Chesterton Tribune



State champion CHS Speech and Debate program honors participants

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Chesterton High Schoolís Speech and Debate team recognized a spectacular year of achievements at its annual year end awards night. This year the team celebrated team championships in both categories of Speech and Debate; a feat that it had not accomplished since 2007.

The evening started with three scholarship awards. The Christine Pritchard Memorial Scholarship, commemorating the life of a former coach, was awarded to Natalie Beglin. The award recognizes excellence in Speech and Debate along with a real contribution to theatre and the arts.

Tom and Dianna Gearin Family started the Gearin Excellence in Debate Scholarship six yearís ago to give back to a program that they felt gave so much to their children, Kira and Tom. This yearís recipient was Hayden Hodge.

The Vincent Family Team award was a new scholarship this year, given by Jim and Lori Vincent and designed to recognize a senior who competes at a high level and also goes the extra mile in helping out the team. Karly Carden was the inaugural winner.

Winners were then named in a number of categories that increased in significance as the evening progressed. Each award was named after a former coach or major contributor to the programís success. The first level was the Doug Pishkur Difference Makers award, typically given to first year members. This yearís winners were Sid Augustyn, Dustin Bucher, Anekah Fish, Ben Hoham, Indigo Loving, Devin Michael, Madison Simms, Steven Skelton, Rebecca White, Max Winski, Sofia Winski, Madison Wrigley, and Cassandra Wuethele.

The next awards were the Catherine Keaneís Future Cornerstones; a category given to some first year students who experience exceptional success as well as second year members that have already shown themselves as key building blocks. This yearís winners were Elli Didonna, Aaron Drew, Leaha Estes, Amber Johnson, Emily Krygoske, Azzez Lakhani, Anna Leady, Zachary Mullins, Skylar Noschese, AJ Stirling, Chloe Thomas, and Grace Whah.

The Most Improved award is named after Glen Percifield, the original director of the now 49 year old program. This year Anjali Dziarski, Madi Ghoreshi, Sydney Ghoreshi, Keagan Wong, and Kaylinn Woolever, were all winners of this honor.

The Barb Funke Significant Contributors award recognizes the impact that individuals have both inside and outside of the competitive realm. Megan Daye, Creighton Gaff, Nathan Herr, Johny Mario, Grace Polka, Joshua Sensibaugh, Bailey Valtierra, Nia Weems, and Eli Winski all took home this award.

Carol Biel, who along with Funke is an IHSFA Hall of Fame member, had the Rising Leader award named in her honor. This category recognizes returning students who have already shown the capacity for leadership on the team. Ryan Day, Paige Donovan, Camma Duhamell, Bryn Jackson, Paul Petro, Allen Smith, Logan Summers, Natalia Wadowski, and Connor Wantuch were all recognized.

Another Hall of Famer, James Cavalloís name adorns the Outstanding Performers award. This group was made up of third and fourth year students who have shown exceptional performance in their events. Katelyn Balakir, Katrina Balon, Megan Bernth, Keerat Basra, Natalie Beglin, Hannah Geiss, Josh Hogan, Kevin Jugovic, Nathaniel Scheerer, Angel Smith, and James Van Drie all proved deserving of the honor.

Four students were honored with the award named after one of Chestertonís National Hall of Fame former coaches, Joe Wycoff. Winning Outstanding Program Contribution honors were seniors Karly Carden, Noelle Friel, Isabella Portugal, and Mark Wilcox.

Lastly the award for Most Valuable in Program is named after Chesterton Attorney Michael Harris, who originally approached the school board to start the program. This yearís MVP was senior Hayden Hodge, a student who has gone above and beyond in terms of commitment, leadership, and success.

The team also recognized the ten students headed this Memorial Day weekend to Louisville for the NCFL Grand National Tournament and the twenty-six students that have qualified for the NSDA National Tournament in Birmingham this summer.

Finally, students were recognized for progress through the National Forensic League Honor Society. Through competition and service students earn and accumulate points. Emily Krygoske accumulated more points (263) than any other freshman, Allen Smith (644) was the highest sophomore. Josh Hogan paces the junior class with 1,407 points while Hayden Hodge is tops of the senior class with 1,683 points.

The Speech and Debate team is coached by teachers Chris Lowery, Josh Coots, Becky Uheling, former teacher Robert Kelly, former students Eric Shaefer, Kayla Fleming, and Dakota McCoy, as well as volunteers Kaley Brown and Sam Lee.



Posted 5/24/2017




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