Student Recognition

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!

All Americans

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.

2018 Recipients

Big Valley (CA) • Grace Quinn • Delta Charter HS

San Fran Bay (CA) Kelly Zheng Miramonte HS

West Los Angeles (CA) • Ella Michaels • North Hollywood HS

Colorado • Jade Felthoven • Eaglecrest HS

Rocky Mountain-North (CO) • Rachel Desmond • Longmont HS

Rocky Mountain-South (CO) • Colter Giem • Mountain Vista HS

Western Slope (CO) • Spencer Hurt • Central of Grand Junction HS

Florida Oceanfront • Alexander Gordon • Dreyfoos School of the Arts

Georgia Northern Mountain • Robert Weimar • Henry W. Grady HS

Georgia Southern Peach • Patrick Childress • Valdosta HS

Hawaii • Courtnee Elento • Damien Memorial School

Idaho Mountain River • Jethro Jacob Smith • Highland HS

Greater Illinois • Emma Noraian • University HS

Northern Illinois • Molly McDermott • Prospect HS

Hoosier Heartland (IN) • Thomas Smith • West Lafayette HS

Northeast Indiana • Collin Cahill • Bishop Dwenger HS

East Iowa • Lilli Ambort • Bettendorf HS

West Iowa • JJ Kapur • Valley HS

East Kansas • Austin Shively • Olathe Northwest HS

South Kansas • Darby Toth • Fort Scott HS

Sunflower (KS) • Taylor Nickel • Derby HS

West Kansas • Hayley Tice • Maize HS

Kentucky • Elena Cecil • LaRue County HS

Louisiana • Paige Allbright • Comeaux HS

Maine • Jessica Walker • Orono HS

New England (MA & NH) • Chelsea Sheldon • Bancroft School

Central Minnesota • Noah Schraut • Stillwater Area HS

Northern Lights (MN) • Izzy Larson • Moorhead HS

Southern Minnesota • Tram Nguyen • Eagan HS

Magnolia (MS) • Madison Alliston • Sacred Heart Catholic School

Eastern Missouri • Jacob Blair • Clayton HS

Ozark (MO) • Isabel Lai • Central HS

Show Me (MO) • Jillian Jetmore • The Pembroke Hill School

Montana • Christopher Malcomson • Sentinel HS

Nebraska • Daniel Fu • Millard North HS

Nebraska South • Keith Tran • Lincoln HS

Golden Desert (NV) • Manushri Desai • Clark HS

Sagebrush (NV) • Lea Gifford • Douglas HS

New Jersey • Evan Tong • Livingston HS

New Mexico • Gina Sanchez • East Mountain HS

Iroquois (NY) • George Rogalskyj McQuaid • Jesuit HS

Carolina West (NC) • Aniketh Dumpala • Providence HS

Tarheel East (NC) • Thomas Owens • Durham Academy

North Dakota Roughrider • Isaac Spanjer • Fargo North HS

North Coast (OH) • Isaiah Paik • University School

Northern Ohio • Lennon Rader • Niles McKinley HS

Western Ohio • Seth Ramm • Whitmer HS

East Oklahoma • Jamie Marrara • Oologah HS

West Oklahoma • Alexa Glendinning • Edmond North HS

North Oregon • Hope Smothers • McMInnville HS

South Oregon • Lucy Roberts • Grants Pass HS

Pittsburgh (PA) • Kathryn Dickey • Our Lady of the Sacred Heart HS

Valley Forge (PA) • Julia Kreutzer • Gwynedd Mercy Academy

South Carolina • Julia Murray • Riverside HS

Hole in the Wall (SD & WY) • Griffin Smith • Spearfish HS

Northern South Dakota • Margaret Fouberg • Aberdeen Central HS

Rushmore (SD) • Leah Waid • Yankton HS

Tennessee • Anna Kutbay • Morristown West HS

Central Texas • James Kosub • La Vernia HS

East Texas • Nate Galang • Klein HS

Gulf Coast (TX) • Hannah Nunley • El Campo HS

Heart of Texas • Cameron Eagle • Chaparral Star Academy

LBJ (TX) • Clay Parker • Lovejoy HS

Lone Star (TX) • Claire Perkins • Byron Nelson HS

North Texas Longhorns • Shreyoshi Das • Flower Mound HS

Space City (TX) • Jun-Yong Kim • Seven Lakes HS

Tall Cotton (TX) • Alfredo Antu • Central HS

UIL (TX) • Noemi Rivera • Royse City HS

West Texas • Carlos Chacon • Americas HS

Yellow Rose (TX) • Blaise Mosmeyer • Holy Trinity Catholic HS

Virginia • Jeremiah Foltz • John Handley HS

Inland Empire (WA) • Malene Garcia • Chiawana HS

Western Washington • Kayla Garcia • Gig Harbor HS

Northern Wisconsin • Tiffany Polzin • Denmark HS

Southern Wisconsin • Erin Swope • Milton HS

Wind River (WY) • Aaron Trauner • Jackson Hole 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 »

Ricardo Flores

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 »

Previous Recipients

Find out Where Are They Now? in this article from the 2017 November/December issue of Rostrum magazine.

Elena Cecil

2018 – Elena Cecil
Larue County HS, KY

Ricardo Flores

2017 – Ricardo Flores
Americas HS, TX

Marshall Webb

2016 – Marshall Webb
Saint Mary’s Hall HS, TX

Jarrius Adams

2015 – Jarrius Adams
Hattiesburg HS, MS

Walter Paul

2014 – Walter Paul
Creighton Preparatory, NE

Robert Shaw

2013 – Robert Shaw
Glenbrook South HS, IL

Quinlan Cao

2012 – Quinlan Cao
East Mountain HS, NM

Taylor Walker

2011 – Taylor Walker
Henry W. Grady HS, GA

Cory Williams

2010 – Cory Williams
Hattiesburg HS, MS

Danielle Camous

2009 – Danielle Camous
St. Mary’s HS, CO

Kyle Akerman

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.

Read the nominating essay »

Madeline Gochee

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.

Please visit our online store to place an order for Association honor cords, or a letter to principals in support of Association honor cords from Executive Director J. Scott Wunn.

Looking for more recognition?

FAMILY NEWSLETTER: Stay on top of special opportunities and information and sign up for this newsletter! Once a month, we’ll send you access to free judge training materials, ways to be a great speech and debate volunteer and team booster, information on student opportunities like scholarships, awards, and free competition resources, and special ways to show your speech and debate pride.

The NSDA office will be closed 4/19/19. Shipping will resume Monday 4/22/19. Dismiss

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