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Speech and Debate Team Excels

Speech and Debate Team Excels

The GlenOak Speech and Debate team concluded its historic season at the National Speech and Debate tournament in Des Moines, Iowa, in June. Represented by senior Rachel Gortney, junior Lucy Shaheen, junior JeKhia Ballard, and sophomore Conner Belden, the team has grown significantly to over 60 members in the past three seasons.

Gortney, Shaheen, Ballard, and Belden earned their spots at the National Tournament through district and nationwide competitions held in March and April. The NSDA National Tournament, the largest academic competition globally, welcomed more than 6,000 high school students for a week-long event.

Rachel Gortney, a state finalist in United States Extemporaneous Speaking, ranked among the top 105 extemporaneous speakers out of 270 competitors. Conner Belden continued his impressive sophomore season by advancing to the double octafinals and securing the 39th position in Humorous Interpretation, competing against 258 participants. Lucy Shaheen and her World Schools Debate team achieved several elimination round victories, ultimately placing 24th worldwide, marking the highest achievement for an Eastern Ohio World Schools Debate team.

JeKhia Ballard made history for GlenOak by becoming the national runner-up in Original Spoken Word Poetry. Ballard's achievement is not only GlenOak’s first national finalist in nearly two decades but also the highest-ever finish for GlenOak. Head coach Megan Rea, completing her third season at GlenOak, received recognition for achieving her first NSDA Coaching Diamond. Coaching Diamonds are awarded to coaches who accumulate 15,000 NSDA points over a period of five or more years.

The team is delighted with the success of the entire season and their performance at the national tournament. Looking ahead, they are committed to continuing their growth and aiming to establish themselves as a top program in Ohio as they prepare for the 2024-25 season.

For questions about GlenOak Speech and Debate please email Megan Rea