Neenah Speech and Debate Team Travels to Harvard National Tournament

Neenah Speech and Debate Team Travels to Harvard National Tournament

The Neenah Speech and Debate team traveled to Cambridge, Mass. on Feb. 17 to compete at the 2024 Harvard National Speech and Debate Tournament, taking home successes for NHS.

“I am so proud of our team for showing support for each other and working hard toward one of the largest national tournaments of the year,” Nina Bhattacharjee, competitor for Neenah, said.

Held annually, the Harvard National Tournament attracts thousands of middle and high school students both around the country and the globe. Students compete in over 10 speech and debate categories. 

Neenah brought 14 students competing in four categories: Varsity Lincoln Douglas debate, Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas debate, Junior Varsity Public Forum debate and Congressional Debate. 

Caroline Hodges, sophomore, went to finals and claimed the title of second place in JV Lincoln Douglas, landing in the top one percent in the entire division against 200 other competitors. She took home the traditional bowl-shaped trophy. 

Caroline Hodges takes home second place in JV Lincoln Douglas


Sophomores Meghan McAvoy and Ronak Bhattacharjee had 3-3 and 2-4 records respectively competing at Harvard in JV Lincoln Douglas for the first time. 

Four students competed in Varsity Lincoln Douglas. Juniors Kale Hildebrandt and Drew Benthein ended with 3-3 records each against a pool of over 250 competitors. Aidan Lishner, junior, took home a 2-4 record and Sarah Hoffman, senior, had a 1-5 record. 

In JV Public Forum — a partner style of debate — Zoe Callahan, senior, and Ahtziri Quinones, junior, took home a 2-4 record. Wendy Ni, junior, and Reese Martin, junior, also had a 2-4 record. The Public Forum teams competed against 230 other competitors. 

Neenah had three Congressional debaters at the tournament. Harrison Flint, junior, was 4 points away from breaking into the quarter final rounds in Congress. Sophomores Nina Bhattacharjee and Emma Lund were 4 and 6 points away respectively from quarters. 

On top of competing, students were able to reconnect with friends on the national circuit and explore Harvard campus over the five day trip. 

As for the future, the Neenah Speech and Debate Team hosts four tournaments in March. On March 3, the GBCFL qualifier tournament was held. A congress tournament will be held at Neenah on March 8 and the Neenah Invitational for forensics will be held on March 9. On March 11, Neenah will be hosting the Wisconsin Interscholastic Speech and Dramatic Arts Association (WISDAA) District tournament, which is a qualifying event for the forensics state tournament.

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    Harrison LauerMar 13, 2024 at 2:58 PM

    Great job everyone! so happy NHS made it to Harvard. You guys make me proud to be a rocket.