The Deering Debate Team won numerous awards at the Maine State Speech and Debate Championships at Bangor High School on January 21. The team also won the 2023 MPA Sportsmanship Award at the event.
The wins at the state championship were especially significant because only the ninth- and 10th-grade members of the team competed, according to teacher Molly Callaghan, who co-coaches the team with Krista Simonis. The older, more experienced team members were not available or opted out of the contest, Callaghan said. However, the younger students proved they were up to the task. “The future of Deering debate is bright with these accomplished underclassmen,” Callaghan said.
The results were as follows:
● Public Forum Varsity:
Mya Landry and Violet Blum Levine placed 3rd overall
Isabella Figdor and Eli Tuchinsky placed 4th overall
● Public Forum Novice:
Ivy Varbanova and Margo Bean placed 1st overall
● Congress, House 1:
Noah Rasheed placed 4th overall
● Congress, House 2:
Ellis Wood placed 4th overall
Zack Lee placed 5th overall
● Congress Sweepstakes: Deering tied for 3rd place overall
● Debate (Public Forum + Lincoln Douglas) Sweepstakes: Deering placed 3rd overall (This was a big accomplishment because Deering had no entries in the Lincoln Douglas event)
In addition, University of Southern Maine senior Bilal Hussein, who has been volunteering with the Deering team all year, won Judge of the Year. It was a very long day – the team boarded the bus at Deering at 6:15 a.m., and the award ceremony wasn’t over until 8:45 p.m.
Following states, Deering debaters went to the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Qualifying tournament for Congressional Debate, which was held at the Maine State House on January 28. After competing, ninth-graders Zach Lee and Noah Rasheed both qualified for nationals as alternates.
PHOTO 1 (above): The Deering Debate Team posed with awards after the State Championship on Jan. 21. Standing, from left, are: Luke Newell (grade 10); Bilal Hussein (USM senior "Judge of the Year"); Noah Rasheed (grade 9); Laura Callaghan (grade 9); Maya Zager (grade 10); Mya Landry (grade 10); Margo Bean (grade 9); Ivy Varbanova (grade 9); Alma Wallace (grade 9); Roderick Ariza (grade 9); Violet Blum Levine (grade 10); Eli Tuchinsky (grade 10); and Isabella Figdor (grade 10). Seated at the table, from left, are Zack Lee (grade 9) and Ellis Wood (grade 9).
PHOTO 2: (below) Pictured, from left, are Zach Lee (grade 9); Laura Callaghan (grade 9); Colby Drabik (grade 12 and team captain); Noah Rasheed (grade 9); and Luke Newell (grade 10) at the NSDA National Qualifying tournament for Congressional Debate, which was held at the Maine State House on January 28.