When most students are asked about what team at St. Thomas has the fastest growing national recognition, the immediate thoughts that come to mind are one of the excellent athletic teams or the award winning rocketry team.
These are great programs, but the Speech and Debate team is gaining more and more national recognition with every competition.
Last year, the Speech and Debate team had a very successful season with six students qualifying for the Texas Forensics Association, four from the class of 2014: Daniel Morgan, Mack Dowdall, Israel Sierra, Spencer Krumholz. Morgan and Dowdall were octo-finalists, and Krumholz was a quarter finalist. Krumholz finished sixth nationally in Dramatic Interpretation at the National Speech and Debate Association (below), the best anyone from St. Thomas has ever done.[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7Ip6sEqRBU[/embedyt]
This year the team looks to leaders with experience in current seniors John Constantine and Jonathan Michael. The team is hoping to further their reach in American forensics by traveling to Dallas and Iowa for competition. They are also going to be in Chicago in November to compete at the top tournament of the fall semester and hope to return to Harvard.
The Speech and Debate team has many returning members. Among those returning are junior Jonathan Beavers and sophomores Nathan Barrett-Will and Damon Shekari. Some new faces have also emerged such as juniors Chase Brown and John Woulfe sophomores Ryan Chandler, Michael Heinz and Davis Burns. One key contribution to the success of the Speech and Debate team has been the contributions of underclassmen.
Last year, two freshmen in particular stood out as integral parts of the team. Shekari and Bartlett-Will were a driving force behind the team’s success last year. This year it is too early to tell who will stand out like Shekari and Bartlett-Will did last year, but according to Speech and Debate coach John Augilard some sophomores with early success are Jordan McCoy and Jean-Pierre Nguyen and freshmen Ethan Haosjoe.
President of the team junior Seth Beavers is very excited about the direction that the team is going in.
“I think one of the driving forces behind our early successes is the much stronger team dynamic we have created this year,”
Augillard is very proud of how the team has grown and excelled. “We hope to maintain the excellence that has been established since my arrival while continuing to grow,” Augillard said. “This year the team is off to its best start ever,” said Augillard.
This year the team already has one person nationally ranked in Beavers. “As the season progresses, I am certain that more of our guys will become highly ranked nationally,” Beavers said.
With its excellent ending to last year and its even better start to this season, the Speech and Debate team is keeping up its tradition of excellence. This is expanding the ever-present reach of STH throughout the nation. “I am really excited to see just how far our team can go this year,” Beavers said.