Winning Public Discourse

South Burlington High School’s Speech Team earned first place at the opening tournament of the Vermont Forensics and Debate League. First row L-R: Vera Escaja-Heiss, Harry Quick, and Ann Wong. Second row L-R: Lizzie Cornett, Anisha Saini, Rachel Ambaye, Amelia Charbonneau, and Nisha Shah. Third row L-R: Asya Begovic, Daria Noonan-Wehmeyer, Peyton Coel, Mitchell Grant, and Sam Valin. Back row L-R: Ally Clay-Streib and Ezra Shamy.

November 10 marked the auspicious opening of the Vermont Forensics and Debate League’s (VDFL) 2017-2018 season. The South Burlington High School (SBHS) Speech Team attended the tournament with 15 intrepid competitors in seven events. At the end of the evening, SBHS earned the first place team award with Woodstock taking second place. Notably, SBHS took first, second, and third place in radio, first in extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking, poetry, performance poetry, prose, and drama.

The VDFL is an affiliate organization of the Vermont Principals’ Association and was organized approximately 30 years ago to stimulate an interest in and expand knowledge of the opportunities available to high school students in public speaking, to encourage interscholastic debate and individual speaking contests, and to promote the civic virtues of public discourse.

The high school’s speech team is coached by SBHS English teacher Veronica White along with co-coach Carly Bennett, who teaches English to middle schoolers in Shelburne. White noted that the opening competition took place “at the remote, but welcoming, Blue Mountain Union High School in White River, Vermont.” She adds, “Winning isn’t everything, but it is a nice thing. Kudos to the team led by co-captains, Harry Quick and Ann Wong.”

The speech team went on to compete November 18 at Woodstock Union High School. In the forensics category, Woodstock captured top honors with SBHS coming in second. White reported that the SBHS team also took first place on the forensics side in radio and received the sixth place speaker award for debate.

Next up for the team is a tournament December 2 at Colchester for both speech and debate, That event will be followed by SBHS hosting their annual speech and debate tournament December 9.

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