Owen Weber, Brandon Alpern and Adejoke Mason placed higher than any other Bettendorf High School student ever at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas, on June 14-19, 2015. Weber and Alpern placed 16th out of 273 entries in public forum debate. Mason placed 69th out of 262 entries in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
“Bettendorf High School's speech and debate team has qualified students to the national tournament for the last 15 years.” said Joe Rankin, the debate coach.
For the 2015 NSDA Tournament, Bettendorf qualified 10 student to compete in nationals. The students, in addition to Weber, Alpern and Mason, were Hazel Ambort, Lilli Ambort, Marianna Hurd, and Robert Norwood in world schools debate; John Bai in Lincoln-Douglas debate; Travis Hazelett in student congress senate; and Josh Kinyon in international extemporaneous speaking.
The speech and debate team spent weeks in advance preparing for nationals.
Weber said, “To qualify for nationals, we had to be one of the final two teams in East Iowa at a district tournament. We spent weeks preparing beforehand and had to go up against some of the best teams in the state.”
“I had an amazing experience. I like the style of debate most commonly used in nationals, so I tend to be more relaxed at this tournament than any others, which is a little crazy considering it's the biggest. The best part is probably meeting so many new people from around the country who are so clearly into what I'm into. I think I made some friendships this year that are really going to last. I also really enjoy getting to travel with my team and hang out with them in really cool cities. My friends and I did some really fun shopping in Dallas!” Mason said.
“The number one goal we have for next year is to win at Nationals,” Weber said.
Mason said, “My goal is to just be better than I was the year before.”
The National Speech & Debate Association is the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school, high school, and collegiate students in the United States. The association provides competitive speech and debate activities, comprehensive training, and scholarship opportunities to more than 130,000 students and coaches every year.