Students Make History at Ohio Speech and Debate Association State Finals

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Students Make History at Ohio Speech and Debate Association State Finals

Ten Upper School students competed at the 97th annual Ohio Speech and Debate Association (OSDA) State Finals at Wooster High School. Several HB students had stand-out performances among more than 1,100 students from around the state of Ohio who qualified to compete at the tournament. In public forum debate, the team of Neha Sangani '24 and Gauri Gandhi '24 finished 5th, becoming the first HB team to ever finish in the top five at States two years in a row. Charlotte Kleid '26 finished 9th in a field of almost 90 entries in Lincoln Douglas debate. Lily Andrews '26 finished 11th in a field of 90 students in Congressional Debate- Senate. Capri Gerteis '27 and Maya Wadhawan '27 also advanced to the semifinals in Congressional Debate.  

Capri also qualified to the National Speech and Debate Finals this June in Big Questions Debate, joining Neha and Gauri, who prequalified to the tournament based on their 12th place finish in the nation in 2023; this is the first time that HB has qualified a student to nationals in Big Questions debate. 

Big Questions is a form of debate held at the national level by the National Speech and Debate Association. Since 2016, thousands of students gather each year to debate a topic that is designed to open students’ minds and encourage them to engage in life discussions that may not align with their previously held beliefs.

The Upper School speech and debate students were not the only group to find success at the state level. 12 Middle School students competed at the OSDA Middle School State Finals in Louisville High School. Emily Xie '28 and Annie Chiang '29 finished as co-state champions in a field of 60 students in extemporaneous debate; they are the first middle school debate state champions in HB history. In middle school public forum debate, the team of Coco Sethi '29 and Rory Ligon '29 finished in fifth place, which was the best finish by an HB middle school team in this event. In Oratory, Siena DiSanto '28 finished in 7th place, also an HB record.

Congratulations to all of HB's Speech and Debate students who participated in the OSDA State Finals! Your hard work, dedication, and talent shine through. Your success at both the Upper School and Middle School state levels is a testament to your passion for speech and debate, as well as your commitment to excellence. Well done and good luck moving forwards!

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