The Chesterton High
School Speech and Debate team hosted an awards event, celebrating the
achievements of this year’s team, on Tuesday evening.
achieved the required points were entered into the National Forensic
League’s Honor Society and individuals were honored for achievement in the
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.