the first of which occurs this Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C., and the second, which ends the season during the summer in Fort Lauderdale. The team will return to the CHS auditorium stage on June 14, at 6:00 p.m., for their National’s performance night, a free community event that sees all members of the NSDA national team perform before heading off to the national tournament.



Posted 5/17/2018




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