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The Durham Academy speech and debate team has been honored with the National Speech & Debate Association’s Leading Chapter Award.
The award is the highest recognition a speech and debate chapter can achieve in the National Speech & Debate Honor Society. Only one school in each speech and debate district earns this honor each year. DA won the honor as the leading chapter in the Tarheel East district; only one other school in North Carolina was recognized this year.
From more than 3,600 schools across the country, only around 3 percent of schools are recognized as Leading Chapter Award winners. The National Speech & Debate Association describes schools with this distinction as leaders among other schools in their district and as “flagship programs for novice speech and debate teams around the United States.”
The award is bestowed on the school whose accumulated total of members and degrees is highest in each district. Members and degrees count toward a school’s progress in earning the award over time.
This is the second Leading Chapter Award for the DA speech and debate team. The first was earned over the course of 58 years — from the establishment of DA’s first debate team in 1953 until 2011. The DA team earned its second Leading Chapter Award in a much shorter span of time — five years — in recognition of its performance from 2012 to 2017.
“This award, which is based on participation, represents a tremendous dedication to speech and debate education,” J. Scott Wunn, executive director of the National Speech & Debate Association, said in a press release. “Our leading chapter schools understand the importance of speech and debate, and the life changing benefits of the activity. We are proud to recognize these hard-working schools with this coveted honor.”