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Speech and Debate Team Attends Glenbrooks National Tournament

Photo by: The Debate Intensive

Neenah Speech and Debate attended the Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament in Illinois this November. 

The purpose of attending this trip was not to place, but to learn and receive feedback from judges and other competitors Kale Hildebrandt, a junior and member of Neenah Speech and Debate, said. 

Neenah Speech and Debate are already in their 15th week of the season. While attending tournaments within and outside of the state of Wisconsin, the team attended the Glenbrooks Speech and Debate tournament. 

Neenah Speech and Debate was one of the five teams representing Wisconsin on the national level, as well as being the only team that had students compete in all three events – congress, debate and speech.

Additionally, the tournament is one of the nation’s biggest and most competitive tournaments, welcoming teams from California to New York and almost every state in between.

Neenah Speech and Debate has been attending Glenbrooks for over eight years, even before the team committed to traveling regularly for numerous national-level tournaments.  While wanting to place first seems like the goal, every competitor has their intentions on what they want to take away from the tournament. 


In Lincoln Douglas debate, a one-versus-one style of debate, competitors debated the topic, Resolved: The United States ought to prohibit the extraction of fossil fuels from federal public lands.

According to Tabroom, Neenah students placed in the top 160 participants with the highest record of being 3-4 from two students, Caroline Hodges and Drew Benthein.

One Neenah team participated in Public Forum, a two-versus-two style of debate, debating the topic, Resolved: The United States federal government should forgive all federal student loan debt.

The Neenah team, Zoe Callahan and Wendy Ni placed in the top 80 participants with a record of 3-4. 

“National tournaments have the toughest competition; there’s going to be someone there who’s better than you. By going into a round wanting to win instead of dreading to lose, you’ll have a much better time,” Kale Hildebrandt, a Lincoln Douglas debater, said. 

Hildebrandt further mentioned how Glenbrooks helped the Neenah team bond even more. He said that even though they do not spend that much time together throughout the competition, it makes the team dinners and time we do have together that much more special and enjoyable.


In Congressional Debate, an American congress simulated debate, participants debated student-created and led legislation that regarded: public transit, the pink tax, international affairs, the future of space exploration, and more. 

According to Tabroom, Nina Bhattacharjee, a sophomore and member of Neenah Speech and Debate, placed in the top 90 participants for the category.


In Speech, one team consisting of juniors Fiona and Elise Hendrickson participated in the category of Duo Interpretation.

While competing, placing was not the main goal for the duo.

 “I think everyone’s goal was to do well and learn from others. Some of the best speech and debate students compete at the tournament. To see firsthand what they do is nice, so we can bring that back with us and fix some things to make us better”  Fiona Hendrickson said.  

Competitiveness can come to an all-time high at these tournaments, but also being open to feedback and curious about why a team performs a certain way can increase morale and education throughout the activity.

Hendrickson further added how it is intriguing to meet people and listen to their stories. She met people from Ohio, Texas, New York, and other states. Being able to meet new people is an amazing thing to experience because of the style and passion other students bring to the activity. 

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