Here We Come: Academy Speech and Debate at Nationals

By Jordan Lee

Graphic by Emily Castle

On June 18, the Albuquerque Academy Speech and Debate team will be traveling to Birmingham, Alabama to compete in the 2017 National Speech and Debate Tournament. Four students will be attending:  Ruda Nighot and Lauren Kiesel will compete in United States Extemporaneous Speaking; AJ Awwad will compete in International Extemporaneous Speaking and Aria Gaston-Panthaki will compete in Humorous Interpretation.    Speech and Debate coach, Susan Ontiveros, describes Debate as “an event in which students present arguments for both sides of a given resolution.” She also elaborated on Speech events when she said, “they  can be categorized into public speaking events or interpretive, more towards acting, events.” Ms. Ontiveros sees Nationals as an opportunity for our students to learn by competing against teams from all over the country. In order to prepare for the tournament, the students practice their speeches as often as they can. “The extemp students have to keep up with the news, then I have them come in and give practice speeches. Aria also comes in to work on her presentation. We will do that more frequently once school is over,” Ms. Ontiveros said. “They also like to have other people listen to them. It’s always good to have fresh ears to listen and make other comments.” Ms. Ontiveros calls Speech and Debate an activity where “everybody seems to find their niche. I also feel that the skills you learn from Speech and Debate are lifelong skills. I think it’s the best activity that kids can participate in.”

The team will stay in Birmingham until June 24.

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One Response

  1. Susan Ontiveros

    This is amazing!! What a wonderful way to present the information. Well done to all!!


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