Home Breaking News Students Make It BIG at National Qualifiers Speech and Debate Tournament

Students Make It BIG at National Qualifiers Speech and Debate Tournament


Sophia DiPuccio (‘19) and Mollie Edmondson (‘21) recently competed at the National Qualifiers Speech and Debate Tournament (Bigs) held at St. Ignatius High School. DiPuccio and Edmondson had great success at this tournament and qualified to compete at Nationals.

DiPuccio said, “The final round was one of the toughest rounds I have ever been in. I was lucky enough to get straight ones, the best ranks you can get. It was also difficult because I faced good competitors from last year and one of my goals for this year.”

Edmondson said, “It was really rewarding when all the hard work paid off.”

Sophia DiPuccio (’19) relishes in her victory at Bigs.

Both DiPuccio and Edmondson had their own challenges with their speeches. DiPuccio said her challenge was “getting into the character of Marilyn Monroe,” which was the subject of her Dramatic Interpretation piece.

One challenge that Edmondson had was “finding time to practice. Between classes and other extracurriculars, I found it difficult to be able to come in and get feedback from other people which is so important before tournaments. In addition, feedback can allow us to realize and understand how the words we choose to include in our speech can impact other people.”

Although some may be apprehensive about joining speech with having sports and other commitments. Speech and Debate team members will say that there are many reasons why people should do it. DiPuccio said, “I fell in love with speech and when you fall in love with something, you do so much better.”

Mollie Edmundson (’21) celebrates after her victory at National Qualifiers.

DiPuccio also said, “It is an important life skill and because everyone should learn how to speak in front of others. Because of this, I give no hesitation to helping others with their speeches, and not just for competition.”

Edmondson joined speech because “Speech and debate is a great outlet for people to express themselves. It is a great way to foster creativity. Additionally, Speech and Debate is a great way to boost confidence. The ability to speak well or defend an argument is vital in many aspects of life – not just academics. Additionally, speech and debate has a great network of people that are very supportive, and I have built so many friendships through this activity.”

DiPuccio and Edmondson prepare to compete at Nationals in Dallas, Texas, from June 16-21.


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Growing up in Shaker Heights, Arianna DiMenna set her goal of becoming a Disney Imagineer. This dream led her to an award winning speech about this job. Writing speeches strengthened her writing skills and led her to taking News Production as a Freshman. This is her third year with the Lance, and second as an editor. She is also interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), design, theater, art, and service. She is a part of Women in STEM, Drama Club, Speech and Debate, Robotics, MAD Club, and The Prep yearbook. Arianna hopes to start a club about something she cares about and hopefully compete at the National Speech and Debate Tournament before she graduates.