Student members of the National Speech & Debate Association compete throughout the school year, but tournament wins and Honor Society points are just part of the recognition received from our organization!
Each year, the top student point earners in the country are named All Americans. The All American award is based on a combination of competitive and service points, of which no more than 25% of the point total can include service. In order to qualify, a student must have competed once at Nationals. Following the National Speech & Debate Tournament, the 25 students with the highest total points in our Honor Society receive this recognition. No application is required to receive this award.
Congratulations to Jacob Thompson from Des Moines Roosevelt High School in Iowa for being named the top point earner in 2016-2017!
Academic All Americans
The Academic All American award recognizes high school students who have earned the degree of Superior Distinction (750 points); completed at least 5 semesters of high school; demonstrated outstanding character and leadership; and earned a GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent). NOTE: If the GPA is between 3.5 and 3.7 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent), students also must have received an ACT score of 27 or higher, or a New SAT score of 1300 or higher.
If a student is eligible, coaches will see a yellow box with “AAA?” under the Awards column on their Student Roster.
District Student of the Year
The District Student of the Year award is presented to a graduating senior in each district who best represents the tenets of the Association’s Code of Honor: integrity, respect, humility, leadership, and service. Nominees must also demonstrate strong academic credentials and a commitment to the speech and debate community. Each year, six students who win the district award are selected as finalists for the William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year award.
Deep South (AL) • James Torbert • The Montgomery Academy
Arizona • Alison Cohen • Chandler Preparatory Academy
Arkansas • Alex Martin • Episcopal Collegiate School
Big Valley (CA) • Trinity Bergen • Delta Charter HS
San Fran Bay (CA) • Evelyn Kuo • James Logan HS
Colorado • Esther Varghese • Eaglecrest HS
Colorado Grande • Caelen Burand • Centennial HS
Rocky Mountain – South (CO) • Jacob Stock • Lakewood HS
Western Slope (CO) • Michael Wilson • Fruita Monument HS
Florida Oceanfront • Michael Bole • Dreyfoos School Of The Arts
Florida South • Oliver Stern • Ransom Everglades School
Georgia Southern Peach • Mariah Cady • Columbus HS
Hawaii • Jasci-Ann Fikany • Aiea HS
Idaho Gem of the Mountain • Preston Marispini • Renaissance HS
Idaho Mountain River • Alyson Corgatelli • Rigby HS
Greater Illinois • James Han • University HS
Hoosier Heartland (IN) • Josiah Richey • Logansport HS
Northeast Indiana (IN) • Grace Bechdol • Canterbury HS
East Iowa • Emily Robinson • John F. Kennedy HS
East Kansas • Nicholas Wallenburg • Shawnee Mission West HS
Sunflower (KS) • Samuel Harder • Maize South HS
Three Trails (KS) • Mickey McMahon • Blue Valley North HS
Louisiana • Blake Ziegler • Holy Cross School
Maine • Caitlyn Bull • Falmouth HS
Chesapeake (MD) • Amaris Hester • Marriotts Ridge HS
New England (MA & NH) • Paulina Hruskoci • Shrewsbury HS
Central Minnesota • Ethan Mirman • Minnetonka HS
Southern Minnesota • Michelle Quan • Rosemount Sr. HS
Magnolia (MS) • Austin Brown • Ridgeland HS
Eastern Missouri • William Polster • Pattonville HS
Show Me (MO) • Jacob Gose • Rockhurst HS
Montana • Michael McKay • Corvallis HS
Nebraska • Joanna Bai • Millard West HS
Nebraska South • Kate Millington • Norris Public Schools
Golden Desert (NV) • Sophie Mallas • Palo Verde HS
Sagebrush (NV) • Vanessa Ribeiro • Spanish Springs HS
New Jersey • Christopher Maximos • Delbarton School
New Mexico • Adelyn Moore • La Cueva HS
New York City • Esmeralda Reyes • Achievement First Brooklyn HS
Carolina West (NC) • Gayatri Chopra • Providence HS
Tarheel East (NC) • Deandra Simpson • Cumberland Int’l Early College HS
North Dakota Roughrider • Juliet Geffre • Fargo Shanley HS
North Coast (OH) • Julia Lynn • Laurel School
Northern Ohio • Evan Gallo • Columbiana HS
East Oklahoma • Jalen Davis • Tulsa School Arts & Sciences
West Oklahoma • Christine Nguyen • Edmond Santa Fe HS
North Oregon • Katie Card • Gresham-Barlow HS
South Oregon • Cristien Hernandez • South Medford HS
Pennsylvania • Bree Gray • Trinity HS
Valley Forge (PA) • Lena Lofgren • Strath Haven HS
South Carolina • Ian Chiu • Riverside HS
Rushmore (SD) • Seamus Duffy • O’Gorman HS
