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Speech & Debate

Morgan Spehar and Tia Speece

June 26, 2017
Morgan Spehar and Tia Speece were among 4,200 competitors from across the country participating in the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama from June 19-23, 2017. Only the top 3% of high school speech and debate competitors qualify for this national tournament.

Morgan competed in Informative Speaking, in which she presented a ten minute speech that she wrote about the use and benefits of cadavers. Judges listen to six competitors at a time, and rank the speakers against each other based on speech content and delivery. Morgan also competed in two other events at Nationals: Poetry and Storytelling.

Tia competed in World Schools Debate, where she was a part of a Cleveland district team of five top debaters from Kenston, University School, Hawken, and Solon. At Nationals, she debated topics including (1) whether the rise of alternative media is beneficial, (2) whether secondary schools should have compulsory climate science education, (3) whether sanctions should be increased on Russia, and (4) whether the commercialization of feminism is detrimental to the movement. Her team tied for 17th out of the 173 teams competiting at Nationals!

Both Morgan and Tia put in hundreds of hours of work since September. This is the first time in six years that Kenston has had a student qualify for Nationals.

March 14, 2017
The Ohio speech and debate season came to an exciting conclusion on Saturday after a long six months and 17 tournaments. Revere High School hosted Novice States, which is the State Championship for first year high school competitors. Kenston came home with a Novice State Champion!! Congratulations to Samuel Selent who is the Novice State Champion in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, winning all seven of his judges’ ballots during the day. Also, congratulations to Laura Parsons who placed Third at Novice States in Dramatic Interpretation. The entire team’s hard work and achievements throughout the season caused the Ohio High School Speech League to recognize KHS & KMS at the tournament as one of the Most Promising Programs in Ohio.
Congratulations Tia Speece and Anna Soryal3/6 Congratulations Tia Speece and Anna Soryal
More than 1000 students from 84 schools from across Ohio came to Cleveland to compete at the Ohio High School Speech League State Championship this past weekend. Please join us in congratulating Sophomore Tia Speece who tied for third place in Lincoln Douglas Debate and Junior Anna Soryal who came in sixth place in Informative Speaking. Their hard work and dedication during the season paid dividends!

2/27 Good Luck at State Speech and Debate! Drumout Photos

Heading to Nationals!

February 19, 2017

For the first time in six years, Kenston’s speech and debate team is going to Nationals! Congratulations to Junior Morgan Spehar who qualified in Informative Speaking and Sophomore Tia Speece who was selected to be part of the Cleveland District’s World Schools Debate team. Alternates for Nationals include Seniors Nick Vitello in Humorous Interpretation and Gillian McMaster in Original Oratory. Nationals will be held June 18-23 in Birmingham, Alabama.

2017 Speech and Debate
2/15 2017 Speech and Debate


Tia Speece

February 11, 2017

Congratulations to Sophomore Tia Speece for being a national qualifier alternate in Congressional Debate, in her first ever tournament in that particular debate event. Please wish Kenston’s speech and debate team luck as they travel to St. Ignatius this coming weekend to attempt to qualify for nationals in numerous other events.

State Qualifiers!

Congratulations to Kenston’s Speech and Debate State Qualifiers!

February 6, 2017

This past Saturday, the Kenston Speech and Debate team traveled to Berea-Midpark High School to compete in Little Districts, the state-qualifying tournament. Ten students qualified from Kenston: Sarah Herbruck, Anna Soryal, and Kim Voudris in Informative Speaking; Megan Herbruck and Savannah Georgian in Duo Interpretation; Sam Selent in Lincoln Douglas Debate; Laura Parsons and Emma Nidy in Dramatic Interpretation; and Rory McBrady and Gillian McMaster in Original Oratory. Along with these ten students who qualified Saturday, four team members qualified for States previously in the season: Nick Vitello in Humorous Interpretation; Morgan Spehar in Informative Speaking; Jessica Sunderhaft in Program Oral Interpretation; and Tia Speece in Lincoln Douglas Debate. Kenston will also bring a Congressional Debate delegation to States, including Onur Kardzhala and possibly three others.

