GATES MILLS, Ohio, February 21—For the 24th year in a row, Gilmour is the top school in speech and debate among all private and parochial schools in northeast Ohio. At the district tournament held February 1 in Berea, the team finished behind only Solon High School.
Peter Hurley ’14, of Cleveland Heights, and Adam Miller ’14, of Pepper Pike, were named district champions in policy debate while Nicholas Abdallah ’15, of Highland Heights, and Julia Pilla ’14, of Novelty, were named district champions in duo interpretation.
Additionally, 24 students have qualified for the state tournament, which will be held the first weekend in March. State qualifiers in policy debate are Miller; Hurley; Vincenzo Calabrese ’16, of Mayfield Heights; Charbel Najm ’16, of Highland Heights; Juwan Shabazz ’15, of Richmond Heights; and Michael Wilson ’15, of Chesterland. Alexis Canty ’15, of Bentleyville, qualified in dramatic interpretation. In the duo interpretation category, state qualifiers were Pilla and Abdallah and the team of Sean Kelley ’16, of Cleveland Heights, and Christian Borkey ’16, of Mentor. Brynn Alexander ’14, of Chesterland, and Sarah Krakowiak ’16, of Solon, qualified in humorous interpretation. Claire Krakowiak ’15, of Solon, and Madison McDowell ’15, of Pepper Pike, qualified in prose poetry. In the impromptu speech category, state qualifiers were Laura Brzozowski ’15, of Highland Heights; Nupur Goel ’17, of Solon; and Sophia Zupanc ’15, of Concord Township. Zupanc also qualified in U.S. extemporaneous speech and student congress. She will compete at states in student congress. Also qualifying in student congress were Ron Ryavec ’16, of Euclid, and Miles McDowell ’17, of Pepper Pike. Megan Porter ’15, of Novelty, and Grant Bent ’15, of Willoughby, qualified in Lincoln Douglas debate and Andrea Doe ’16, of Youngstown, qualified in oratorical interpretation. In original oratory, Tom DeSilvio ’14, of Lyndhurst, and Megan Polak ’15, of Kirtland, qualified as did Cassandra Williams ’15, of Aurora, in U.S. extemporaneous speech.
Qualifying as state tournament alternates were Kelly Davis ’16, of Solon, for prose poetry; Bennett Hilkert ’17, of Solon, for student congress; and Kylie Velotta ’16, of Gates Mills, in humorous interpretation.
Finally, several team members have qualified for the national speech and debate competition, which will be held in Kansas City in June.
Zupanc qualified for the nationals in both U.S. extemporaneous speech and student congress. She is the first student in school history to qualify for nationals in two separate events. Tournament rules mandate that a student can only compete in one primary category, so Zupanc has opted to compete in student congress.
Other national qualifiers include Alexander, in humorous interpretation; and the teams of Abdallah and Pilla and Borkey and Kelley, in duo interpretation.
The team had several members qualify as alternates for nationals as well. Williams qualified as an alternate in both student congress and U.S. extemporaneous speech, Canty in dramatic interpretation, Krakowiak in humorous interpretation and Ryavec, Porter and Bent in student congress.
Finally, both Alexander and Zupanc have qualified for the prestigious national Tournament of Champions competitions in their respective categories. Alexander will compete in the Tournament of Champions in Individual Events, which will be held in May in Minnesota and Zupanc will compete in student congress at the Tournament of Champions event held in May in Kentucky.
Longtime speech and debate coach Gay Janis says of the team’s success, “This is either our all-time record or close to it. The students have worked very hard to achieve their success and I am proud of their hard work, talent and perseverance.”
Gilmour Academy is a Catholic, independent, coeducational, college-preparatory school. It is sponsored by the Congregation of Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Ind., and offers a Montessori program beginning at 18-months-old and a Lower School, Middle School and Upper School. A boarding program is offered to students in Grades 7 through 12. It is located at 34001 Cedar Road in Gates Mills, Ohio.