Aberdeen: National Success in Speech & Debate


Aberdeen: National Success in Speech & Debate

Aberdeen Central High School sent a school record 14 students to the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas this past summer. The students earned their way by placing in the top two in their events at the district tournament or a mock congressional event. Once qualified to the tournament, the students continued to practice their main event, but also selected supplemental and consolation events for which to prepare. CHS Junior Jacob Womack, made his third appearance at the National Tournament. Once his main event competition, duet interpretation, came to a close, Jacob began competing in expository, which requires students to write and memorize an original five-minute informative speech on a topic with societal implications. Womack continued to advance through seven rounds of competition, finding himself in the eighth and final round. His stellar performance in the finals earned him a National Speech and Debate Association National Championship, a $1000 scholarship from Western Kentucky University and a $400 Hall of Fame Scholarship. Womack is the first national champion in school history. Womack had advanced as far as the semifinal round the year before, and said his goal was just to get that far again. He appreciated the chance to finally put all his work in writing, memorizing and performing the piece in front of real audience in the final round. “That was some of the most fun I’ve ever had!” Womack said of his final round performance. Head Oral Interpretation Coach Roger McCafferty echoed Jacob’s excitement about the tournament. “It was such a great experience just seeing his facial expressions as we stood on stage and they announced the final placings,” McCafferty said. “With each announcement, he got more and more excited. It was a great moment. It was a well-deserved honor for him.” McCafferty described Womack as a hard worker who is constantly studying and trying to incorporate new techniques into his delivery. “I never have to worry that he did not work on his selection between team practices because every time we work on his piece at practices there is something new, which clearly shows he puts in many hours outside of school,” McCafferty said. Students competing in debate events at the tournament earned a special honor as well. The combined debate performances of Sydney Gelling, Kallie Marske, John Prosper, Sam Mehlhaff, Collin Rumpca and Emily Meier earned Aberdeen Central a School of Excellence Award in debate. The honor is awarded to the top 20 schools accumulating points at the National Tournament each year. Aberdeen Central was one of only five teams in the nation to earn this distinction in back to back years. A very proud CHS Head Debate Coach Kerry Konda credited the students’ work year in and year out. “It is a testament to the hard work and dedication our kids put in to the activity,” Konda said. “The success comes from a combination of debaters believing in the process and realizing that they can compete with any program in the nation.”

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