News Post

DA Hosts District Speech and Debate Tournament; 16 Students Qualify for Nationals
DA Hosts District Speech and Debate Tournament; 16 Students Qualify for Nationals
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The Durham Academy speech and debate program hosted the Tarheel East District Tournament from March 23 to 24. It was DA’s second time playing host to the tournament, in which members of 22 of the state’s most talented teams vie for berths in the National Speech and Debate Association’s (NSDA) national tournament. Sixteen DA students have qualified for nationals.

As a team, the DA competitors were named District Overall Champions, District Debate Champions and District Speech Champions. DA also won all three team awards in 2018.

Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner was recognized as District Administrator of the Year in recognition of his support of growth within both DA’s speech and debate program and within the Tarheel East District.

Kellen Kane, DA’s assistant coach for speech events, was named District New Coach of the Year for excellence in his first year of coaching.



The following Durham Academy students have qualified for NSDA nationals, to be held in Dallas June 16–21:

  • Andrew Owens and Adriana Kim, Public Forum Debate

  • Mac Hays and Izzie Pierson, Public Forum Debate

  • Matthew Chang and Daniel Park, Public Forum Debate

  • Emily Kohn, Humorous Interpretation

  • Alex Hoffman, International Extemporaneous Speaking

  • Annie Ma, Original Oratory

  • Kiran Sundar, Original Oratory

  • Davi Sapiro-Gheiler, Programmed Oral Interpretation

  • Mukta Dharmapurikar, U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking

  • Bennett Dombcik, World Schools Debate

  • Jacob Palmer, World Schools Debate

  • Emily Donaldson, Congressional Debate – Senate

  • Lizzie Kerman, Congressional Debate – House

In addition, several students were named alternates for nationals:

  • Nechama Huba, 2nd Alternate in US Extemporaneous Speaking

  • Alex Hoffman, 3rd Alternate in U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking

  • Nechama Huba, 1st Alternate in International Extemporaneous Speaking

  • Bennett Dombcik, 1st Alternate in Lincoln-Douglas Debate