WHS Debate Team Continues Stellar Year

Wellington High School Debate Team continued its phenomenally successful season by qualifying a school-record 5 students to compete at the 2013 National Forensic League National Speech & Debate Championship Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, this June.

The Red Dawn Debaters will be represented in Birmingham by seniors Michael Reynolds and Nick Thibault, juniors Stephie Maravankin and Yourui Ruan, and sophomore Michael Leatherman. The five qualified at the March 15-16 NFL Panther District National Qualifier Tournament, hosted by Royal Palm Beach High School.

Reynolds and Thibault will be competing in Duo Interpretation, where they are performing a 10-minute script cutting from “Nerd Do Well: A Small Boy’s Journey to Becoming a Big Kid” by Simon Pegg.

Maravankin advanced to the NFL’s National Senate in Congressional Debate, a student version of the federal legislature. Ruan and Leatherman will compete in Policy Debate, where they will deliberate proposed federal policy changes as pertaining to U.S. transportation concerns.

Leatherman was also recognized as the first alternate (second overall) in Congressional Debate, where he competed in the tournament’s House of Representatives, while Reynolds advanced to the final round in Humorous Interpretation, placing sixth with his performance of “I Hate You, Kelly Donahue” by Mark Svartz.

In Lincoln Douglas Debate, Ruan placed fifth overall, while in Policy Debate, the team of Greg Foster and Logan Weber placed sixth. Reynolds was also recognized as the NFL Panther District’s “Student of the Year,” an honor voted upon by district officials based on essays contributed from coaches within the district.

The 5 students represent the largest number to compete at NFL Nationals from WHS in its 25 years of competitive debate.

NFL Nationals is the third, and largest, national high school debate championship tournament of the year. This is the first time Wellington will be represented at all three national championships in a single season. Three students — Maravankin and the Public Forum Debate team of Rachel Ganon and Vinnie Gasso — will compete at the 2013 Tournament of Champions in Lexington, Kentucky, at the end of April, while 9 Wellington debaters — the Public Forum Debate teams of Ganon & Gasso and Leatherman & Alexa Fortuna, the Duo Interpretation pairs of Reynolds & Thibault and Dylan Race & Savannah Race, and Ruan in Lincoln Douglas Debate — will compete at the National Catholic Forensic League “Grand National” championship tournament in Philadelphia over Memorial Day Weekend.

To help support the WHS Debate Team, contact coach Paul Gaba at (561) 795-4911 or paul.gaba@palmbeachschools.org.


Above: Wellington debaters (L-R) Michael Leatherman, Yourui Ruan, Nick Thibault, Michael Reynolds, coach Paul Gaba and Stephie Maravankin, will attend the 2013 National Forensic League National Speech & Debate Championship Tournament this June.