2012 Florida Forensic League Novice State:
Freshman Michael Leatherman placed fifth overall in Lincoln Douglas Debate at the 2012 Florida Forensic League Novice State Championship Tournament in North Miami, April 20-21. Leatherman went 4-1 in preliminary rounds, then won his octofinal match on a 3-0 decision before a Cypress Bay student defeated him 2-1 in quarterfinal action. In addition, freshman Kwadjo Walker earned a gavel through presiding over a preliminary Congressional Debate chamber.
2012 PBCFL Grand Finals:
Wellington will be represented by five debaters at the 2012 NCFL National Championship in Baltimore, Maryland over Memorial Day Weekend 2012. Kudos to Stephie Maravankin, who placed 2nd overall in Student Congress; Michael Leatherman, who finished 2nd overall in Lincoln Douglas Debate; Mike Reynolds, who placed 4th in Dramatic Performance; and the team of Sina Booeshaghi & Sabrina Abesamis, which placed fifth in Public Forum Debate. Additionally, Nick Thibault is 1st Alternate in Dramatic Performance, and Kwadjo Walker advanced to the Student Congress Finals. Also, Abesamis earned her NFL Degree of Distinction by surpassing the 250-point mark. Special thanks to our judges – Eric Wilkinson, Michael Leatherman, Vince Faraone, Sharon Mullen, and Amy Thibault – for their involvement; to Ryan Kennedy, for being on-site to help work with the novice Lincoln Douglas debaters; and to Fawn Tenenbaum, for hosting an amazing tournament!
2011-12 FFL State Championship:
Wellington’s presence was small but mighty at the Florida Forensic League state debate championship tournament at University School, Ft. Lauderdale, March 3-4. Stephie Maravankin placed ninth in her Congressional Debate chamber – a chamber so deep it resembled a national championship semifinal round, according to multiple coaches. She also earned her National Forensic League Degree of Special Distinction, surpassing the 500-point mark. Mike Reynolds narrowly missed advancing, closing out his final round with what he described as his best performance of the year (and placing first in the round as well). Mike Leatherman barely missed breaking to advanced rounds as well, falling to one of the eventual state co-champions in his bubble round. He earned his NFL Degree of Distinction, eclipsing the 250-point mark. And Coach Paul Gaba was announced as 2011-12 Florida Forensic League State Coach of the Year by his peers.
Here is the speech given by FFL Vice President/Operations Dario Camara:
Paul Gaba: “The Force is strong with this.”
When I came to Palm Beach in 2008, I noticed Paul as the person who was truly taking steps to make every event fair and competitive. His energy and ambition to ensure the quality of education we expect from speech and debate is amazing. As a national, state and regional champion coach Paul continues to impress us with his ability to coach his own team while transforming the face of Palm Beach. Paul runs all local Palm Beach tournaments with great efficiency, encouraging participation by everyone and ensuring everyone has a fair round. In a RAV 4 which has over 250,000 miles, Paul will be the first one at a tournament and the last one to leave the tournament. Paul struggles with trying to create a process by holding countless fundraisers to assist his team and others with tournament costs. In a world where school districts feel speech and debate is no longer important, Paul uses his personal time to recruit middle school students for the debate program, and it doesn’t matter which school they attend, as long as they participate. With suspenders on, Mr. Gaba is a friendly, approachable coach that will sit with other teams and speak to them about improving their skills. He is unbelievably honest! As the Vice President/Webmaster of the Florida Forensic League, he keeps us all together, connected and vital. Ask Mr. Gaba a question, he will have an answer, and he will impress you. His message to all the competitors today would be, ‘May The Force be with you.’ If everyone was a little more like Paul, the world would be a better place.”
Yeah, it was a good weekend.
Liberty Bell Classic @ UPenn:
Big props to Wellington Debate for an amazing weekend at the UPenn Liberty Bell Classic Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19! Yourui Ruan went 7-2 and took first place in Novice Lincoln Debate, defeating his opponent from Lexington on a 3-0 ballot in the final round. Michael Leatherman went 5-0 in preliminary rounds of Novice LD before being knocked out in octofinals. Congressional Debate saw Kwadjo Walker advance to the Super Congress final round, ending as one of the top 15 legislators at the tournament. The Public Forum Debate team of Richard Odle & Scott Meskin broke to double-octofinals as one of the top 32 teams (out of 104). Strong showings from the PFD team of Alexa Fortuna & Sydney Rogalsky, as well as Humorous Interper/Oral interper Michael Reynolds, also made it an amazing weekend. Two new NFL degrees were earned – both Ruan and Meskin surpassed the 250-point mark, earning the Degree of Distinction. Special thanks to Fawn Tenenbaum and WHS debate alumni Charlie Burke, who judged and chaperoned the tourney for Wellington.
