Monday, July 7, 2014

SBISD Graduates Exceed Expectations at Debate Nationals

Bottom row includes finalists Avery Reinhart, Christopher Rice, and Nicole Jackson (left to right).

Four recent Spring Branch ISD graduates from Spring Woods and Northbrook high schools rank among the nation’s best debaters, having placed in the final rounds of the 2014 National Forensic League (NFL) National Speech and Debate Tournament recently.

The NFL National Speech and Debate Tournament is generally understood to be the largest speech and debate tournament in the nation, encompassing more than 130,000 students across the United States who are active participants in NFL events.

This year, the tournament was held on June 15-20 at the Parkview Convention Center in Parkview, Kan. To qualify, students must have placed among the best competitors in their event at one of the 110 NFL District Tournaments held across the nation.

Three of the finalists—Avery Reinhart, Christian Rice, and Nicole Jackson— represented the Spring Woods High School award-winning debate team under the direction of debate coach Victoria Beard.

Avery Reinhart, a two-time qualifier for the NFL National Tournament, placed 10th out of 270 students in the Senate portion of Congressional Debate. Reinhart will pursue a dual bachelor’s degree in political science and business at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas this fall. 

Finalists Avery Reinhart and Isaiah Rodriguez are both seated in the front row of the senate portion of Congresional Debate finals picture. Reinhart is second from the left and Rodriguez is sixth, or last from the left. 
Christian Rice, who will attend Yale University in New Haven, Conn., placed 16th out of 275 students in the House of Representatives portion of congressional debate. This was Rice’s third trip to the NFL National Speech and Debate Tournament. He served as president of the debate team this past year at Spring Woods High.

Both Reinhart and Rice have said that they may pursue political careers.

Nicole Jackson, a first-time qualifier for the NFL National Tournament, placed 14th out of 150 students in Prose Interpretation. Jackson will attend Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.

Northbrook High School graduate Isaiah Rodriguez also ranked exceptionally well at the Tournament; he placed 23th out of 270 students in the Senate portion of Congressional Debate. His debate coach at Northbrook High was Cecilia Smith. This fall, Rodriguez will begin his freshman year at Rice University in Houston.  

In separate but related news, the Spring Woods High debate team received the “School of Honor” award at the NFL National Tournament, which recognized it as one of the top 21-40 high schools for outstanding debate.

This story was compiled and written by Communications Dept.  Intern Kali Venable


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