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The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

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Speech and Debate Advance to Nationals

Robinson sends five qualifiers and one alternate to FGCCFL
Photo Courtesy of Ayan Nallamshetty
Ayan Nallamshetty (’25) and Club Sponsor Melissa Golden posing at National Qualifiers with their awards.

Despite being a new club formed just this year, Robinson Voices proves themselves to be notable by qualifying five members and one alternate. The qualifiers will travel to Chicago, Illinois to attend the Grand National Tournament on Memorial Day hosted by the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL). The annual competition will offer six forensic and four debate events. To qualify for nationals, Robinson competed at the Florida Gulf Coast Catholic Forensics League (FGCCFL) in late February.

Qualifying for Nationals is no easy task, so members gain practice and experience by attending several tournaments throughout the school year. Before these tournaments, the debaters prepared in many ways.

Many people think that you can just sign up for extemporaneous speaking and compete right away. In reality, it takes a lot of practice and experience,” said President and Founder Ayan Nallamshetty (’25). “I’ve had to do many practice rounds, watch videos from national winners and research online on formatting an extemporaneous speech.”

On club days, the members split up and work on various skills based on their event. Melissa Golden, who teaches Chemistry for IB and traditional, is the club’s sponsor and coach. Since this year is Golden’s first year as a Speech and Debate coach, she has brought in an experienced debater to help.

Coach Hunter, a previous speech and debate competitor and an extremely kind and helpful adviser, has helped me learn what I need to improve,” Nallamshetty said. 

Nallamshetty qualified for one of the several competitions offered at Nationals: Extemporaneous Speaking. The event requires the competitor to perform a speech on a current event with limited time to prepare. This type of event focuses on the debater’s flexible persuasiveness to the judges. While researching for this event can be hard to prepare for, others choose events that take months to perfect.

Bella Musolino (’26) and Reid Taggart (’26) chose policy debate, a duo event requiring the preparation of evidence and structure. The duo has previously won three novice competitions before qualifying for nationals.

“We chose it so we could be a team and we got together at the beginning of the year to work on our affirmative and negative arguments, but we’ve changed them a lot since then,” Taggart (’26) said.

With their hard work, Speech and Debate continues to represent Robinson proudly.

“Now we get to go to Chicago in May for the NCFL nationals which will be very challenging and competitive but I’m looking forward to it,” Taggart said. 

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About the Contributor
Sophie Le
Sophie Le, Staff Writer
Sophie Le is a sophomore at Robinson, and a Staff Writer for Knight Writers. This is her first year on staff. Le joined journalism because she wanted to gain more writing experience. "I wanted to practice writing more, and I feel like this is a great opportunity to practice every week and write stories about things I like,” she said. Her goals for this year include many things involving social media and photography. "I wanted to practice writing and explore other areas of journalism." Le said. When not in class, Le is the Vice President of Congre, Social Media Manager of Knightmare and the secretary of Book Club. She chose these clubs because she wanted to be an active part of the school through the things she enjoys. "I chose French when I went to IB, book club because I love to read, I love seeing different genres and different books, and then Knightmare because I love school spirit and going to football games,” she said. Outside of school, Le's favorite extracurriculars are playing tennis, either on Robinson's varsity girl's team or on her club team, helping sew at her grandmother's alteration shop, along with shopping and thrifting. These help her calm down when stressed with her busy schedule, she explains how she enjoys making outfits. "I love shopping and thrifting, because it's my favorite hobby. It's so fun, I love putting together outfits." Le said. Le says she would like to continue in journalism throughout high school, with hopes of writing about current fashion. "I would love to write about fashion; I think definitely in the future that could be an interest." Le said. (Profile by Ryan Rolle)
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