Wellington Debate News 2016-17

NATIONAL SPEECH & DEBATE ASSOCIATION NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: The Florida Oceanfront NSDA District World Schools Debate team of Caramen McDaniel, Brandon Schloss, Christopher Slaughter, and Connor Yeackley, went 4-2 in preliminary rounds and placed 32nd out of 175 WSD teams at the 2017 National Speech & Debate Association national championship tournament (despite essentially having only two weeks of practice sessions, including scrimmages in Coral Springs, Orlando, and Tampa). They lost in double-octafinals on a 2-1 decision to the top-seeded (and eventual runner-up) team from East Texas.
McDaniel was officially recognized as the 5th-best speaker out of more than 900 competitors in WSD. This makes her the highest-finishing Wellington debate student in NSDA history (and she has the trophy to prove it!).
In addition, McDaniel also went 7-2 in Extemporaneous Speaking, finishing tied for 19th overall (out of 915 competitors).


  • Caramen McDaniel is the Florida Oceanfront NSDA District's "Student of the Year."
  • Wellington has seven 1st Alternates to Birmingham. Thinking of changing our name to the #RedDawnBridesmaids.
  • Mason Graham still can't believe he qualified in Humorous Interpretation.
  • His reaction was priceless, and I wish I had it on video.
  • He's not heading to Alabama, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless ...
  • I'm so very proud of my debate team. It's easy to smile and laugh when things go your way, and far more difficult to persevere when they don't. {This goes for students, parents, and - yes - coaches.} And as far as "tournament success, as determined by wins and losses" goes, it was a very difficult weekend. But life happens, and life goes on, and we are already looking at competitive options for the rest of the school year and beyond.
  • I'm so very thankful for amazing coaches in our district, and parents who are supportive. Your energy, professionalism, and involvement (and listening ears) helped immensely during and following the national qualifier tournament. Big props to Traci Lowe, Kristen Taylor, Angie Weber Anyzeski, Daryl Hall, Anna Hutcheson, Leah Carolan, Sue Ann McDaniel, Amy Yeackley, Deena R. McNamara, Kevin McNamara, Sara Altschuler, and so many others, plus (of course) our tournament host, Chris Cartagena (who is no longer on Facebook, but deserves a shout-out!).

    FLORIDA FORENSIC LEAGUE VARSITY STATE CHAMPIONSHIP @ GULF BREEZE: Caramen McDaniel placed 3rd in the supplemental (and inaugural) Big Questions Debate event at the state debate championship tournament in Pensacola. In addition, the Public Forum Debate team of Caramen McDaniel & Connor Yeackley ended preliminary rounds as the Number 3 seed in the tournament, before being upset in octafinals. They were they only team to hand the eventual state champions from Nova a loss the entire weekend.

    FEBRUARY 2017 PBCFL GRAND FINALS NATIONAL QUALIFIER TOURNAMENT @ DREYFOOS SCHOOL OF THE ARTS: Watch out Louisville, the Red Dawn Debaters are coming your way! Nine Wellington Wolverines qualified for the 2017 NCFL Grand National championship tournament, following outstanding performances at the PBCFL Grand Finals tournament at Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Heading to Kentucky this Memorial Day weekend: the PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE teams of Caramen McDaniel & Connor Yeackley, and Brandon Schloss & Matias Galguera; the DUO INTERPRETATION team of Joseph Long & Emma Yeackley; both Scarlet Jasperson and Zachary Jacobson in DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE; and Bennett Aikey in CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE.

    LIBERTY BELL CLASSIC @ UPENN, PHILADELPHIA: Wellington continued its strong historical presence at the UPenn Liberty Bell Classic. Sara Casey placed sixth in Congressional Debate, and both Matias Galguera and Bennett Aikey were recognized as the top presiding officer in their preliminary chambers. And the Public Forum Team of Caramen McDaniel & Julie Cesta advanced to octafinals as the 17th seed, finishing with a 7-2 record overall.