With a total of 15 students going to States thus far (more than double the amount last year), the 2016-2017 Speech and Debate season is the most successful in many years. The state tournament will take place on March 3rd and 4th in our own Cleveland District at the Berea-Midpark and Olmsted Falls school districts. Good luck and congratulations to the Kenston Speech and Debate team!

Kenston Speech & Debate Team Gears Up For Districts

Saturday, January 28th marked the final regular tournament of the season for Kenston’s Speech & Debate Team. February 4th will be the day Little Districts is held, where speech members will compete for a chance to move on to the State Tournament. Members Nick Vitello, Morgan Spehar, Jessica Sunderhaft, and Tia Speece already have enough bids to advance to states, but the rest of the speech competitors must place within the top 30% or so in their event at districts to make states. The tournament will be held at Berea-Midpark High School.

The 2016-2017 season has been a very strong year for the team. Competitors from Kenston have consistently placed within the top six of numerous events throughout the season. Head coach Stephan Voudris and assistant coach Fred Snook have been guiding the competitors throughout the year. The team’s accomplishments would not have been possible without them. Big Districts will be held on February 17-18, where competitors can advance to nationals in Birmingham, Alabama if they are in the top 5% or so of the competitors in their event in the Cleveland area. Team members are enduring rigorous practice this week in preparation for the tournament, hoping for high scores from numerous judges for a chance to make it to the next round.

10th Place at Solon

January 29, 2017
Kenston’s Speech and Debate Team traveled to Solon on Saturday where they placed 10th out of 44 schools. State qualifiers Tia Speece placed second in Lincoln Douglas debate with five wins and no losses and Morgan Spehar placed third in Informative Speaking. Congrats also to the Duo Interpretation team of Savannah Georgian and Megan Herbruck for reaching semifinals. Please wish the team luck as they travel to Districts on Saturday in an attempt to qualify more team members to States!

Kim Voudris

January 22, 2017

Kenston’s speech and debate team traveled to Berea-Midpark High School on Saturday to compete against 29 other schools. Congratulations to Junior Kim Voudris for placing Sixth in Informative Speaking. The team travels to Solon High School this coming Saturday for the last regular season tournament of the year.

4th Place

January 15, 2017

Kenston’s speech and debate team placed 4th out of 19 schools at a tournament held at Lincoln-West High School. Remarkably, 9 out of 16 team members placed in their event. Special congratulations to Freshman Laura Parsons, who was the Tournament Champion in Dramatic Interpretation, in only her third tournament ever! In second place were the team of Megan Herbruck and Savannah Georgian in Duo Interpretation, Anna Soryal in Informative Speaking, and Emma Nidy in Dramatic Interpretation. Tia Speece placed third in Lincoln-Douglas Debate with a 4-1 record. Placing fifth were Gillian McMaster in Original Oratory and Nick Vitello in Humorous Interpretation. Pedro Michaels placed sixth in International Extemporaneous Speaking. Savannah Georgian earned a second award by placing sixth in Program Oral Interpretation. The team travels to Berea-Midpark High School this coming Saturday.

January 8, 2017

Congratulations to Kenston’s speech and debate team for another successful tournament when they traveled to Canfield High School in Youngstown on January 7. Morgan Spehar placed third and Anna Soryal placed sixth in Informative Speaking. Tying for seventh place were the team of Megan Herbruck and Savannah Georgian in Duo Interpretation, Nick Vitello in Humerous Interpretation, Tia Speece in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Gillian McMaster in Original Oratory. Please wish the team luck when they travel to Lincoln-West this coming Saturday.

December 17, 2016

December 19, 2016

Kenston’s speech and debate team placed seventh at Hathaway Brown’s December 17 tournament. Special congratulations to Jessica Sunderhaft who was the tournament champion in Program Oral Interpretation and became Kenston’s third state qualifier. In Informative Speaking, Anna Soryal placed second, Morgan Spehar placed fifth, and Nick Vitello placed sixth. Onur Kardzhala placed fifth in Congressional Debate. Only four more tournaments until Districts!


