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Speech & Debate Spotlight: NSDA Nationals

May 2, 2023

The speech and debate team has now officially completed their 2022-2023 season! As active members continue to participate in off-season practice, the team has now achieved the next level: NSDA Nationals. 

Our debate team has a group of talented individuals who excel in public speaking, rhetoric, and argumentation. The team has been competing tirelessly at local, regional, state levels, and now will compete at the national level. Their success exemplifies their hard work and dedication. 

Members of the team have excellent communication skills, a deep understanding of current events and issues, and the ability to think on their feet. They are skilled in forming persuasive arguments, and delivering powerful speeches. 

With the help of their experienced coaches Ms. Martin and Ms. Matthews, the speech and debate team has been continually placing on top of competitions and striving to improve their skills.

Esra Hima, will be going to Phoenix, Arizona this summer to participate in nationals in World Schools Debate. Esra has worked incredibly hard as team captain and as a debater competing in several competitions. 

Esra is very excited to have gotten this far and hopes to achieve more at nationals and thank the speech and debate team as well as her coaches for their support. Here is what some team members and the coaches had to say regarding Esra’s achievements as well as the team’s achievement altogether.

Sophomore Handakina Tsegaye (Captain): 

“I think that this team was able to achieve things that no one in Lotus history has achieved, as relative to speech and debate. This team is setting the foundation on victory. Because of the achievements of this team, the next generation of LSE debaters are cultivated to strive for improvement. This team has been recognized at state and even national levels. Because of that, we feel proud and motivated to add to our achievements.” 

Handakina Tsegaye will also be in attendance of the competition and will compete in supplementative events.


Ms. Martin:

“I feel incredible about the progress that speech and debate has made since our return to competition. While our initial program was enthusiastic prior to and even during COVID, the tenacity that our new recruits, and captions, have shown these last two years is incomparable. 

Their drive, commitment, enthusiasm, and support for each other and their shared mission is unmatched. I am constantly in awe of them, and so proud.”

As Ms. Martin will be out of the country during the event, she addresses members. “To my students traveling to Nationals, I just want to assure you with every fiber of my being that you are meant to be there. This is our first foray into a much bigger world, and no matter what that inner voice might tell us amid moments of great import, you are every bit as intelligent, outgoing, and worthy of this experience as any other person there.”

She furthers, “Soak it up and enjoy it; see what there is to see, learn what there is to learn, and do your best. There is nothing to lose and there is no risk for disappointing anyone – get out there and thrive. And Facetime us!!!” 

Ms. Matthews:

“I think that this team has been thriving. We are a small school, so we are limited in resources and funds, but we are not limited in talent. We have so much potential on our team, and this year, with the direction of Ms. Martin and I, we have been able to thrive as a team. We have been to countless tournaments this year, and we were able to have people place in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and we have also had many finalists. Although it is not all about the trophies and titles, I feel very proud being able to share the successes of my students. I think we are on the right track, and I am excited to see what next year will bring.”

She elucidates, “I want to congratulate Esra on her years of hard work. She has worked on her craft all through high school, and it has culminated in her qualifying for nationals. I think that this honor is a testament to her dedication and tenacity. I am so proud of her on so many levels. As a coach, I am just honored to have had a piece in enjoying her successes alongside her.” 

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    Ms. MartinMay 9, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    Yordanos, thank you for such an eloquently written (and flattering!) article about our team. I am grateful for the specificity and thoroughness with which you have rendered their efforts. Thank you.