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Two Plano West Students Earn National Speech & Debate Championships

June 25, 2020

Following a week of intense competition between 6,659 students from 1,420 schools from across the United States and its territories during the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) tournament, Plano West Senior High (PWSH) students Angela Wang and Michelle Ma were named national champions in their events. This marks the second consecutive year that Plano ISD speech & debate students have won championships at this national event.

  • Angela Wang, PWSH, International Extemporaneous Speaking, National Champion
  • Michelle Ma, PWSH, Big Questions Debate, National Champion

Fifty Plano ISD students from seven high schools represented our district in fifteen events. Normally held at multiple locations in a designated city, the national tournament elected to hold its annual event virtually in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Students competed in district qualifying tournaments prior to school closures and on virtual platforms in early May with the hope that the national tournament might be a possibility. Unfortunately, the competition, so many look forward to and diligently work towards all school year, was not able to occur in a face-to-face meeting.  Competing virtually over the seven-day tournament, Plano ISD students delivered exceptional representation amid the 923 Zoom Rooms with 125,492 live stream viewers.

Tournament School Awards

  • For the seventh consecutive year PWSH was awarded the School of Outstanding Distinction, the highest award given to the top ten schools 
  • Plano Senior High School (PSHS) and Jasper High School received the 2020 School of Excellence in Speech award that recognizes the top 20 schools in total speech points.
  • PSHS was also awarded the The Bruno E. Jacob/Pi Kappa Delta Trophy that is given to the school with the largest number of cumulative rounds at the National Speech & Debate Tournament in Congress.

Tournament Individual Awards/Recognitions

More than 70 percent of Plano ISD students advanced to elimination rounds. Congratulations to the following students for their individual recognitions and awards:

Plano West Senior High School

  • First place - Angela Wang, International Extemporaneous Speaking
  • First Place - Michelle Ma, Big Questions Debate
  • Fifth Place - Tejas Bansal, Congressional Debate Senate
  • Eighth Place (tied) - Renee Li and Lillian Ye, Public Forum Debate
  • Ninth Place (tied) - Daniel Liang, Big Questions Debate
  • Round 10 - Alyssa Nie and Angela Yi, Public Forum Debate
  • Round 10 - Rohan Kamalakantha and Andy Shufer, Public Forum Debate
  • Quarterfinals - Pranav Pattatathunaduvil, International Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Quarterfinals - Conny Cai, Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Quarterfinals - Adithya Karthik, Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Quarterfinals - Reeya Shah, Congressional Debate House
  • Octofinals - Aditya Kumar, International Extemporaneous Speaking

Plano Senior High School

  • Third Place - Jishnu Basu, Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Quarterfinals - Julia Lin, Informative Speaking
  • Octofinals - Isabelle Azmoodeh, Program of Oral Interpretation

Plano East Senior High School

  • Octofinals - Neel Kanamangala, World Schools. Debate
  • Quarterfinalist - Anika Bokil, Congressional Debate House

Jasper High School

  • Semifinals - Charles Hou, United States Extemporaneous Speaking (Top 14)
  • Quarterfinals - Kyle Letterer, United States Extemporaneous Speaking (Top 30)
  • Quarterfinals - Kelly Hu, International Extemporaneous Speaking (Top 30)
  • Quarterfinals - Anushka Kumar, International Extemporaneous Speaking (Top 30)
  • Octofinals - Gabriel Bo, Original Oratory

Clark High School

  • Octofinals - Kate Tucker, Prose Interpretation

Shepton High School

  • Quarterfinals - Max Blackwell, Storytelling
  • Octofinals - Max Blackwell and Walker Blackwell, Duo Interpretation

Speech & Debate Teacher Awards

Cheryl Potts PSHS Speech & Debate Teacher (retired) Inducted into NSDA Hall of Fame

  • Cheryl Potts, retired Plano Senior High School speech & debate teacher  was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the National Speech & Debate Association, The highest honor for any high school speech & debate coach. Each year, nominations are sought from member coaches. In the month of April, current Hall of Fame members and coaches with at least three diamonds (award recognitions years of service and amount of coaching points) vote to determine which nominees will be elected members of this most distinguished body. Cheryl Potts was one of five national recognitions. 

Robert Shepard PSHS Speech & Debate Teacher, District Leader Commendation-Lone Star District Service Award

  • Robert Shepard, Plano Senior High School speech & debate teacher,  received the District Leader Commendation-Lone Star District Service Award for his work in the Lone Star District of the organization.

Stefany Cambra PSHS Speech & Debate Teacher, Lone Star District Finalist

  • Stefany Cambra from Plano Senior High for her publicity work for the Lone Star District as a finalist for Best District Ad.