December 14, 2016

Congratulations to Junior Morgan Spehar and Senior Nick Vitello for being Kenston High School’s first two Speech and Debate Team qualifiers to States this season. They qualified for States by earning four bids, which is accomplished by doing extremely well at four different tournaments. Both are now repeat State qualifiers, Morgan having qualified last year and Nick having qualified two years ago. The State tournament will be held this coming March at Berea-Midpark and Olmsted Falls high schools.


December 10, 2016

In what very well might be the highest finish ever by Kenston’s Speech and Debate Team, Kenston placed second out of 27 schools on Saturday December 10, when 34 KHS and KMS students traveled to Vermilion. Kenston had two tournament champions: Morgan Spehar in Informative Speaking (out of 22 competitors), and Jessica Sunderhaft in Program Oral Interpretation (out of 34 competitors). Six other high schoolers placed as well. Placing second was Nick Vitello in Humorous Interpretation. The Duo Interpretation team of Megan Herbruck and Savannah Georgian placed third. Placing fourth was Rory McBrady in Original Oratory and Emma Nidy in Dramatic Interpretation. Kim Voudris placed fifth in Informative Speaking. Kenston next travels to Hathaway Brown this Saturday.

December 4, 2016

Kenston sophomore Tia Speece placed second out of 64 competitors in Lincoln-Douglas debate at the Speech and Debate tournament held at Olmsted-Falls on Saturday December 3. She has an amazing 19 win and 4 loss record this season. Kenston’s team placed 11th out of 33 high schools, with a squad reduced by illness. Individual awards were also earned by Nick Vitello, who placed third in Humorous Interpretation and Morgan Spehar, who placed fifth in Informative Speaking.

November 19, 2016

November 19, 2016

On Saturday, twenty members of Kenston’s speech and debate team placed fifth out of twenty-two schools when they traveled to Mentor High School, which featured competitors from as far away as Cincinnati. Individual awards were earned by 40% of the team. Megan Herbruck and Savannah Georgian placed third in Duo Interpretation. Coming in fourth place were Onur Kardzhala in Congressional Debate, Taylor Vargo in Dramatic Interpretation, and Morgan Spehar in Informative Speaking. Fifth place awards were given to Tia Speece in Lincoln Douglas Debate, Emma Nidy in Dramatic Interpretation, and Jessica Sunderhaft in Program Oral Interpretation.

4th Place at Brecksville-Broadview Heights

November 12, 2016

Kenston High School’s Speech and Debate team continued to ascend the rankings by placing fourth out of 21 schools when it traveled to Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School to compete against more than 400 students on Saturday, after placing sixth and fifth in the previous two tournaments. Individual awards were earned by Nick Vitello who placed second in Informative Speaking and third in Humorous Interpretation, Onur Kardzhala who placed second in Congressional Debate, Jessica Sunderhaft who placed third in Program Oral Interpretation, Emma Nidy who placed fourth in Dramatic Interpretation, Morgan Spehar who placed sixth in Informative Speaking, and Tia Speece who placed sixth in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Also congrats to Sam Selent who had a 3-1 record in his first ever varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate tournament. It is never too late to join the team. Come to practice in Room A112 after school on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays or at 7pm on Wednesday or Thursday night.

November 5, 2016

Kenston’s Speech and Debate team placed 5th out of 19 schools when it traveled to Laurel School on Saturday for the second varsity tournament of the season. Individual trophies were earned by Jessica Sunderhaft who placed first in Program Oral Interpretation, Morgan Spehar who placed second in Informative Speaking, Laura Parsons who placed fifth in Dramatic Interpretation in her first ever Speech Tournament, Megan Herbruck and Savannah Georgian who placed fifth in Duo Interpretation, and Rory McBrady who placed sixth in Original Oratory. Also congrats to Logan Vargo who won his first ever debate round, defeating a competitor from Hawken.

