News

Speech and Debate Program Expands Reach into Middle School, Begins Year of Online Competition

Despite a shift to online practices and competitions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Durham Academy’s speech and debate team is off to a busy start to the 2020–2021 school year, having competed in four events in September.

This year’s team features 99 Upper and Middle School students, about half of whom are novices. The team is also in the process of introducing a new offering that will give seventh- and eighth-graders who aren’t ready to compete the chance to learn more about public speaking.

See the team’s September results below.

UK Season Opener

Twelve Cavaliers competed in the 2020 National Speech & Debate Season Opener, hosted by the University of Kentucky from Sept. 12–14.

  • Chris Burkhard (’21) was a double-octafinalist (Top 32) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Chris was also the 16th speaker in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
  • Teddy Wallen and Ani Sukhija (’23) were quad-octafinalists (Top 128) in Public Forum Debate.
  • Anna Brent-Levenstein (’21) and Stacey Kang (’22) were double-octafinalists (Top 32) in Public Forum Debate.
  • Mukta Dharmapurikar (’22) was the champion of Extemporaneous Speaking.
     

Duke Invitational

Thirty-two Cavaliers competed in the 2020 Duke Invitational, held on Sept. 19 and 20. 

  • Abbey Kelley (’23) was the runner-up in Oratorical Declamation.
  • MacKenna Morris (’23) was an octafinalist (Top 16) in Junior Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate. MacKenna was also the 16th speaker in JVLD.
  • Omar Pasha (’23) was a quarterfinalist (Top 16) in Junior Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Omar was also the 11th speaker in JVLD.
  • Aadesh Anchailya (’22) was a double-octafinalist (Top 32) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
  • Chris Burkhard (’21) was an octafinalist (Top 16) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Chris was also the fifth Speaker in VLD.
  • Faith Hanson and JP Dilweg (’23) were double-octafinalists (Top 32) in Junior Varsity Public Forum Debate. JP was fourth Speaker in JVPF. Faith was sixth Speaker in JVPF.
  • Brian Zhou and Paul Wang (’23) were semifinalists (Top 4) in Junior Varsity Public Forum Debate.
  • Matthew Chang and Daniel Park (’21) were double-octafinalists (Top 32) in Public Forum Debate.
  • Owen Brent-Levenstein and Pete Crowley (’23) were octafinalists (Top 16) in Public Forum Debate.
  • Anna Brent-Levenstein (’21) and Stacey Kang (’22) were quarterfinalists (Top 8) in Public Forum Debate. Anna was the second Speaker. Stacey was the third Speaker.
  • Asia Crowley (’22) took third place in Congressional Debate.
  • Mayah Ding (’23) took ninth place in Congressional Debate.
     

Holy Cross Navy & Old Gold Speech and Debate Exhibition

Nine Cavaliers competed in the 2020 Holy Cross Tournament.

  • Sara Shaikh (’22) was a quarterfinalist (Top 8) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
  • Chris Burkhard (’21) was an octafinalist (Top 16) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
  • Brian Zhou and Paul Wang (’22) were octafinalists (Top 16) in Public Forum Debate.
     

Pinecrest Open

Thirty-five Cavaliers competed in the 2020 Pinecrest Open.

  • Kiersten Hackman (’24) took eighth place in Novice Congressional Debate.
  • Lulu Burnside (’24) took sixth place in Novice Congressional Debate.
  • Ethan Li (’25) took third place in Novice Congressional Debate.
  • Adrian Atwater (’24) took second place in Varsity Congressional Debate.
  • Mayah Ding (’23) was the champion in Varsity Congressional Debate.
  • Claire Hong (’24) took sixth place in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
  • Sachin Aggarwal (’24) took seventh place in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
  • Jacob Hornstein (’23) took eighth place in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
  • Vika Wei (’24) took eighth place in Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
  • Michael Hansen and Alex Huang (’24) took fifth place in Novice Public Forum Debate.
  • Mariam Abdelbarr and Elizabeth Owens (’23) took seventh place in Varsity Public Forum Debate.
  • Ada Catherine Hays and Veer Prakash (’23) took eighth place in Varsity Public Forum Debate.
  • Emily Norry and Matthew Chang (’21) took 10th place in Varsity Public Forum Debate.
  • Abbey Kelley (’23) was the champion in Oratorical Declamation.
  • Durham Academy took third place in Overall Sweepstakes.