Houston Metro Area Students Win National Speech and Debate Championships

Houston metro area students won big at this year’s National Speech and Debate Championship, taking finalist placement in high school Congressional Debate and 11 middle school awards.

Jun-Yong Kim, from Seven Lakes High School, made it to the prestigious final round of the national tournament.  Additionally, middle school students from six area middle schools (Lanier Middle School, Olle Middle School, The Village School, Memorial Middle School, Quail Valley Middle School and T.H. Rogers School) finished as finalists in their events at the 2018 National Speech and Debate middle school tournament.

“Our national champions are the future leaders of our country,” said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech and Debate Association. “These students not only have extraordinary talent, but they are passionate, smart, dedicated, and hard working. We’re extremely proud of their accomplishments and look forward to all of the great things they will do in the future.”

With more than 8,000 students, coaches, educators and parents from across the country participating in the tournament each year, the National Speech and Debate Tournament is the largest academic competition in the world. More than 150,000 students are members of the National Speech and Debate Association, and only 3% qualify to compete at the national tournament. The national champions make up less than 1% of all speech and debate competitors.

The 2018 National Speech and Debate Tournament high school finalists from the Houston metro area include:

2nd place in Congressional Debate (House)
Jun-Yong Kim (Seven Lakes High School)
Coached by Terrick Brown and Lillian Adeyemi

The National Speech and Debate Tournament middle school finalists from the Houston metro area, presented by Summit Debate, include:

2nd place in Impromptu
Rachel Pontes (Lanier Middle School)
Coached by Franz Hill

2nd place in Dramatic Interpretation
Olutomilola Akinwande (Olle Middle School)
Coached by George Tennison III

2nd place in Informative Speaking
Aditi Iyer (The Village School)
Coached by Heather Huffman

3rd place in Poetry Reading
Olutomilola Akinwande (Olle Middle School)
Coached by George Tennison III

3rd place in Congressional Debate
Diane Sun (Lanier Middle School)
Coached by Franz Hill

4th place in Original Oratory
Rachel Pontes (Lanier Middle School)
Coached by Franz Hill

4th place in Declamation Speaking
Kahani Malhotra (The Village School)
Coached by Heather Huffman

6th place in Prose Reading
Benjamin Trevino (Memorial Middle School)
Coached by Sally Navarro

6th place in Extemporaneous Speaking
Petru Nechiti (Lanier Middle School)
Coached by Franz Hill

6th place in Original Oratory
Kahani Malhotra (The Village School)
Coached by Heather Huffman

Semifinalist in Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Daniel Hung (T.H. Rogers School)
Coached by Tao Lin

Semifinalist in Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Anshumi Jhaveri (Quail Valley Middle School)
Coached by Grace Jyu

Semifinalists in Public Forum Debate
Joyce Weng and Dian Yu (T.H. Rogers School)
Coached by Tao Lin

Quarterfinalist in Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Justin Chen (Quail Valley Middle School)
Coached by Grace Jyu

Quarterfinalist in Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Jarvis Xie (Quail Valley Middle School)
Coached by Grace Jyu

Quarterfinalists in Public Forum Debate
Austin Fiorito and Suraj Vadapalli (Lanier Middle School)
Coached by Franz Hill