PCDS Speech & Debate teams earn national titles

PCDS Upper School Speech & Debate Team competed and won at nationals. (Submitted photo)

PCDS Upper School Speech & Debate Team competed and won at nationals. (Submitted photo)

The Phoenix Country Day School Middle and Upper School Speech and Debate teams traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to compete in the National Championships of the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Forensic League, where they brought home individual and team titles.

The Upper School team featured three national finalists—Jason Greenfield (senior, attending Amherst College this fall); Jillian Gilburne (senior, attending Northwestern University this fall); and Olivia Najafi (sophomore) at the tournament.

“When I officially took over this program two years ago, we had lofty goals,” stated Upper School Speech and Debate coach Nick Klemp, in a press release. “But, to be perfectly honest, they were goals that we had set for the distant future—five or 10 year plans. But something magical happened: these students bought into our plan immediately, they worked harder than we asked them to, and everyone loved the work we were putting into the world.”

And, the future looks even brighter. Traveling with the Upper School team was 18 members of the PCDS Middle School Speech & Debate team who also qualified to compete at Nationals, the release stated.

These middle school students were coached by Ryan Joyce, and supported through the mentorship of the PCDS Upper School Speech and Debate team members and coaches.

PCDS Speech & Debate Team wins national championship. (Submitted photo)

PCDS Speech & Debate Team wins national championship. (Submitted photo)

In the tournament competition, the PCDS Middle School Speech and Debate team competed against over 1,200 competitors from nearly 200 middle schools from around the country, the PCDS Middle School Speech and Debate team finished as Team National Champion. Bolstered by individual National Champions eighth graders Bennett Montrose and Olivia Boscardin and multiple individual national runners-up and top-twelve finishers in their respective categories, the PCDS Middle School team was exceptional.

“We operate on a team motto—Synergy, Family, Excelsiorsaid over and over again by the kids, and it was through this mantra where great growth, friendships and talents were all fostered and shown,” stated Coach Joyce in the release.

Phoenix Country Day School is proud to have such a strong program in Speech and Debate, available to all of its students in grades five through high school, as well as intelligent, dedicated, and supportive students and coaches to foster this national achievement.

Since 1961, Phoenix Country Day School has been the Valley’s only private, independent pre-k through Grade 12 school. Located on 40-acres in Paradise Valley with a total student enrollment of approximately 750 students, PCDS prides itself on its high academics in small classes led by exceptional teachers.

Beyond academics, its students excel in the arts and athletics, as well as an array of extra-curricular activities such as Speech and Debate, the release stated.

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