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By the students, For the students

The Navigator

By the students, For the students

The Navigator

Newman Speech and Debate Team Wins the 2024 Louisiana State Championship


During Spring Break, over forty members of Newman’s Upper School travelled to Lafayette to compete at the Louisiana High School Speech League’s Tournament of Champions. Students competed for three days across fifteen separate events ranging from every debate event offered to various limited preparation and platform speech events. This tournament was the culmination of all the hard work competitors have put in throughout the school year and showcased their true talents. Here are the results:



Overall 2024 State Champions

Novalyne Price Ellis Trophy Team Sweepstakes

Forensics Award* — Aria Jolly ’25

*This the award for the most points accumulated by any competitor at the State Tournament.


Congressional Debate

State Champion — Andrew Brandt ’25

State Runner-Up — Aria Jolly ’25

Third Place — Nick Rezza ’25

Fourth Place — Lexie Toshav ’26

Sixth Place — Jacob Valentino ’25

Ninth Place — Dylan Carey ’27

Tenth Place — Veer Walia ’27

Finalist — Grace Carmody ’24

Finalist — Russel  l Huber ’26

Finalist — Aditi Shridhar ’26


Advanced Policy Debate

State Runner-Up — Grace Carmody ’24 & Aria Jolly ’25

Third Place — Jackson Dirks ’26 & Hudson Nguyen ’25

Third Place — Wendy Sun ’27 & Russell Huber ’26 – Third Place


Novice Policy Debate

State Runner-Up — Shrey Agrawal ’27 & Gunnar Wentz ’27


Advanced Lincoln Douglas Debate

State Runner-Up — Andrew Brandt ’25

Third Place — Jiya Jolly ’27

Third Place — Sam Rice ’24


Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate

State Champion — Sam Elichman ’26

Quarterfinalist — Deacon Maxwell ’26

Octafinalist (Top 16)  — Henry Leyens ’27

Octafinalist (Top 16)  — Jacob Valentino ’25


Public Forum Debate

State Runner-Up — Morgan Breaux ’26 & Zoila Linares ’27


Varsity Impromptu Speaking

State Runner-Up — Aria Jolly ’25

Third Place — Colin Rills ’24

Sixth Place — Lexie Toshav ’26

Seventh Place — Grace Carmody ’24

Semifinalist — Morgan Breaux ’26

Semifinalist — Aadhya Krishnan ’25


Novice Impromptu Speaking

State Runner-Up — Amar Walia ’25

Fifth Place — Onyx Kukuy ’27

Semifinalist — Sabie DeBiase ’27

Semifinalist — Vivian Zhou ’26

Quarterfinalist — Russell Huber ’26

Quarterfinalist — Jacob Valentino ’25

Quarterfinalist — Veer Walia ’27

Quarterfinalist — Sam Elichman ’26

Quarterfinalist — Henry Leyens ’27



Semifinalist — Vivian Zhou ’26


Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking

State Runner-Up — Lexie Toshav ’26

Third Place — Andrew Brandt ’25

Fifth Place — Aria Jolly ’25

Sixth Place — Jackson Dirks ’26

Semifinalist — Grace Carmody ’24

Semifinalist — Morgan Breaux ’26

Semifinalist — Nick Rezza ’25

Semifinalist — Sam Rice ’24

Novice Extemporaneous Speaking

State Champion — Jacob Valentino ’25

State Runner-Up — Russell Huber ’26

Fifth Place — Zoila Linares ’27

Semifinalist — Veer Walia ’27

Semifinalist — Deacon Maxwell ’26

Semifinalist — Josh Chaney ’25

Novice Dramatic Interpretation

Fifth Place — Onyx Kukuy ’27

Humorous Interpretation

Seventh Place — Colin Rills ’24


This is the third time in the last four years the program has won the State Tournament!


Congrats to all four seniors who attended the tournament: Sam Rice, Grace Carmody, Sylvie Wilson, and Colin Rills! (Left to Right).

These amazing accomplishments were facilitated by one of the best coaching staffs in the entire country, including Mr. Vincent (Head Coach of the USA Debate Team), Bennett Dombcik (Recent Champion of the National Debate Tournament), Harun Vemulapalli (Former Dutchtown Debater and Undergraduate Student at UCLA), Lily Gies (Debater for the University of Michigan), and Austin Broussard (Former Debater for Northland Christian and Graduate Student at UT Austin). Special thanks to Lynn Beeson ’63 for her assistance with Congressional Debate and Mrs. Nicholson for her assistance with Extemporaneous Speaking.

Students will continue to compete at the UK Tournament of Champions and National Speech and Debate Tournament! Thanks for all the support the Administration and student body gives the team!

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Andrew Brandt
Andrew Brandt, Writer