Tennessee • Pedro Reyes • Morristown West HS
Central Texas • Saskia Reford • Saint Mary’s Hall HS
East Texas • Hanaa Irfan • Klein HS
Gulf Coast (TX) • John Duncan • Harlingen HS South
Heart of Texas • Rene Otero • Hendrickson HS
Lone Star (TX) • Jacqueline Wei • Plano West Sr. HS
North Texas Longhorns • Jada Bourne • Keller HS
Space City (TX) • Hunter Brown • Spring Woods HS
Tall Cotton (TX) • Trent Collins • Borden County HS
UIL (TX) • Ashlyn Ellgass • Lindale HS
West Texas • Michelle Guevara • Ysleta HS
Yellow Rose (TX) • Christopher Malhas • Princeton HS
Virginia • Suditi Shyamsunder • John Handley HS
Western Washington • Joseph Ribera • Tahoma Senior HS
Northern Wisconsin • Jackson Kloes • Étude HS
Wind River (WY) • Taliah Blom • Natrona County HS
William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year
The 2018 William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year is Elena Cecil from Larue County High School in Kentucky. Elena was selected by a panel of coaches for her character, passion, and dedication to serving her community.
IN THEIR WORDS | “Speech and debate is not about the trophies. I was not the most successful. I never won first place at any tournament in my entire career. Not once. That wasn’t what mattered to me. It was about the people you meet and the way speech helps kids change. Everyone says speech and debate is like a big family, and for me it’s also really my family, but I think that’s true. You find your people. You meet people from all different backgrounds with all different perspectives and that opens a whole new world of learning. I know that there isn’t a single activity out there that has ever made me feel as at home as speech did. I’ve tried it all and been involved in a lot and there wasn’t anything out there that does what speech does for kids, that makes them feel as important, or as wanted, or as heard as speech does. I have seen speech and debate change lives. Witnessing that all my life is a privilege I’ve been lucky to have.” Read more about Elena »
About the Award
This annual award recognizes one individual out of more than 150,000 student members who best embodies the organization’s Code of Honor: integrity, humility, respect, leadership, and service. Nominees must also demonstrate strong academic credentials and a commitment to the speech and debate community. Six finalists interview with an esteemed panel of educators during the National Speech & Debate Tournament, and the National Student of the Year is announced during the National Awards Assembly. Watch the video »
Find out Where Are They Now? in this article from the 2017 November/December issue of Rostrum magazine.
2018 – Elena Cecil
Larue County HS, KY
2017 – Ricardo Flores
Americas HS, TX
2016 – Marshall Webb
Saint Mary’s Hall HS, TX
2015 – Jarrius Adams
Hattiesburg HS, MS
2014 – Walter Paul
Creighton Preparatory, NE
2013 – Robert Shaw
Glenbrook South HS, IL
2012 – Quinlan Cao
East Mountain HS, NM
2011 – Taylor Walker
Henry W. Grady HS, GA
2010 – Cory Williams
Hattiesburg HS, MS
2009 – Danielle Camous
St. Mary’s HS, CO
2008 – Kyle Akerman
Downers Grove South HS, IL
National Exemplary Student Service Award
The 2019 National Exemplary Student Service Award recipient is Madeline Gochee from Lincoln High School in Oregon. Madeline was selected for helping to organize a student-wide walkout for gun reform at her school and for her service with Mission: Citizen and the Teen Council of Planned Parenthood.
About the Award
Introduced in 2017, the National Exemplary Student Service Award is given annually to a student who serves their school, community, city, region, or state using skills they honed through speech and debate. Coaches or administrators may nominate a student who upholds the highest standard of service, one of the core tenets of the Association’s Code of Honor, for recognition. As opposed to the William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year Award, current member students of any age are eligible for nomination.
Nominations for the current school year were accepted from coaches or administrators through February 7, 2019. The nomination form will reopen in January 2020 for the following school year.
Learn more about service and service points in this guide.
Graduation Honor Cords
The National Speech & Debate Association is proud to offer honor cords for its members to wear during high school graduation ceremonies. Honor cords recognize member accomplishments and affirm their commitment to speech and debate education.
Looking for more recognition?
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