Whitmer Speech and Debate Team Wows at National Tournament

By Jordyn Taylor
The Truth Reporter

For most Americans, speaking in public is their biggest fear– even greater than death. For a group of students at Whitmer High School, it’s their greatest enjoyment.

Over the Labor Day weekend, the Whitmer Speech and Debate Team returned to the National Catholic Forensics League (NCFL) National Tournament, qualifying five students to the tournament and bringing home several awards. Coached by Marie Wetzel and Bill Prater of Whitmer High School, the group of talented students included current sophomores Olivia Declerq and Stephen Grant, junior, Ava Navarez, and graduating senior, Olivia Wetzel.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, this year’s tournament took place in Washington, D.C., accommodating over 1,100 competitors in the heart of our country. Round after round, the team debated other schools from across the country and told stories of hope and humor to new audiences. The student’s performance at the tournament did not disappoint, adding to their reputation as a phenomenal team.

Top honors included:

  • Semi-Finalist in Lincoln-Douglas Debate – Olivia Declerq, sophomore
  • Quarterfinalist in Extemporaneous Speaking – Stephen Grant, sophomore
  • Semi-Finalist in Original Oratory – Olivia Wetzel, graduating senior

The work is not over yet for the team as their sights focus on the 2022 National Speech and Debate Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky this month.