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Southlake Style

Junior Debate Team Earns National Recognition

Jul 22, 2013 03:38PM ● By tina

Congratulations to the Southlake Junior Debate Club on its recent National Speech & Debate Tournament.

Southlake Junior Debate Club Competes at National Speech & Debate Tournament

Submitted by Ellena Prokopeas

From June 19-21, the Southlake Junior Debate Club competed at the 2013 National Junior Forensics League’s National Speech & Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. Attending the tournament were close to 700 students from 93 schools spanning 27 states, more than 1126 entries across 14 speech and debate events. This is the largest, most recognized tournament of the year and the first time a team from Carroll ISD middle schools attended. 12 students represented Southlake in the competition, and experienced unprecedented success. 

2013 National Southlake Junior Debate Club Team (12 students)

The two year old middle school debate club sent the following members to competition: Emma Lin, Sam Bonham, Jacqueline Prokopeas, Sunny Daggubati, Adhi Subramanian, Collete Chang, Priyanka Reddy, Alex Federick, Kunal Rai, Akash Hemanth, Samuel Ortiz and Ronak Pabley.

Public Forum Debate

Topic: The benefits of American drone strikes against foreign targets outweigh the harms. (Out of 94 teams, SJDC earned 2nd and 12th place.)

94 teams attended to compete in public forum this year. In public forum debate, two partners form a team and SJDC entered six teams. The teams of Emma Lin/Sam Bonham and Jacqueline Prokopeas/Sunny Daggubati both made it to the Octafinals with a score of 4-1. Emma Lin/Sam Bonham moved to the finals round and took 2nd place to become Runner-up National Public Forum Debate Champions — this is Southlake's Junior Debate Club first NJFL 2nd place national championship in public forum debate.

Congressional Debate (Out of 89 students, SJDC earned 5th and 11th place.)

Each student is put in a particular congressional chamber and assigned a docket. Students research legislation assigned to their specific docket and present a bill to Congress. SJDC entered six students in Congress, and five made it to the finals round: Emma Lin, Kunal Rai, Jacqueline Prokopeas, Sam Bonham and Samuel Ortiz. Emma Lin moved on to take 5th place in Congress. 

Extemporaneous Speaking (Out of 78 students, SJDC made it to semifinals and the top 12.)

The student-speaker chooses one question out of three offered and then has 30 minutes to prepare a seven-minute persuasive or informative speech on the chosen topic, which is usually about current events or politics. SJDC entered six students, and four made it to the quarterfinals:  Sunny Daggubati, Akash Hemanth, Adhi Subramanian and Priyanka Reddy. Akash Hemanth moved on to semifinals and earned 12th place.

National School of Debate Excellence

As a result of the collective success of the team, the Southlake Junior Debate Club was named to the top 5 National School of Debate Excellence for 2013. It is highly prestigious, and winning it makes this program one of the most competitive teams in the nation. It is also worth noting that SJDC was the only school recognized as a National school of Debate Excellence in Texas other than HuaXia Chinese School, who also received this award. SJDC beat schools who regularly make the list and have a large middle school debate program.  This is significant due to the fact SJDC is an after school club meeting only two hours per week.

Students interested in joining the debate club this fall can contact Ellena Prokopease at or 817-902-3804.  Registration is open for incoming seventh and eighth grade students of Carroll ISD.  The mission of the Southlake Junior Debate Club is to develop solid debaters who will move onto the high school debate team.  Proud of its recent Top 5 designation, the club hopes to expand its membership and improve its skills.