WHS Debate Excels In November Competitions

The Wellington High School debate and forensic team was spectacular at back-to-back November weekend competitions.

At the Nov. 9-10 Titan Invitational, hosted by Nova High School in Davie, nine debaters were recognized for their success. In Humorous Interpretation, Michael Reynolds placed third overall (with five of a possible six first-place preliminary round ballots) with his performance of “I Hate You, Kelly Donahue,” while in Congressional Debate, Stephie Maravankin placed third out of nearly 160 competitors, debating on topics ranging from offering aid to India to the nation’s drone strike policy.

In Public Forum Debate, where the topic centered on whether U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East undermines our national security, three Wellington teams advanced past preliminary rounds. Two teams — Rachel Ganon and Vinnie Gasso, and Alexa Fortuna and Greg Foster — reached the semifinal round of competition, while the team of Sabrina Abesamis and Sina Booeshaghi advanced to octofinals. More than 90 teams competed at the tournament. Ganon-Gasso went 8-2 overall, while Fortuna-Foster went 7-3.

In Lincoln-Douglas Debate, where the topic focused on the philosophy of whether the U.S. should guarantee universal healthcare to its citizens, Juan Arango advanced to octofinals, making him one of the top 16 at the tournament.

With their placements, Maravankin, Ganon, Gasso, Fortuna and Foster all earned bids to the Tournament of Champions national championship competition in Lexington, Ky., next spring.

At the Nov. 3 Palm Beach Catholic Forensics League tournament hosted by Palm Beach Central High School, scoring first-place finishes were Maravankin in Congressional Debate (earning a Best PO gavel as well) and the Public Forum Debate team of Ganon and Gasso (going 4-0). Ross Lustgarten placed third in Congress, while the PFD team of Fortuna and Foster went 3-1, placing fourth. Nick Thibault finished third in Dramatic Performance, and the Duo Interp pair of Marina Garber and Tori Lynn Powers finished fourth. Rafael Blecher ranked second in Declamation, while Kwadjo Walker was third in Extemporaneous Speaking.

In addition, Wellington has earned 11 new National Forensic League Speech and Debate Honor Society degrees. Both Fortuna and Ganon earned the National Forensic League Degree of Superior Distinction, passing the 750-point mark. Thibault earned his Degree of Distinction, reaching the 250-point plateau. Eight debaters earned the Degree of Merit and will have their NFL certificates added to the Barbara Dale Lauder McCall Wall of Honor when they arrive from Ripon, Wisconsin: Blecher, Dante Ficarelli, Garber, Francisco Hall, Lauren Melton, Emma Parssi, Powers and Dylan Race. Wellington now has 30 new degrees and has reached the 200 Club for the 11th consecutive year.

The success comes on the heels of Maravankin’s advancement to the final round of the New York City Invitational held Oct. 19-21 at the Bronx High School of Science.


Above: The Wellington High School debate and forensic team following its successful competition at the Titan Invitational.