    FLORIDA FORENSIC LEAGUE MACAW REGION STATE QUALIFIER @ PARK VISTA: Heading to Pensacola for the state championship next month: Joseph Long & Emma Yeackley (Duo Interpretation); Scarlet Jasperson (Dramatic Interpretation); Kristina Davis, Amaris Fairchild, David Gold, Dallas Nickels, Taylor Peterson, Emilie Rott, & Gabby Vivas (Group Interpretation); and Caramen McDaniel & Connor Yeackley (Public Forum Debate).

    BARKLEY FORUM @ EMORY UNIVERSITY, ATLANTA AND MAVERICK INVITATIONAL @ ARCHBISHOP McCARTHY: It was a two-for-one Red Dawn Debaters weekend. Caramen McDaniel and Bennett Aikey represented Wellington in Congressional Debate at the 62nd Annual Barkley Forum for High School at Emory University in Atlanta, while Zachary Jacobson places 2nd in Dramatic Interpretation and 6th in Informative Speaking at the Maverick Invitational on the campus of Archbishop McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches.

    JANUARY 2017 PBCFL @ OLYMPIC HEIGHTS: The Red Dawn Debaters ROCKED THE HAUS at Olympic Heights High School Saturday! Caramen McDaniel & Connor Yeackley went 3-1 and placed third overall in Public Forum Debate, despite facing the most difficult schedule of all 30 teams at the tourney (their opponent won-loss record was 12-4). Scarlet Jasperson placed third overall in Dramatic Performance. Taking fourth place in their respective events were Angelica Sabol in Novice Original Oratory and the Duo Interpretation team of Joseph Long & Emma Yeackley. Narrowly missing out on ranking Top 6 was Nicholas Ndreca in Extemporaneous Speaking, who finished seventh. Sabol earned her National Speech & Debate Association Degree of Excellence (150+ honor points).

    SUNVITATIONAL @ UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF NSU: The Public Forum Debate team of Caramen McDaniel & Connor Yeackley advanced to quarterfinals at the 2017 Sunvitational in Ft. Lauderdale. It was their furthest advancement at a national debate tournament, and included taking down the Number 3 seeded team from Bronx Science in double octofinals. In addition, Bennett Aikey earned a gavel as the best presiding officer in his Congressional Debate chamber, and Zachary Jacobson, Emma Yeackley, and Joseph Long earned new National Speech & Debate Association degrees. Jacobson earned his Degree of Superior Distinction, surpassing 750 points, while both Yeackley and Long earned their Degree of Excellence, surpassing the 150-point plateau.

    DECEMBER 2016 PBCFL FUNVITATIONAL @ ROYAL PALM BEACH: Saturday's PBCFL Funvitational at Royal Palm Beach High School had plenty of Wellington fun, several Wellington awards, a few additional Wellington advanced degrees earned, and may have forecast a bold new world for several of the Red Dawn Debaters. In Spontaneous Argumentation, Caramen McDaniel went 4-0 and placed third overall out of nearly 50 competitors. Mason Graham and Matias Galguera went 3-1 each, placing 10th and 11th respectively. Zachary Jacobson took first place in Informative Speaking. And Angelica Sabol placed sixth in her first Lincoln Douglas Debate competition. In Impromptu, Jacob Pincus took eighth place overall, and in Oral Interpretation, Gabrielle Barton finished 10th out of more than 40 competitors. Wellington earned five new National Speech & Debate Association degrees. Christopher Slaughter surpassed the 1,000 honor point mark, earning his Degree of Outstanding Distinction. Rafaela St. Juste passed 150 points, earning the Degree of Excellence. Nicholas Ndreca earned his Degree of Honor, hitting the 75-point plateau. And two first-year debaters, Taylor Cady and Peyton Santiago, each earned their Degree of Merit, and entrance into the largest high school public speaking honor society in the world.

    PATRIOT GAMES INVITATIONAL @ GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY, FAIRFAX: Wellington Debate: it was a job well done at the 13th Patriot Games Invitational at George Mason University!