PBCFL @ Boca Raton:
Big props to the members of Wellington Debate for a job well done at the Saturday, February 11 PBCFL at Boca Raton. STUDENT CONGRESS: two first-place finishes (Stephie Maravankin & Juliana Diatezua), two fourth-place finishes (Ross Lustgarten & Greg Foster). PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE: second place (Alexa Fortuna & Sydney Rogalsky, 4-0); plus, the team of Shivan Kanagaraja & Rachel Ganon went 3-1 and finished 12th of 41 teams. LINCOLN DOUGLAS DEBATE: second place (Michael Leatherman, 4-0), fourth place (Juan Arango, 3-1), ninth place (Ryan Kennedy, 3-1). In Dramatic Performance, Nick Thibault was 8th and Mike Reynolds 10th. TWO NEW NFL DEGREES: Matt Faraone (Degree of Honor, 75+ points), Gabriel Sanchez (Degree of Merit, 25+ points). NEXT UP: UPenn!
FFL Macaw Region State Qualifier:
Wellington Debate struck again, this time at the FFL Macaw Region state championship qualifier tournament Saturday, February 4, at Seminole Ridge HS! Three Wolverines will represent Wellington at the University School-hosted 2012 FFL State Championship in Ft. Lauderdale March 3-4 – Mike Reynolds in Humorous Interpretation, Michael Leatherman in Lincoln Douglas Debate, and Stephie Maravankin in Student Congress. Wellington also has first alternates in Public Forum Debate (Alexa Fortuna & Sydney Rogalsky). And Coach Paul L. Gaba was honored as the Macaw Region “Coach of the Year.” Wellington earned four more National Forensic League degrees: Rogalsky earned her Degree of Distinction (250 points), while Juan Arango, Greg Foster and Logan Weber each earned the Degree of Excellence (150 points). Next up: the PBCFL with Black History Month interp events at Boca Raton HS on Saturday, February 11.
NFL Panther District National Qualifier:
Congratulations to Wellington’s Policy Debate Team of Richard Odle & Yourui Ruan, who advanced to the 2012 NFL National Debate Championship in Indianapolis, and to Michael Leatherman, second alternate in Lincoln Douglas Debate! The policy team placed in the top three of their event at the NFL Panther District National Qualifier Tournament, held on the campus of Legacy HS in Ocoee, January 20-21, while Leatherman placed fifth overall in LD. Along with the Wellington team, debaters from five other Palm Beach schools advanced to the national championships – Jupiter, Suncoast, Royal Palm Beach, Atlantic, and American Heritage Boca/Delray.
January PBCFL @ Wellington:
Wellington hosted its second debate tournament of the 2011-12 season on January 14, and scored several impressive honors in the process. Mike Reynolds took first place overall in Dramatic Performance. The Public Forum Debate team of Sabrina Abesamis & Madison Dalton went 3-1 and placed 4th; the PFD team of Kevin Murphy & Alexa Fortuna also went 3-1. Yourui Ruan went 3-1 in Lincoln Douglas Debate and placed 5th. Wellington debaters earned four additional National Forensic League degrees, bringing its total to 45 for the year and 198 overall; earning new degrees were Fortuna (Special Distinction, surpassing 500 points), Michael Leatherman (Excellence, 150+ points), Josh Harmon (Honor, 75+ points), and Issahy Cano Olivas (Merit, 25+ points).
Additionally, Coach Gaba thanks the parents and volunteer students who labored in the cafeteria and media center judge lounge for nearly 13 hours setting up, running lunch and the concession stand, and positively representing the program for nearly 400 competitors and adult judges and coaches from Palm Beach and Martin counties.
Fun at the Sunvitational:
Wellington Debate had some serious fun at the 2012 Sunvitational in Ft. Lauderdale last weekend. All three Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate students earned accolades: Mike Leatherman advanced to semifinals, placing 3rd overall, and was 7th-best speaker; Logan Weber broke to quarters, where he “lost” to Leatherman on coach Paul Gaba’s first-ever debate coach-over, but was the tourney’s top speaker in NLD; and Leila Booeshaghi was the event’s 6th-best speaker, becoming only the third Wellington debater since Gaba became coach in 2002 to score a “best speaker” recognition with a losing record. (FYI, this is an extremely rare accomplishment in all of debate.) The Public Forum Debate team of Richard Odle and Sabrina Abesamis broke to double octofinals before dropping. Four new National Forensic League advanced degrees were earned: Odle (Special Distinction, 500+ NFL points), Abesamis (Excellence, 150+), Ali Sina Booeshaghi (Excellence), and Leila Booeshaghi (Honor, 75+, Varsity Letter!).
