Houston, TX – St. Agnes Academy student Mary Angela Ricotta ’16 has qualified for the National Speech & Debate Association's national tournament to be held the third week of June in Kansas City, Kansas. She beat out 60 students from 30 schools to earn this honor, placing in the top four with her Lincoln Douglas Debate at the South Texas District Tournament held April 3 - 5. The tournament, one of 108 National Forensic League (NFL) district tournaments held throughout the country, was the last step to secure a place at the prestigious NFL National Speech & Debate Tournament. More than 3,200 students will participate in the 2014 NFL National Tournament, billed as the largest academic competition in the world. The event draws visitors from all 50 states and as far away as China. Top performers take home more than $200,000 in college scholarships.
“Mary Angela is an exceptional debater,” said Speech and Forensics Sponsor Kate Wright. “She works very hard and it shows in her results. Qualifying as a sophomore is very difficult – most students go their whole high school debate career without achieving this, and this year will be the second year she represents SAA at the national tournament.”
The National Speech & Debate honor society recognizes participation and progress in middle and high school public speaking and debating activities as a means to meet Common Core State Standards in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The nonprofit organization empowers educators with resources, fostering in students the ability to think critically, research persistently, articulate clearly, and lead ethically in a democratic society. Since 1925, more than 1.4 million alumni have participated in the National Speech & Debate Association, with more than 120,000 active members representing nearly 3,000 schools.