The CHS Speech Team won the North East District National Qualifying
Tournament and qualified six more students for the NFL national tournament
In addition, one more of the team’s public forum debate teams became
eligible for the national tournament because a previously qualified team
from Ft. Wayne elected to go in speech events. This brings the CHS Speech
and Debate total number of national qualifiers to fourteen students.
Students qualify for the national tournament by placing in the top two of
their respective events.
Three seniors were among those qualifying. Andrew Hogan qualified in both
humor and drama and elected to go to nationals in humor (students can no
Mike Leopold was a district champion in original oratory, and Cassidy
Peretin was a district champion in U.S. extemporaneous speaking; Peretin is
also the first alternate (placing third) in oratory.
Also qualifying was the duo team of juniors Sharon Coleman and Kaylee Oates;
Oates also qualified in humor but chose to compete in duo. Fellow junior
Jennifer Kattalia was a district champion, qualifying in original oratory.
Kattalia could have qualified as the alternate in drama but had selected
oratory as her first choice.
CHS had 24 entries, all of whom competed in two preliminary rounds of
competition. The top 12 in each event then moved on to a semifinal round,
with the top six then advancing to the final round. Sixteen of the team’s 24
entries advanced to the final round and placed in the top six.
In international extemporaneous speaking junior Spencer Gordon finished in
fourth place and sophomore Andrew Caratini was sixth. Junior Eric Dreischerf
is the first alternate, placing third, in U.S extemporaneous speaking.
Joining Leopold, Kattalia, and Peretin in oratory was Sharon Coleman, who
All four drama entries also advanced to finals. Following Hogan and Kattalia,
were junior Kiera Quealy in fifth place and sophomore Mikaela Meyer in
sixth. In humor sophomore Jami Ritchea finished in fifth place, behind Hogan
The team was also awarded North East District plaques for placing first in
total speech rounds as well as first in combined speech and debate rounds.
The team’s 14 national qualifiers will compete at the NFL national
tournament, June 10 through 15, in Indianapolis this year.
“Things really could not have gone much better for us today. We’re very
proud of our national qualifiers, but we’re equally proud of the way the
team performed as a whole. We have a great group of young people
representing Duneland at the national tournament this year,” said coach Bob
Joining coaches Kelly, Chris Lowery, Doug Pishkur, Diana Gill and Sam
Marshall, were former team members Kara Fasone, Jessica Cleary, Jack
Deuberry and Eric Schaefer. In addition, former student and community member
Heather Augustyn, along with parents Marcia Ritchea, James Vincent and Alice
Meyer helped with judging.