High School has competed at the National Speech and Debate Association’s end
of the year National Tournament for each of the last 40 consecutive years,
the team had little way of knowing how this year’s offering would turn out.
That is because the National Tournament, originally due to be held in
Albuquerque, was shifted to a virtual tournament held over the past six
Competitors for CHS
qualified for the tournament via the normal district competition series.
While some Chesterton students opted out of the experience, the tournament
fielded its typical entry numbers continuing its tradition as the largest
academic competition in the world. Featuring 1,332 schools and over 5,000
entries, this year’s tournament set a record for attendance at the
a ‘School of Honor’ award for its speech portion of the program, signifying
a top 40 placing.
The team was led in
points by junior Lily Roberts who advanced into the second set of break
rounds. Advancement to that quarterfinal round put Roberts in the top 30 in
the nation in her event of Program of Oral Interp (POI). For the event of
POI, students weave together different pieces of literature in the genres of
prose, poetry, and dramatic literature to create a themed ten-minute
performance of their own. Roberts’ POI utilized the theme of abuse to tell
Anna Sanders, a
junior, qualified for the octafinal, or top 60, round with her Original
Oratory titled ‘Cut it Out.’ Her ten-minute speech that she wrote and
researched is about society’s tendency to take shortcuts.
Anekah Fish, a
senior, made the cut for the top 60 in Dramatic Interpretation. Like Roberts
event, Fish had to interpret an authors’ work and condense the piece down to
a ten-minute cutting. Fish utilized Gail Giles’ ‘Girls like us’ for her
Leavitt also advanced to the top 60 in Humorous Interpretation performing a
cutting from the parody piece of ‘Mary Choppins,’ by Frank Joseph.
Seniors Grace Whah
and Emily Krygoske were the lone debate entry to qualify for the elimination
portion of the tournament. Accumulating a 9-3 record in the preliminary
rounds, Whah and Krygoske were narrowly defeated by 2-1 decisions from the
judging panels in their seventh and eight rounds. The process for the speech
and debate events were different at this tournament. Debate was held
synchronously as students and judges logged into designated web-based
classroom to hold their debates in real time. The speech side of the
competition was held asynchronously, as students had to upload a performance
that was then viewed in real time by judges at the tournament. By qualifying
for round eight, Whah and Krygoske debated for more than 10 hours over the
If eliminated by a
certain point in the tournament, students can choose to compete in a
secondary and a third event. Although they do not count for the team portion
of awards, these events still begin with between 300 and 1,000 students
vying for the national title. Dylan Leavitt made the most of his opportunity
and advanced to the semifinal round in both events of Prose and Poetry.
Officially, he finished 10th in the nation in Prose and in 11th place in
Poetry. Anekah Fish advanced to the Octafinal round in Prose, while Mark
Jewison advanced to round 7 in Extemporaneous Debate, a distinction that put
him somewhere in the top 63 for the tournament. Jewison, a sophomore, was
also able to qualify for the Octafinal round of Prepared Prompt speaking.
The Speech team is
jointly coached by Eric Schaefer, Dakota McCoy, Kathy Hadley, Jacob Lukach,
and Karly Carden. The Debate team is coached by Joshua Coots, Tim Young, and
Also qualifying and
competing at the tournament were team members Bella Auricchio
(Lincoln-Douglas debate), Ethan Dibble (Policy debate), Ryan Donovan (Policy
debate), Nicholas Hanson (Extemporaneous speaking), Savannah Hutchinson
(Congressional debate), Alexis Ioannidis (Public Forum debate), Nathan
Mullin (Humorous Interp), Sidney Pittman (Public Forum debate), Ian Quinn
(Informative speaking), Hamza Sahli (Extemporaneous speaking), and Mattea
Sklut (Extemporaneous speaking). The coaching staff was assisted by alumni
who served as judges throughout the week. Alex Bishop, Nick Peterson, Jami
Spiegel, Brad Gluszewski, Tyler Fabbri, Jim Vincent, and Joel Cavallo.
Jim Cavallo named
to National Hall of
It was a special
week for Joel Cavallo, whose father Jim was inducted into the National Hall
of Fame during the tournament. Jim Cavallo coached and taught at Chesterton
High School for over 40 years and still owns the Indiana records for most
team state titles and individual titles in Policy debate.
former CHS coaches Joe Wycoff and Robert Kelly as coaches who have attained
National Hall of Fame membership.