02/24/11 Sixteen year-old Plymouth High School sophomore Michaila Nate became the first national qualifier of the Plymouth Speech and Debate Team this season by finishing in second place in the District Congress Tournament. Only the top two speakers from the Senate advance to the National Forensic League Tournament to be held in Dallas, Texas from June 13-18 this summer.
Although Nate has been competing all season in United States Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu, she competed in the Congress tournament to help her team. Head Coach David McKenzie was not surprised by Nate’s win, but knew she would be facing some stiff competition. McKenzie said, “Even more gratifying for Michaila was the fact that the only individual to defeat her was Florence Chen from Penn High School. Last year, Chen finished sixth in the nation and was an automatic qualifier to this year’s tournament by virtue of her performance last season.”
Nate said, “What I like most about being on the Plymouth Speech and Debate team is the sense of family among the team.” She believes her experience in Congress will be helpful in the future. She said, “It has taught me to think quickly on my feet so I can speak to anyone.” “Congress makes you think and research which are valuable skills for life.” Nate said. She added, after I research the topics, I then have a sense of what applies to the world today.”
Nate will be competing in the district qualifying tournament in International Extemporaneous in early March.
Also finishing strong at the District level were Rebecca Brumbaugh and Kelsey Shaffer. Brumbaugh finished in second place in House Chamber A and is the alternate to the national tournament. Only one competitor from each house advances. Shaffer finished fourth place in House Chamber B. Both Brumbaugh and Shaffer were voted the most outstanding presiding officers by their peers in their chambers.
Carol Anders Correspondent