Henry W. Grady High School’s award-winning, seven-time state championship speech team, the Jesters, dazzled judges this past weekend, as they flexed their mental muscles at the 2016 National Speech & Debate Tournament (NSDT) in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to Grady being named a “School of Honor,” nine participating students earned honors in several categories, including Prose Reading, Program Oral Interpretation, International Extemporaneous Speaking, Lincoln-Douglas, and World’s School debates.
Thanks to their recent distinction, the Jesters now rank in the top 10 percent of 1 percent of all schools in the nation. Here are the individual student participants’ rankings:
Molly Looman: Octofinalist in Prose Reading
Chloe Citron: Top 50 in Program Oral Interpretation
Gregory Fedorov: Top 50 in International Extemporaneous Speaking
Max Rafferty: Semifinalist in House of Representatives in the National Student Congress
Conor Downey: 12th place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Will Taft, Harrison Wilco, Grace Bridges and Todd Pengelly: Third place in World’s School Debate
Harrison Wilco: Eigth speaker in the nation for World’s School Debate
Harrison Wilco and Molly Looman were recognized for qualifying for the national tournament during all four years of high school.
During the tournament, Coach Lisa Willoughby was recognized for coaching the World’s School Debate Team, which included four Grady team members and a student from Milton High School.
Debate coach Mario Herrera served as a national tournament official, as well as a judge during the final round in Program Oral Interpretation.
Hosted by the National Speech & Debate Association, the NSDT is the largest high school academic competition in the world with over 4,700 students from across the country and schools around the world. Qualifying for the tournament draws the top 1 percent of all competitors from within the organization.