Debaters Win It All at Districts

Debaters Win Congress, Speech, Debate, and Overall at Districts – A Mississippi First; Shields Wins District Recognition
This past weekend saw the completion of the Magnolia Forensic League's (MFL) District Qualifiers for the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Tournament with the speech qualifier at Oak Grove High School. This tournament decides which students from Mississippi attend NSDA Nationals in eight speech events ranging from Dramatic Interpretation to International Extemporaneous Speaking and awards both the District Speech Sweepstakes (for best overall performance at the speech qualifier) and Overall District Sweepstakes Plaque (based on results for both the district debate and district speech tournaments).

Competing for the Saints were:
 
Seniors – Ishan Bhatt, William Harkless, Khalil Jackson, Bain McHale, Jaiya McMillan, and Faraaz Yousuf
Juniors – Kaleb Cassidy, Sameer Khan, Horace McMillon, and Chirstopher Wade
Freshmen – Raymond Huang and Yasmine Ware
 
Of the twenty total entries put forth by St. Andrew's for speech weekend, eleven placed in the top six with eight scoring points for the Saints for speech and three keeping points from other schools.  Placing in the top six for the Saints were Ishan Bhatt '19 (2nd place International Extemp), Khalil Jackson (6th place International Extemp), Bain McHale (3rd place International Extemp), Jaiya McMillan (5th place Informative Speaking), Faraaz Yousuf (4th place United States Extemp), Kaleb Cassidy (1st place Original Oratory), Sameer Khan (1st place Program Oral Interpretation, 2nd place Dramatic Interpretation), Christopher Wade (1st place United States Extemp, 2nd place Original Oratory), and the team of Raymond Huang and Yasmine Ware (5th place Duo Interpretation).  
 
As a result, St. Andrew's posted 40 points toward the District Speech Award, placing first ahead of Oak Grove (31) and Madison Central (28). For the Overall Sweepstakes Plaque, St. Andrew's five best speech results earned the Saints 28 points, which combined with the 18 earned on debate weekend, allowed the Saints to secure this award with 46 points against Madison Central's 36 and Oak Grove's 33. This means that in addition to winning the Overall Plaque, St. Andrew's won each of the three individual district competitions (Congress in addition to debate and speech), proving that 1+1+1 can actually equal 1. In addition to these student awards, St. Andrew's faculty also received recognition as Mr. Jharick Shields was named Assistant Coach of the Year for the MFL and will be nominated for this award for the NSDA as a whole.
 
About the awards, Director of Speech and Debate Darin Maier remarked that "Certainly, I am thrilled that we were able to complete the sweep of the district sweepstakes awards – I think we may be the first school to do this since Mississippi has had its own district. What perhaps made me even more proud was that we had students who had either already qualified for NSDA in the events they plan to contest or were going through various forms of personal adversity who could easily have begged off this weekend but came forth to try and win this award. For our seniors, they go into history having won the Overall District Sweeps in each of their four years in high school.  And, of course, I couldn't be more happy for Mr. Shields for winning Assistant District Coach of the Year.  I know he will be a very strong candidate for national consideration and St. Andrew's is tremendously blessed to have him as part of our faculty."
 

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