Lakeland High School
Westchester, NY

On February 28th and 29th, the Early Scholars debate team headed to the Lakeland Classic National Debate Tournament. Two intense days later, we left victorious. Of the five Early Scholars’ teams who entered the open division of the Lakeland National – the hardest division – Zachary and Hillary were first seed in the entire tournament with a flawless 5-0 preliminary record. Hillary was the 1st place speaker, and Zachary was the 2nd place speaker overall. Together they reached the quarter finals as a team.

Two more of our teams reached the octafinals. Audrey and Brandon came in as the 16th place team, while Annie, who was a Maverick (a one person team), earned the title of 7th place team and the 11th speaker. We’re especially proud of Annie, who not only showed her debate prowess at the tournament, but also showed tremendous courage. She had to compete alone when her partner was unable to attend. Way to go, Annie!

Our remaining two teams were both literally a few points shy of reaching elimination rounds with a record of 4 out of 5 wins in their preliminary rounds. And, it’s important to remember, as gratifying as it is to come home with these wins in our debaters’ pockets, and as proud of them as we are, even when they’re not winning, they’re still accomplishing amazing things. They’re learning to be better public speakers. They’re finding ways to communicate effectively. They’re practicing important speech and debate skills, like tone and delivery, and how to develop a successful argument. These are the skills that will follow them into all areas of their lives, both their work lives and their social lives. That’s the whole reason for taking part in speech and debate, after all.