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Speech and Debate Program Earns Accolades

The Durham Academy speech and debate program has had an active fall, with Upper Schoolers participating in six competitions in the month of October alone; five students being named Academic All-Americans by the National Speech & Debate Association; and the DA program being named one of the nation’s top 100 programs of the NSDA’s 3,000 member schools. In addition, the DA Middle School speech and debate program launched with 49 participants. 

To be named an Academic All-American, students must earn a 3.7 our 4.0 grade-point average and a degree of Superior Distinction over the course of five semesters in high school. DA's six Academic All-Americans are juniors Asia Crowley and Mukta Dharmapurikar; and seniors Matthew Chang, Daniel Park and Chris Burkhard.

“Our approximately 100 Upper School members have been competing in a variety of virtual tournaments from the comfort of their own home,” said Crawford Leavoy, director of the DA speech and debate program. “Despite the unprecedented change to our activity, our students are committed to continuing to find, perfect and express their voice.”

Results of the October tournaments follow:

Yale Invitational

During the first October weekend, eight Cavaliers competed in the 2020 Yale Invitational, which included 2,515 students representing 392 schools from 41 states. Each DA student who competed advanced to some an elimination round at the tournament.

  • Mukta Dharmapurikar ’22 was third place in Extemporaneous Speaking.

  • Asia Crowley ’22 was a semifinalist (top 40) in Congressional Debate.

  • Mayah Ding ’23 was a quarterfinalist (top 120) in Congressional Debate.

  • Izzi Gershon ’22 was a quarterfinalist (top 120) in Congressional Debate.

  • Pete Crowley and Owen Brent-Levenstein ’23 were quadruple-octafinalists (top 103) in Varsity Public Forum.

  • Ani Sukhija and Teddy Wallen ’23 were Quadruple-Octafinalists (top 103) in Varsity Public Forum. 
     

Delores T Arthur School Virtual Tournament

Also the first weekend of October, six Cavaliers competed in the 2020 Delores T Arthur School Virtual Tournament.

  • Zihan Gao (’25) was an octafinalist (top 16) in Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Izzie Pierson (’21) was the runner-up (second place) in Informative Speaking.
     

Dogwood Speech and Debate League #1: Online

On Oct. 10, 56 Cavaliers competed in the first Dogwood Speech and Debate League tournament of the year. As a team, Durham Academy was runner-up in Overall Sweepstakes.

  • Lulu Burnside ’24 was the runner-up in Novice Congressional Debate.

  • Adrian Atwater ’24 was a finalist in Congressional Debate.

  • Izzi Gershon ’22 was the runner-up in Congressional Debate.

  • Asia Crowley ’22 was the champion in Congressional Debate.

  • Robert Liu ’24 was fourth place in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Jacob Hornstein ’23 was the champion of Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Alex Huang & Michael Hansen ’24 were the champions in Novice Public Forum Debate.

  • Chris Burkhard ’21 was fourth place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Anna Brent-Levenstein ’21 and Stacey Kang ’22 were champions in Public Forum Debate.

  • Anna Brent-Levenstein was the top speaker in Public Forum Debate.

  • Alden May ’23 was 12th place in Oratorical Declamation.

  • Lily Zellman ’24 was 10th place in Oratorical Declamation.

  • Abbey Kelley ’23 was champion in Oratorical Declamation.

  • Elizabeth Wong ’23 was sixth place in Extemporaneous Speaking.

  • Mukta Dharmapurikar ’22 was the champion of Extemporaneous Speaking.

  • Elizabeth Wong ’23 was sixth place in Impromptu Speaking.

  • Ava Claar ’24 was fourth place in Impromptu Speaking.

  • Ava Claar ’24 was the top novice in Impromptu Speaking.

  • Mukta Dharamapurikar ’22 was fourth place in Informative Speaking.

  • Andria Shafer ’21 was fourth place in Program Oral Interpretation.

  • Veronica Quiett ’23 was the runner-up in Program Oral Interpretation.

  • Veronica Quiett was the top novice in Program Oral Interpretation.
     

New York City Invitational at the Bronx High School of Science

Seven students competed at the New York City Invitational, traditionally held at the Bronx High School of Science, Oct. 15–17.

  • Sachin Aggarwal ’24 was third place in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Michael Hansen and Alex Huang ’24 were fourth place in Novice Public Forum Debate.

  • Izzi Gershon ’22 was a finalist (top 16) in Congressional Debate.

  • Mary Mungai ’22 was a semifinalist (top 40) in Congressional Debate.

  • Teddy Wallen and Ani Sukhija ’23 were double-octafinalists (top 32) in Public Forum Debate.
     

Queen City Invitational at Charlotte Catholic

On Oct. 24, 27 Cavaliers competed at the Queen City Invitational, virtually hosted by Charlotte Catholic High School. 

  • Lulu Burnside ’24 was the champion in Novice Congressional Debate.

  • Kierston Hackman ‘24 was third place in Novice Congressional Debate.

  • Claire Hong ’24 was the runner-up in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Alex Huang and Michael Hansen ’24 were champions in Novice Public Forum Debate.

  • MacKenna Morris ’23 was third place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Veronica Quiett ’23 was fifth place in Program Oral Interpretation.

  • Durham Academy was fourth place in Overall Sweepstakes.
     

Florida Blue Key at the University of Florida

The weekend of Oct. 31, 16 Cavaliers competed in the University of Florida’s Florida Blue Key Speech & Debate Tournament.

  • Mukta Dharampurikar ’22 was an octafinalist in Extemporaneous Speaking.

  • Mukta Dharampurikar was a semifinalist in Informative Speaking.

  • Sierra Brown ’21 was a quarterfinalist in Humorous Interpretation.

  • Andria Shafer ’21 was a quarterfinalist in Programmed Oral Interpretation.

  • Jacob Hornstein ’23 was a quarterfinalist in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Jacob Hornstein was the top speaker in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.