December PBCFL Funvitational @ West Boca Raton:
Wellington Debate kicked butt and took names at the 2011 PBCFL Funvitational at West Boca Raton HS. Sina Booeshaghi & Yourui Ruan went 4-0 and took first place in Public Forum Debate! Juan Arango and Victoria Perih each placed fourth in their Student Congress chambers! Michael Leatherman placed sixth in Lincoln Douglas Debate! Issahy Cano Olivas just missed placing in Student Congress, taking seventh. Earning NFL degrees: Yourui Ruan (Excellence), Joshua Batista (Merit), Elijah Elkins (Merit), Dalizza Mosquera (Merit) and Victoria Perih (Merit). Way to close out the first semester!
Patriot Games Invitational @ George Mason University:
Five members of the Wellington Debate Team earned accolades at the 2011 George Mason University Patriot Games Invitational Debate Tournament in Fairfax, Virginia this past weekend. In Public Forum Debate, the junior team of Rachel Ganon and Shivan Kanagaraja went 4-1 in preliminary rounds and were the 22nd-ranked team (out of more than 100). They advanced to the tournament’s octofinal round, ending as one of the top 16 teams overall. The senior team of Katerina Mangini and Richard Odle were the top 3-2 team in the tournament, ranked 23rd overall, and fell in the double-octofinal round. In Humorous Interpretation, junior Mike Reynolds broke to the quarterfinal round with his presentation of “Nerd Camp.” Additionally, in Lincoln Douglas Debate, freshman Greg Foster and sophomore Yourui Ruan both went 3-2. Ruan was the 36th-ranked LD competitor, and Foster enjoyed his first winning tournament record. Four debaters earned National Forensic League degrees. Reynolds passed the 750-point mark and earned his Degree of Superior Distinction, Foster earned his varsity debate letter and Degree of Honor, passing the 75-point mark, and both Blake Kessler and Amber Radcliff earned their Degree of Honor and NFL certificates.
November PBCFL @ Suncoast:
OMG! Wellington Debate absolutely ROCKED THE HOUSE at Suncoast November 12! ROLL CALL!
PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE may have been the most DOMINANT performance I have ever witnessed by Wellington in a single event. Richard Odle & Kevin Murphy went 4-0 and placed 3rd; Madison Dalton & Alexa Fortuna went 3-1 and placed 4th; Sina Booeshaghi & Stephie Maravankin went 3-1 and placed 6th; Sabrina Abesamis & Juliana Diatezua went 3-1 and placed 7th; and Sydney Rogalsky & Caitlyn Konopka went 3-1 and placed 8th. That’s five of the top eight, out of 34 teams. That’s an overall PFD record of 16-4. AMAZING!
LINCOLN DOUGLAS DEBATE saw three Wolverines earn accolades. Ryan Kennedy placed 6th in Varsity LD, while Yourui Ruan, Michael Leatherman and Jon DeLaura each went 3-1. Ruan was 4th in Novice LD, Leatherman was 6th, and DeLaura was 8th (out of 29 Novice LD entries). Additionally, Logan Weber, Leila Booeshaghi, Greg Foster and King Gary each went 2-2 (Gary’s first LD victories!), and Matt Faraone earned a win in his first-ever LD competition.
LEGISLATIVE DEBATE witnessed Juan Arango take second place in his congress chamber, while Jon Lucien ranked fourth.
DUO INTERPRETATION had the team of Mike Reynolds & Valentina Ferreira placed 6th.
NOVICE ORAL INTERPRETATION saw Blake Kessler place 13th out of 38 entries.
Wellington earned eight new National Forensic League degrees, bringing the year’s total to 27 and the overall total to 180. Earning their Degree of Merit certificates were Faraone, Gary and Konopka. Earning their Degree of Honor and varsity debate letters were Arango, DeLaura and Leatherman. And earning the degree of Excellence (150+ points) were Diatezua and Murphy.
