Results 2018-19

Four members of the Wellington Speech & Debate program represented Wolverines Nation at the 2019 National Speech & Debate Association National Tournament in June.

Seniors Zachary Jacobson and William Parker Bussey, junior Nailah Williams, and sophomore Matthew McGann competed at the NSDA National Championship in Dallas. Jacobson – the Red Dawn Debaters’ first-ever four-time national championship qualifier – qualified in Dramatic Interpretation with his performance of Justin Butcher’s “Scaramouche Jones,” while Bussey, McGann, and Williams competed in Extemporaneous Speaking. Wellington also had a pair of first alternates – freshmen Megan Gonzales-Mugaburu in Extemporaneous Speaking, and Jaiden Blinston in Dramatic Interpretation.

Coach Paul Gaba was in charge of the Florida Oceanfront Blue World Schools Debate team of Michael Bole, Nirmit Chandan, Natalie Navarrete, and Miles Wang. The quartet went undefeated in preliminary rounds, entering breaks as the top seeded team in the tournament. Florida Oceanfront Blue advanced to semifinals, where it lost to the eventual national champions from the North Coast (Ohio) District.

Other highlights from the 2018-19 championship season included:

• At the 2019 Florida Forensic League Novice State Tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, Liam MacMahon placed sixth in Congressional Debate, and Blinston placed sixth in Program Oral Interpretation. Blinston was also a semifinalist in Dramatic Interpretation. In addition, Sofia Lynch was a semifinalist in Congressional Debate.

• Jacobson placed 10th overall in Dramatic Interpretation at the Florida Forensic League Varsity State Championship.

• At the UPenn Liberty Bell Classic in February, the JV Public Forum Debate team of John Barry & McGann went 4-1 in preliminary rounds, finishing as the ninth seed overall. McGann was 11th best speaker overall, and Barry was 15th best overall. In addition, Matias Galguera advanced to semifinals in Congressional Debate.

• At the Florida Blue Key Invitational, Jacobson advanced to quarterfinals in Dramatic Interpretation. In Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking, Galguera broke to octafinals. In Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, three students – Galguera, Bussey, and McGann – all advanced to octafinals.

• Jacobson placed 6th overall in Dramatic Interpretation at the Yale Invitational.

• Coach Paul Gaba was honored as the FFL Macaw Region “Coach of the Year.”

• Wellington Speech & Debate also made and distributed more than 100 Valentine’s Day cards for residents of the Arbor Oaks at Greenacres Assisted Living Facility


At the Santaluces PBCFL on February 16, Jaiden Blinston tied for first in Program Oral Interpretation, while Zachary Jacobson took second in Oral Interpretation and Samuel Johnson placed second in Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate. In Congressional Debate, Karinne Mitchell placed third, Liam MacMahon fourth, and Chelsea Gutierrez fifth, with both Gutierrez and Mitchell earning “Chamber’s Choice Presiding Officer” gavels.
Wellington earned five new National Speech & Debate Association degrees. Blinston surpassed 250 points, earning her Degree of Distinction, while three students – Johnson, Mitchell, and Rafaela St. Juste – earned their Degree of Excellence by reaching the 150-point plateau. Ariana Jordan earned her NSDA Degree of Merit and certification, passing the 25-point mark. Wellington now has 190 degrees on record, and 48 new degrees earned this year.


At the Martin County PBCFL, Wellington showed great resolve, and it manifested itself with some high ranking performances.

In Extemporaneous Speaking, William Bussey placed 2nd, Matthew McGann 3rd, Nailah Williams 4th, Matias Galguera 5th, and Megan Gonzales-Mugaburu 6th.

In Varsity Dramatic Performance: Zachary Jacobson took 3rd.

In Program of Oral Interpretation, Zachary Jacobson placed 3rd, while Jaiden Blinston finished 4th.

In Congressional Debate, Liam MacMahon placed 4th, while both Chelsea Gutierrez and Ariana Jordan were 6th in their respective chambers.


Wellington Debate closed out 2018 with a bang, scoring multiple honors at the December All-Varsity/All-Novice PBCFL hosted by Palm Beach Central High School on Saturday December 8.

In Lincoln Douglas Debate, the Wolverines took a double dose of top honors, with Kieran Abesamis taking top honors in the varsity division and Leslie Diaz placing first in the novice division. Both went undefeated during the tournament.

In Congressional Debate, Liam MacMahon placed first in his novice chamber. Both Jenalyn Spies and Megan Gonzales-Mugaburu took third in their respective novice chambers, and Chelsea Gutierrez finished sixth in her novice house. Gutierrez was also named her chamber’s top Presiding Officer. In varsity Congress, Matthew McGann earned a gavel as his chamber’s top PO.

In Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking, Nailah Williams and William Bussey tied for second place, while Matias Galguera placed fourth.

Joseph Long finished fourth in Program of Oral Interpretation. In Novice Oral Interpretation, Jaiden Blinston finished fourth and Lillian Paulitz placed fifth.

Ten new National Speech & Debate Association degrees were earned, bringing Wellington’s total to 178 on record, and 36 degrees earned this year. Both Kieran Abesamis and Oleg Shchegelskiy passed the 150-point mark, earning the Degree of Excellence. Sofia Lynch, Liam MacMahon, and Harrison Winton each surpassed the 75-point plateau and earned the Degree of Honor (as well as their varsity letters, which will be awarded at the spring DeBanquet). And five Red Dawn Debaters – Anjelina Barry, Raymond Barry, Leslie Diaz, Leah Rivero, and Jaiden Watkins – each earned their NSDA membership.


Wellington Debate ROCKED THE SEMINOLE RIDGE HAUS on Saturday, November 10th!

In Extemporaneous Speaking, William Bussey picket-fenced the event and took FIRST PLACE overall.

In Program of Oral Interpretation, Jaiden Blinston claimed SECOND PLACE. Blinston also took THIRD PLACE in Novice Oral Interpretation, while Lillian Paulitz earned FIFTH-PLACE honors in Novice OI.

The Public Forum Debate team of Matias Galguera and Matt McGann took FOURTH PLACE.

In Congressional Debate, Liam MacMahon placed SECOND in his chamber, while three students – Karinne Mitchell, Sofia Lynch, and Jenalyn Spies – each finished FIFTH in their senates. In addition, two Red Dawn Debaters – Helie Macius and Lynch – earned CHAMBER’S CHOICE GAVELS as the top Presiding Officer in their respective sessions.

Six first-year debaters earned their National Speech & Debate Association Degree of Merit, and will have their lifetime membership certificates added to the classroom wall when they come in from Iowa later this month: Carolina Aguilera, Kayla Cho, Chelsea Gutierrez, Alexandra Kaye, Paulitz, and Spies.


The Wellington Red Dawn Debaters strolled into Spanish River High School on Saturday, October 13, and left holding a slew of accolades.

In Lincoln Douglas Debate, Kieran Abesamis went 4-0 and placed first overall. It was his first-ever LD tournament.

In Dramatic Performance, Zachary Jacobson placed first overall with his performance of “Scaramouche Jones” by Justin Butcher. He and his brother Ryan Jacobson took third in Varsity Duo Interpretation with their rendition of Jordan Sonnenblick’s “Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie.”

In Novice Duo Interpretation, the team of Samuel Johnson and Harrison Winton took sixth with their presentation of an episode of The Office, “Fun Run.”

In Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking, Matthew McGann took second and Matias Galguera placed fourth.

In Congressional Debate, Sofia Lynch took sixth in her chamber, and both Emilie Rott and Emma Gherlan earned Chamber’s Choice Presiding Officer gavels.

Five students earned National Speech & Debate Association degrees. Galguera earned his Degree of Superior Distinction, passing the 750-point mark, and four students earned their NSDA Degree of Merit certification – Daniel Melton, Nicholas Raney, Morgan Williams, and Harrison Winton.


Wellington Debate ROCKED THE HAUS at the 2018 Palm Beach Catholic Forensic League Congressional, which took place Saturday, September 22 at Suncoast High School. Fourteen Red Dawn Debaters took home hardware from the tournament in Riviera Beach. They included:

FIRST PLACE: Megan Gonzales-Mugaburu and Liam MacMahon

SECOND PLACE: Matias Galguera

THIRD PLACE: Nicholas Raney

FOURTH PLACE: Samuel Johnson and Sofia Lynch

FIFTH PLACE: Carolina Aguilera-Garza and Alexandra Kaye


CHAMBERS CHOICE PRESIDING OFFICERS: Jordyn Bergman, Matthew McGann (twice), and Nailah Williams (twice)

In addition, five debaters were recognized by at least one judge in their chamber during the day: Raymond Barry, Christopher Castro, Caitlin Daronco, Joseph Long, and Oleg Shchegelskiy.

Five members of Wolverine Nation earned their National Speech and Debate Association membership by surpassing 25 honor points: Blinston, Gonzales-Mugaburu, Johnson, Lynch, and MacMahon. Their certificates will be added to the debate wall after they arrive from the NSDA home office in West Des Moines, Iowa, in the next few weeks.