6th Place at Edison

October 30, 2016

Kenston’s Speech and Debate team placed sixth out of twenty schools when it traveled to Edison High School on Saturday for the first varsity tournament of the season. Nick Vitello placed first in Humorous Interpretation and sixth in Bible Interpretation, Savannah Georgian placed second in Program Oral Interpretation, and Morgan Spehar placed fourth in Informative Speaking. In sixth place in their events were Gillian McMaster in Original Oratory, Jessica Sunderhaft in Program Oral Interpretation, and Tia Speece in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

Speech and Debate

October 22, 2016

Kenston’s Speech and Debate Team traveled to Vermilion High School for their first novice tournament of the year, competing against 19 other schools. Congratulations to Tia Speece and Samuel Selent, who went undefeated in Lincoln-Douglas debate and tied for first place. Also competing in their first high school tournament were Zarina Khan, Hannah Andrews, and Zamir Khan. Thank you to varsity team members Savannah Georgian, Megan Herbruck, Rory McBrady, Nick Vitello, and Kim Voudris for helping to judge. If you are interested in joining the team, stop by the lower A wing computer lab after school on Wednesday or Fridays.

October 2, 2016

The Public Forum Debate topic for October through November will be “On balance, the benefits of the Internet of Things outweigh the harms of decreased personal privacy.”  The Lincoln Douglas Debate topic for October through December will be “Resolved: The United States ought to limit qualified immunity for police officers.’  Debate practice will be held this week on Monday and Wednesday nights from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the computer lab in the lower A wing.  If you cannot join the team now for any reason, you are more than welcome to join the team later in the season.  Contact Coach Voudris at stephan.voudris@kenstonapps.org for more information.

September 19, 2016

Interested in joining the Speech and Debate Team?  Come to practice this month on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays anytime between 2:30pm-4:00pm in the Lower A Wing Computer Lab.  Or, if you are interested in being a debater, please feel free to come to the Debate Clinics being held on Mondays and Wednesday from 7:00pm-8:30pm for the remainder of September in the same place.  Please email Coach Voudris at stephan.voudris@kenstonapps.org with any questions.

August 11, 2016

The first informational meeting for the Speech and Debate Team will be on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 in the Lower A Computer Lab at 2:30 pm or at 4:45 pm (for those in other after-school activities). Speech and debate is an academic competition against other high schools that focuses on public speaking. Some events also involve debating, writing, acting, or interpreting skills. Besides looking great on college applications and resumes, speech and debate teaches a student to be a polished public speaker, to develop argumentative writing and research skills, and to increase confidence. Like a swim or track team, students compete as an individual (or with a teammate) in one or two of the following events: Lincoln-Douglas Debate (1 vs. 1), Public Forum Debate (2 vs. 2), Student Congress Debate, U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking, International Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Informative Speaking, Declamation, Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, and Program Oral Interpretation.

We compete in more than a dozen Saturday tournaments at schools in Northeastern Ohio from late-October through mid-February with the goal of qualifying for the State Championship in early March. Competition days start with an early morning bus ride and end when we return late afternoon. Usually 20-30 schools are at each competition. Students typically debate or present a speech four times per tournament, each time before a different judge and against different competitors. Both individual and top school awards are given at each tournament.

Please email Coach Voudris at stephan.voudris@kenstonapps.org with any questions or if you cannot attend the informational meeting.

March 7, 2016

Your KHS Speech team represented Kenston with pride at our State Tournament in Cincinnati over the weekend.  7 students qualified- the largest number to date- and made the 4 hour trek- 2 night stay- 2 day competition to Princeton High School.  Congratulations to Savannah Georgian, Megan Herbruck,Belle Puckett, Anna Soryal, Jessica Sunderhaft and Kim Voudris for 4 solid rounds of competition.  At the end of the preliminaries, one Kenston student continued- Morgan Spehar!  At the end of the quarter finals, one Kenston student still continued- Morgan Spehar!  Congratulations to Morgan Spehar for a great ride and placing 10th in the State of Ohio in Informative Speaking!  Huge shout out to the entire team and co-coach Fred Snook for a great season of Kenston Speech!