  • Caramen McDaniel & Connor Yeackley: doubles in Public Forum Debate (top 32 out of 170 teams)
  • Caramen McDaniel: quarters in Extemporaneous Speaking (23rd out of more than 170)
  • Zachary Jacobson: quarters in Informative Speaking (26th out of 63)
  • Matias Galguera: semis in Congressional Debate (top 60 overall out of 175)
    Additionally, three new National Speech & Debate Association degrees: Brandon Schloss (Outstanding Distinction, more than 1,000 honor points on record); Mason Graham (Superior Distinction, 750+); and Dallas Nickels (Distinction, 250+).
    This was our most successful and balanced Patriot Games Invitational performance ever. They represented Wellington proud!

    NOVEMBER 2016 PBCFL @ SEMINOLE RIDGE: Wellington Debate WellingWon a WellingTon of accolades at the November 19, 2016 PBCFL at Seminole Ridge High School.

  • FIRST PLACE: Scarlet Jasperson, Dramatic Performance
  • FIRST PLACE: Zachary Jacobson, Oratorical Declamation
  • FIRST PLACE: Caramen McDaniel & Connor Yeackley, Public Forum Debate
  • FIRST PLACE: Christopher Slaughter, Congressional Debate
  • SECOND PLACE: Joseph Long & Emma Yeackley, Duo Interpretation
  • SECOND PLACE: Jordyn Bergman, Congressional Debate
  • SECOND PLACE: Mason Graham, Congressional Debate
  • SECOND PLACE: Bennett Aikey, Congressional Debate
  • THIRD PLACE: Anna Bernstein, Oratorical Declamation
  • THIRD PLACE: Sara Casey, Congressional Debate
  • THIRD PLACE: Brandon Schloss, Congressional Debate
  • THIRD PLACE: Matias Galguera, Congressional Debate
  • FIFTH PLACE: Taylor Cady, Extemporaneous Speaking
  • FIFTH PLACE: Nailah Williams, Congressional Debate
  • SIXTH PLACE: Emilie Rott, Congressional Debate
  • SIXTH PLACE: Anthony Marton, Congressional Debate
  • CHAMBER'S CHOICE PRESIDING OFFICER: Matias Galguera and Mikayla Joseph
    {Really Cool Note: Of Wellington's 18 Congressional Debate entries, 16 earned an award or at least one judge rank, making this the most dominant legislative day in Wellington Debate history.}
    WELLINGTON EARNED SIX NEW NATIONAL SPEECH & DEBATE ASSOCIATION "DEGREE OF MERIT" MEMBERSHIPS (surpassing the 25-point mark): Jordyn Bergman, Dounia Cambas, Nataly Diaz, Harrison Saines, Nicholas Sanfilippo, and Nicole Traynor. Additionally, Nailah Williams earned her NSDA Degree of Honor (surpassing the 75-point mark).

    NOVEMBER 2016 PBMSL @ THE WEISS SCHOOL: Placing FIFTH in Varsity Congressional Debate at the November PBMSL Debate Tournament at The Weiss School, MiaBeth Gorodetzer!

    CRESTIAN TRADITION @ CYPRESS BAY: The Public Forum Debate team of Caramen McDaniel & Connor Yeackley advanced to octos, and finished 12th overall. Bennett Aikey advanced to semifinals in Congressional Debate.

    TITAN INVITATIONAL @ NOVA HS: Wellington Debate advanced three students - Bennett Aikey, Sara Casey, and Caramen McDaniel - to Congressional Debate semifinals at the 2016 Titan Invitational. The Wolverines also earned three new National Speech & Debate Association degrees: Julie Cesta earned her Degree of Superior Distinction (750+ points), Aikey his Degree of Special Distinction (500+), and Angelica Sabol her Degree of Honor (75+). Sabol became the first novice debater this year to earn her varsity letter, which she will receive at the team's spring banquet.

