John Hersey High School junior Ben Goldberg proved he can compete with the best in the nation when he earned a spot in the finals of the Glenbrooks National Debate Tournament on Nov. 17-18.
Five other Hersey students also qualified for the semifinals. Semifinalists were Melanie Cohodes, Joshua George, Mike Miller and Vivek Shah.
Two hundred of the nation's best debaters from California, Florida, and Texas, as well as the top debaters from Illinois, gathered for their first national contest of the season. Of the 30 schools that entered, Hersey was one of only five schools that qualified five or more students for the semifinals.
The students faced a grueling schedule that featured nine hours of debate on Saturday, three hours for the "semis," and four hours for the finals. Goldberg thus debated for 16 hours over the weekend.
"The Glenbrooks was a fun learning experience and confidence-builder," said Goldberg. "I cannot wait to come back next year."
His teammate Mike Miller said, "Even though it was a long two days, I was glad to find out I can compete with the best."
The competition was won by a student from Nova High School in Florida, and the best local finisher was Eric Ramoutar of Stevenson in fifth place.
According to head coach John Stanislaw, the Huskie debaters will compete again at Prospect High School on Dec. 15.