Pictured (left to right): Siena Liljegren 8th grade: Poetry National Champion; Yash Wadwekar 8th grade: Dramatic Interpretation & Prose Interpretation National Champion; Wade Hunter 8th grade: Duo Interpretation National Champion; Abby Caplan 7th grade: Duo Interpretation National Champion; McKinley Paltzik 7th grade: Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking National Champion; C. Ryan Joyce: Head Speech & Debate coach and Director of Advancement
In June, the Phoenix Country Day School Middle and Upper School Speech & Debate teams competed at the National Speech & Debate Association’s National Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Both teams received top recognition, competing against the top 7,000 speech and debate students from over 1,300 schools throughout the country!
The PCDS Middle School Speech & Debate team was crowned National Champion for the third year in a row. The team, which traveled with thirty-six students in grades 6th-8th, featured six individual national champions and twenty-two individual national finalists, among a host of other individual student recognition across a variety of speech and debate events.
“Our mantra was ‘Trust the Process,’” said PCDS Middle School Speech & Debate coach Ryan Joyce. “Our students put in countless hours year-round to prepare, and we are thrilled that they were able to achieve this level of recognition on a national level. We often remind the kids that ‘a good speaker is a good person who speaks well,’ and we are proud to say that our students accomplished those goals on both ends.”
Eleven PCDS Upper School students competed in the high school division of the National tournament, as well. The team was recognized with a “Speech School of Honor” award, as a top school within the tournament. Junior, Sophia Corridan, placed runner-up nationally in the expository event, and the team had three other students placing in the top-20 of their respective events.
Both at the middle and high school levels, Phoenix Country Day School has built a tremendous national reputation in the Speech & Debate world, and its students have had incredible experiences growing, learning, and competing throughout the country.