Wellington’s next tournament is at the George Mason University Patriot Games Invitational December 1-5. The last tournament of the calendar year is the PBCFL All-Novice and Funvitational at West Boca Raton on December 10.
Florida Blue Key Invitational:
Big props to Wellington Debate for a very successful Florida Blue Key weekend in Gainesville! Sophomore Yourui Ruan went 4-2 in Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate and advanced to the quarterfinal round, ranking as one of the top eight novice LD competitors at the University of Florida-hosted tournament. Additionally, Mike Reynolds reached semifinals in Extemporaneous Duo with his partner from Trinity Prep (yes, in Extemp Duo you’re allowed to work with someone from a different school). It’s Reynolds’ second consecutive year advancing to break rounds in the supplemental event. Ruan, Logan Weber and Ali Sina Booeshaghi each earned their Wellington Debate varsity letter by surpassing the National Forensic League’s 75-point mark. Wellington’s next tournament is November 12 at the PBCFL @ Suncoast.
Titan Invitational @ Nova HS:
WellyWorld Debate kicked tail at the Nova Titan Invitational October 21-22. Mike Reynolds places 3rd in Humorous Interp; PFDers Sabrina Abesamis & Juliana Diatezua go 5-1 in prelims and 7-2 overall, falling in semifinals; the PFD teams of Sina Booeshaghi/Stephie Maravankin and Madison Dalton/Alexa Fortuna each went 4-2 in prelims before falling in octos; and Logan Weber went 4-2 in novice Lincoln Douglas before falling in octos. Earning their NFL certificates were Leila Booeshaghi, Yourui Ruan (3-3 in his first-ever LD competition) and Kwadjo Walker, and Abesamis earned her NFL Degree of Honor and varsity debate letter. Wellington’s next tournament is October 27-30 at the Florida Blue Key Invitational in Gainesville.
October PBCFL @ Lake Worth:
WellyWorld ROCKED THE HOUSE at Lake Worth October 15. Katerina Mangini & Richard Odle went 4-0 and placed 6th in mixed (varsity and novice) Public Forum Debate; Mike Reynolds placed 6th in Dramatic Performance; novice Michael Leatherman went 3-1 and took 6th in mixed Lincoln Douglas Debate; and novice Juan Arango placed 4th in mixed Student Congress In addition, Stephie Maravankin & novice Ali Sina Booeshaghi went 3-1 in mixed PFD, Madison Dalton & Alexa Fortuna went 3-1 in mixed PFD, Sydney Rogalsky & novice Jimmy Smith went 2-2 in mixed PFD, novices Jon DeLaura and Greg Foster each went 2-2 in mixed LD, and novices Logan Weber and Leila Booeshaghi each won a mixed LD round. Eight new National Forensic League degrees were earned: Leatherman, Ali Sina Booeshaghi, Foster, DeLaura & Weber each earned their NFL Degree of Merit by surpassing the 25-point mark, Rogalsky earned her Degree of Excellence (150 points), and Maravankin & Sara Fabben earned their NFL Degree of Distinction (250 points). Wellington’s next two tournaments are overnighters – October 21-22 at the Titan Invitational in Ft. Lauderdale, and October 27-30 at the Florida Blue Key Invitational in Gainesville.
September PBCFL All-Congress @ Wellington:
Props to Wellington debaters who gave speeches, cross-examined other students, presided over rounds, and judged first-time debaters from 18 different Palm Beach County and Martin County students. Wellington rocked the joint in so many ways, it’s almost impossible to keep track! Luckily, I have some results to pass along. Cudos to the following: Madison Barry, who swept both judges’ first-place ballots in Session 2 and placed first overall in Novice House H; Ali Sina Booeshaghi, who placed second overall in Novice House L; Greg Foster and Jon DeLaura, who took third and fifth, respectively, in Novice House F; Dalizza Mosquera, who ranked fourth in Novice House J; Logan Weber and Kwadjo Walker, who placed sixth in Novice House B and Novice House G; Jon Lucien, who took sixth in Varsity Senate B and was voted Chamber’s Choice Presiding Officer (and earned his NFL Degree of Excellence, too, surpassing the 150-point mark); and Scott Meskin, who was named Chamber’s Choice PO by the novice debaters he presided over. Additionally, eight Wellington debaters were ranked by at least one judge during the competition: Joshua Batista, Issahy Cano Olivas, Makaylan Clark, Elijah Elkins, Alex Kallen, Michael Leatherman, Joy Lopez and Krystelle Louis, meaning more than half of the Wellington competitors received some sort of recognition during the tournament!