Chesterton Tribune



CHS Speech and Debate team does well in virtual national competition

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Although Chesterton High School has competed at the National Speech and Debate Association’s end of the year National Tournament for each of the last 40 consecutive years, the team had little way of knowing how this year’s offering would turn out. That is because the National Tournament, originally due to be held in Albuquerque, was shifted to a virtual tournament held over the past six days.

Competitors for CHS qualified for the tournament via the normal district competition series. While some Chesterton students opted out of the experience, the tournament fielded its typical entry numbers continuing its tradition as the largest academic competition in the world. Featuring 1,332 schools and over 5,000 entries, this year’s tournament set a record for attendance at the culminating event.

Chesterton captured a ‘School of Honor’ award for its speech portion of the program, signifying a top 40 placing.

The team was led in points by junior Lily Roberts who advanced into the second set of break rounds. Advancement to that quarterfinal round put Roberts in the top 30 in the nation in her event of Program of Oral Interp (POI). For the event of POI, students weave together different pieces of literature in the genres of prose, poetry, and dramatic literature to create a themed ten-minute performance of their own. Roberts’ POI utilized the theme of abuse to tell its story.

Anna Sanders, a junior, qualified for the octafinal, or top 60, round with her Original Oratory titled ‘Cut it Out.’ Her ten-minute speech that she wrote and researched is about society’s tendency to take shortcuts.

Anekah Fish, a senior, made the cut for the top 60 in Dramatic Interpretation. Like Roberts event, Fish had to interpret an authors’ work and condense the piece down to a ten-minute cutting. Fish utilized Gail Giles’ ‘Girls like us’ for her performance.

Sophomore, Dylan Leavitt also advanced to the top 60 in Humorous Interpretation performing a cutting from the parody piece of ‘Mary Choppins,’ by Frank Joseph.

Seniors Grace Whah and Emily Krygoske were the lone debate entry to qualify for the elimination portion of the tournament. Accumulating a 9-3 record in the preliminary rounds, Whah and Krygoske were narrowly defeated by 2-1 decisions from the judging panels in their seventh and eight rounds. The process for the speech and debate events were different at this tournament. Debate was held synchronously as students and judges logged into designated web-based classroom to hold their debates in real time. The speech side of the competition was held asynchronously, as students had to upload a performance that was then viewed in real time by judges at the tournament. By qualifying for round eight, Whah and Krygoske debated for more than 10 hours over the last week.

If eliminated by a certain point in the tournament, students can choose to compete in a secondary and a third event. Although they do not count for the team portion of awards, these events still begin with between 300 and 1,000 students vying for the national title. Dylan Leavitt made the most of his opportunity and advanced to the semifinal round in both events of Prose and Poetry. Officially, he finished 10th in the nation in Prose and in 11th place in Poetry. Anekah Fish advanced to the Octafinal round in Prose, while Mark Jewison advanced to round 7 in Extemporaneous Debate, a distinction that put him somewhere in the top 63 for the tournament. Jewison, a sophomore, was also able to qualify for the Octafinal round of Prepared Prompt speaking.

The Speech team is jointly coached by Eric Schaefer, Dakota McCoy, Kathy Hadley, Jacob Lukach, and Karly Carden. The Debate team is coached by Joshua Coots, Tim Young, and Chris Lowery.

Also qualifying and competing at the tournament were team members Bella Auricchio (Lincoln-Douglas debate), Ethan Dibble (Policy debate), Ryan Donovan (Policy debate), Nicholas Hanson (Extemporaneous speaking), Savannah Hutchinson (Congressional debate), Alexis Ioannidis (Public Forum debate), Nathan Mullin (Humorous Interp), Sidney Pittman (Public Forum debate), Ian Quinn (Informative speaking), Hamza Sahli (Extemporaneous speaking), and Mattea Sklut (Extemporaneous speaking). The coaching staff was assisted by alumni who served as judges throughout the week. Alex Bishop, Nick Peterson, Jami Spiegel, Brad Gluszewski, Tyler Fabbri, Jim Vincent, and Joel Cavallo.

Jim Cavallo named

to National Hall of Fame

It was a special week for Joel Cavallo, whose father Jim was inducted into the National Hall of Fame during the tournament. Jim Cavallo coached and taught at Chesterton High School for over 40 years and still owns the Indiana records for most team state titles and individual titles in Policy debate.

Cavallo joins former CHS coaches Joe Wycoff and Robert Kelly as coaches who have attained National Hall of Fame membership.


Posted 6/22/2020





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