By Ryan Yousefi
The Westglades Middle School Speech and Debate team has launched its competition season with a resounding success, with more than a dozen students earning prestigious accolades in the year’s inaugural event.
On September 19, 53 students representing the Westglades Middle School competed in the first Middle School Speech and Debate Tournament of the 2023-24 school year.
Speaking about the student’s performance, the team’s Speech and Debate teacher and coach, Brooke Pappas, tells Parkland Talk the children provided insight into the school’s impressive performance. She expressed her pride in all the participating students, emphasizing the valuable experience they gained.
“The students left the competition with valuable feedback from their judges and a better understanding of what a middle school tournament was like,” Pappas said
“We were excited to have 16 students that received high enough rankings to earn a medal and be declared winners.”
The competition included Westglades Middle School students competing in a wide range of events, including Congress, Public Forum, Lincoln Douglas, Oratory, Informative, Impromptu, Extemporaneous, Dramatic Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Declamation, Prose, and Poetry.
Among the standouts of the tournament were the 16 students who achieved high rankings in their respective events, bringing home medals for their performances.
The students to receive honors were:
- Nalia Haak – Dramatic Interpretation
- Camryn Walker – Dramatic Interpretation
- Andrew Win – Impromptu
- Gabriella Duman – Impromptu
- Joaquin Vasiliadis – Informative
- Melanie Clifford – Oratory
- Sofia Sawhney – Oratory
- Sabine Fiero – Poetry
- Lily Wiener – Poetry
- Samyak Singh – Public Forum
- Neel Bharambe – Public Forum
- Scott Miller – Lincoln Douglas
- Lindsay Rosaler – Congress
- Ira Kumar – Congress
- Briana Loo Martinez – Oratory
- Krish Shah – Prose
Pappas says the debate team is a huge factor in developing crucial life skills that give students who participate an upper hand later in their educational journey.
“Competing in speech and debate tournaments can profoundly impact our students. Learning to articulate their thoughts clearly and confidently will set them up for future success in any field,”
“Students who compete in tournaments must be quick thinkers, be organized, prepared, and rehearsed.”
While branded a debate competition, Pappas tells Parkland Talk the most genuine value most young people receive from competitors is the confidence it gives them in a public setting. This trait dramatically influences their development moving forward.
“Public speaking can boost confidence and self-esteem. These skills translate and transfer to almost any subject or scenario in their lives, inside and outside of
Pappas says the Westglades Middle School Speech and Debate Team has ambitious plans with debate season in full swing.
“We plan to attend eight more tournaments this year, with the year’s final tournament being a Broward County Middle School Championship in April.”
- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiples outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.
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