Grady High School Debate Team Crowned 10-Time State Champions

Congratulations to Grady High School’s award-winning debate team, the Jesters! During winter break, the Jesters spent their time becoming champions. They trail blazed their way to wins and notable rankings starting in Cambridge, Mass., at the Harvard University High School Speech and Debate Invitational featuring hundreds of schools from 43 states and three countries.

On Feb. 23, the team competed at Valdosta High School for the Georgia Forensics Coaches Association (GFCA) Varsity State Speech and Debate Championships, where they captured their 10th state championship. Olivia Hunter and Joe Earles advanced to the Octofinal round in Duo Interpretation, while Harrison Gray took 12th place in Extemporaneous Speaking, and Lucia Fernandez placed eighth in Original Oratory.

Lucia Fernandez, Champion, Original Oratory; Franky Fernandez, 2nd Place Impromptu Speaking, Champion in Extemporaneous Speaking and Champion in Student Congress: House of Representatives

At the GFCA Varsity Speech and Debate State Championship, the Jesters claimed three sweepstakes champion titles including in Overall Sweepstakes, making it their 10th state championship in a row. Talk about a debate powerhouse!

Here are some of the final results following the championship at Valdosta High School:

Policy Debate: Semifinalists- Assata Nkosi and Daniel Wakefield; Daniel Wakefield, 3rd Place Speaker

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Emma Harmon, Octofinalist; Griffin Richie, Semifinalist

Public Forum Debate: William Poss & Kelley Downes, Quarterfinalists; Gerald Robison & Jack Stegelman and Jordan Thomas & Ethan Damiani, CO-CHAMPIONS!

Duo Interpretation: Maximus Freightman & Adam Miller, 4th Place

Dramatic Interpretation: Olivia Hunter, 4th Place

Program Oral Interpretation: Taylor Jackson, 2nd Place

Original Oratory: George Lefkowica, 4th Place; Lucia Fernandez, CHAMPION

Impromptu Speaking: Sarah Likins, Semifinals; Declan McCarthy, Semifinals; Eric Slovensky, 5th Place; Harrison Gray, 4th Place; Franky Fernandez, CHAMPION


L to R (front): jack Stegelman, Public Forum Debate Co-Champion; George Leftkowisz, 4th Place, Original Oratory; Ethan Damiani, Public Forum Debate Co-Champion; Jordan Thomas, Public Forum Debate Co-Champion; Will Tanner, Mills Rentz-Baker Kelley Downes and William Poss, Public Forum Debate Quarterfinalists

Extemporaneous Speaking: Declan McCarthy, Semifinals; Maeve Malaney-Lau, Semifinalist; Sarah Likins, Semifinalist; George Lefkowicz, Semifinalist; Eric Slovensky, 5thPlace; Franky Fernandez, 2nd Place; Harrison Gray, CHAMPION

Novice CHAMPION in Duo Interpretation: Keller Rentz-Baker & George Smalley

Novice CHAMPION in Extemporaneous Speaking: Oliver Gray

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