The Ladue Horton Watkins High School Speech and Debate Team put forth an impressive effort in the 2020 National Speech & Debate Tournament.
Nine members of the team competed in the event, which ran from June 15 to June 20 and was held online for the first time due to health and safety restrictions.
Anna Reis (rising senior) capped off the team’s achievements with a 2nd place finish in the Extemporaneous Debate event.
The event is one of the largest in the tournament with more than 500 entrants; Anna advanced through 13 rounds of debate over three days to take home 2nd place honors.
She also advanced to the semifinals of the Prepared Commentary event.
Other top finishers from the LHWHS team included:
- Ayush Ajmani (Class of 2020) & Gabe DiAntonio (rising senior) placed in the top 30 in Extemporaneous Debate
- Ayush Ajmani and Eli Goldstein (Class of 2020) placed in the top 70 in Public Forum Debate
- Gabe DiAntonio and Grace Hu (rising senior) placed in the top 80 in Policy Debate
- Will Xie (rising senior) advanced to Round 6 of Extemporaneous Debate
- Grace Hu finished in the top 60 in Prepared Commentary Speaking and advanced to Round 5 of Extemporaneous Debate
The team was further represented by:
- Ari Gottesman (rising senior) in International Extemporaneous Speaking
- Catherine Liao (rising senior) in Original Oratory
- Sophia Liu (rising junior) in Dramatic Interpretation
- Anna Reis in Lincoln-Douglas Debate
- Will Xie in Congressional Debate
In addition to the usual work of competing in a national tournament, students navigated the online format for the first time, submitted recorded speech performances, adapted to new rules and debated online via Zoom video conferencing.
2020 marked the 40th year in which LHWHS qualified students to the national tournament.
It is the largest academic competition in the world with more than 6,000 middle and high school participants each year.