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DHS Debate Team State Champions!

The Deering High School Debate Team has won the 2024 Maine State Speech and Debate Championship! The event was held at Skowhegan Area High School on Jan. 20.

Deering won the Varsity Public Forum, which was a Deering "closeout,” said Deering English and ESOL teacher Molly Callaghan. “This means that the top two pairs were both Deering teams, and thus they were ineligible to debate each other in the final round,” so the winner was determined by a coin flip, she explained. Winning the coin flip were 11th-graders Eli Tuchinsky and Isabella Figdor, with 11th-graders Mya Landry and Violet Blum Levine as the runners up. “All four debaters are awesome!” Callaghan said.

The Deering Debate Team also placed second in the state for Public Forum and third in the state for Congressional Debate. “Excellent performances all around, for sure,” said Bilal Hussein, who coaches the team with Krista Simonis.

In addition, 10th-graders Margo Bean and Ivy Varbanova finished in fourth place in varsity Public Forum. Ninth-graders Safa Mohamed and Michelle Matos Galva came in second in Novice Public Forum.

In Congressional debate, 10th-grader Zack Lee won fifth place, also earning a spot as the third alternate from Maine for the NCFL Championship, an upcoming national event in Chicago.

“All the participating kids have worked really hard all season,” Callaghan said.

The DHS Debate Team has further opportunity to shine at national qualifying tournaments coming up soon.