    FLORIDA BLUE KEY INVITATIONAL @ UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA:The 2016 Florida Blue Key Invitational was a successful venture for Wellington Debate. The Public Forum Debate team of Caramen McDaniel & Connor Yeackley advanced to doubles, finishing as one of the top 32 teams out of nearly 180 competing. Legislators Bennett Aikey, Sara Casey, and Brandon Schloss each advanced to the semifinal round of Congressional Debate. Connor surpassed 1,500 National Speech & Debate Association points, becoming the eight Red Dawn Debater to earn the NSDA Degree of Premier Distinction. Special thanks to our judges - Veneta Gilchrist, Narrelle Gilchrist, Victor Sanchez, and Jess Kane - for all they did over the weekend as well! Coach Gaba is extremely proud of his troops!

    PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE WATCH PARTY @ WELLINGTON HS: Around 75 area residents and students, including Wellington Principal Mario Crocetti and Wellington Councilman John McGovern, were in attendance during the Presidential Debate Watch Party at Wellington High School.

    OCTOBER PBCFL @ PALM BEACH CENTRAL HS: The Wellington Red Dawn Debaters went crosstown and put a smackdown on the competition Saturday! Here's how things went down at the season's second PBCFL tournament at Palm Beach Central High School:

  • CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE: Mason Graham placed second in his Senate; Julie Cesta and Matias Galguera third in their chambers; Dallas Nickels and Nailah Williams each placed fourth; and Bennett Aikey took fifth. Additionally, Cesta and Aikey each earned Chamber's Choice gavels as the top Presiding Officer in their respective chambers. Two additional debaters, Taylor Peterson and Peyton Santiago, each earned at least one judge rank during the legislative day.
  • EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING: Sara Casey took sixth in her first-ever venture into the current topics impromptu event.
  • NOVICE ORAL INTERPRETATION: Wesley Hinds-Francis took fifth in Novice Oral Interpretation. Gabriella Barton just missed out on placing, taking seventh overall.
  • DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE: Zachary Jacobson placed fourth.
  • PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE: The team of Caramen McDaniel and Brandon Schloss went 3-1 and took fourth overall.
    EARNING NATIONAL SPEECH & DEBATE ASSOCIATION DEGREES OR MEMBERSHIP were five Wellington debaters: Sara Casey (750+ NSDA honor points, Degree of Superior Distinction); Matias Galguera (500+ honor points, Degree of Distinction); Mikayla Joseph (75+ honor points, Degree of Honor); and Gabriella Barton and Wesley Hinds-Francis (25+ honor points, Degree of Merit).

    SEPTEMBER PBCFL CONGRESSIONAL @ PALM BEACH GARDENS HS: Wellington Debate was smaller than usual in numbers, but mighty in terms of the success they had at the first PBCFL tournament of its 2016-17 championship season. The PBCFL Congressional at Palm Beach Gardens HS on Saturday, September 24, saw excellent performances in both varsity and novice chambers:

  • FIRST PLACE: Bennett Aikey and Caramen McDaniel
  • SECOND PLACE: Sara Casey
  • THIRD PLACE: Anna Bernstein and Angelica Sabol
  • FOURTH PLACE: Taylor Peterson and Brandon Schloss
  • FIFTH PLACE: Nicholas Ndreca and Nailia Williams
  • SIXTH PLACE: Jordyn Bergman and Dounia Cambas
  • ADDITIONAL STUDENTS EARNING AT LEAST ONE JUDGE RANK: Gabrielle Barton, Nataly Diaz, Mason Graham, Dallas Nickels, Jacob Pincus, and Harrison Saines. In addition, Wellington earned a team (and possibly league) record ELEVEN CHAMBERS CHOICE
  • PRESIDING OFFICERS: Julie Cesta (twice), Nancy Foti (twice), James Haripal, Zachary Jacobson (twice), Dallas Nickels, Christopher Slaughter (twice), and Rafaela St. Juste each took home gavels from the tournament.
    Six Wellington debaters earned new or additional National Speech & Debate Association degrees. Jacobson surpassed 500 points, earning his Degree of Special Distinction; Haripal earned his Degree of Honor, hitting the 75-point mark; and four first-year debaters earned the Degree of Merit (25+ points): Bernstein, Ndreca, Sabol, and Williams.