Speech and Debate Team Among Top 10 Schools at National Tournament

Eighteen members of the Durham Academy speech and debate team competed in the National Speech & Debate Association National Tournament June 14–20. The qualifiers — who competed online due to the COVID-19 pandemic — earned a slew of individual honors, as well as team recognition as a School of Outstanding Distinction.

This marks the first year that the DA program has been named a School of Outstanding Distinction; this honor acknowledges the 10 schools that earned the most points in speech and debate events at the tournament. 2020 is the eighth consecutive year that DA has won a team award (having been named a School of Excellence in Debate each year from 2013–2019).

“Every year, we tell our students that we want to prove that we are one of the best. There have been two years where we thought we would be close to reaching the ultimate level of recognition only to come up short,” said Crawford Leavoy, director of DA’s speech and debate program. “This year, these kids delivered. However, I celebrate tonight's award while thinking of the years of Cavaliers that paved the way for tonight. They are a part of this award. Their hard work before has built the legacy that made this possible.”

Individual results for the qualifying DA competitors follow: 

  • Annie Ma ’20 was fourth place in Original Oratory.

  • Mukta Dharmapurikar '22 was ninth place in International Extemporaneous Speaking.

  • Madeleine Genova '20 was in the top 60 in Original Oratory.

  • Madeleine Genova was in the top 14 of Expository Speaking.

  • Mac Hays and Esme Longley '20 were fourth place in Public Forum Debate.

  • Adriana Kim and Andrew Owens '20 were 15th place in Public Forum Debate.

  • Bennett Dombcik '20 was in the top 65 of Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Chris Burkhard '21 was in the top 85 of Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

  • Vikram Agrawal '20 was in the top 40 of Congressional Debate: House.

  • Emily Donaldson '20 was in the top 48 of Congressional Debate: Senate.

  • Jacob Palmer '20 was a Triple-Octafinalist in World Schools Debate.

  • Anna Brent Levenstein '21 was in the top 13 of Extemporaneous Debate.

  • Ben Tarpey '23, Aadesh Anchailya '22, Emily Norry '21, Izzi Gershon '22, Asia Crowley '22 all had amazing results as they reached their first National Tournament.