Central Valley · Education

Local Student Finalist in National Speech and Debate Competition 

Image result for national speech and debateImani Branch from Fresno’s University High School has been selected from more than 150,000 student members of the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) as one of the top finalists in the world’s largest academic competition.

The National Speech & Debate Tournament was held in Birmingham, Alabama June 18-23, 2017 with more than 4,000 qualifying competitors. The top placing students not only took home a National Championship title and awards, but more than $200,000 in scholarship money.

“It is quite an accomplishment to qualify to the National Speech and Debate Tournament,”said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association.  “Only 3% of high school speech and debate competitors qualify, and less than 1% of speech and debate students can call themselves a national champion. These students are extraordinarily talented and we look forward to the great things they will do with their talents in the future.”

The top six National Speech and Debate Tournament finalists in Program Oral Interpretation:

6th place

Imani Branch

University High School ― Fresno, CA

Coached by LoRainna Carter

5th place

Tre Edgerton

East Ridge High School ― Woodbury, MN

Coached by Alex Carlson

4th place

Joshua Beckles

McQuaid Jesuit High School ― Rochester, NY

Coached by Kathy Ruppert

3rd place

(Receives a $250 scholarship)

Emma Warnecke

Saint Mary’s Hall High School ― San Antonio, TX

Coached by Joseph Muller

2nd place

(Receives a $500 scholarship)

Jenee Cidel

Cypress Bay High School ― Weston, FL

Coached by Alyssa Fiebrantz, Jon Wayne Martin, and Joele Miguel Denis

National Champion

(Receives a $1,000 scholarship from The Interp Store and $5,000 EF Hutton Scholarship)

Quest Broussard

Comeaux High School ― Lafayette, LA

Coached by Jacob Simon

About the annual National Speech & Debate Tournament

The NSDA has hosted the National Tournament in cities across the country since 1931. The 2018 National Tournament event will be held in Fort Lauderdale, FL with the 2019 event to be held in Dallas, TX.  For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org/nationals.

About the National Speech & Debate Association

The National Speech & Debate Association is the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school, high school, and collegiate students in the United States. The Association provides competitive speech and debate activities, high-quality resources, comprehensive training, scholarship opportunities, and advanced recognition to more than 150,000 students and coaches every year. For 90 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has empowered more than 1.5 million members to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders in our society. For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org.



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