The Schaumburg High School debate team has captured the Illinois High School Association title for the second time in the club's history, with its students capturing half the top 10 positions on the All-State Debate Team.
Junior Nathaniel Leonhardt missed only 10.5 points out of a possible 300 for the best speaking record in the tournament. He was named captain of the All-State Debate Team. Other students who were named to that team were sophomore Jessica D'Souza, who placed 5th in points; senior Healy Gier, 8th; senior Brendan Du, 9th; senior Meagan-Faye Allen, 10th.
Leonhardt took second in Lincoln-Douglas Debate (or Philosophical Value Debate) after making it to the semifinals with an undefeated record -- winning 18 debate ballots in a row over a 48-hour time period, each debate lasting 45 minutes.
Sophomores Jessica D'Souza and Raza Haque led the team win of the state championship in Public Forum Debate (also known as Current Event Debate or Crossfire Debate). The debate topic was "Resolved: Single-gender classrooms would improve the quality of education in American public schools."
Junior Melissa Tran wrote the congressional topic that was chosen as the Best Legislation. It was the first time that award had been given.
In all, Schaumburg advanced 15 out of 22 students from the preliminary rounds during the event held at the end of March at the University of Illinois campus in Springfield.
Other students who made it into the elimination rounds were senior Jacob Hacm; juniors Sarah Bier, Kimberly Jimenez, Shraddha Patel, Melissa Tran, Ameel Sheth; sophomores Srini Cherukuri and Raza Haque; and freshmen Megan Schneidau and Kshitij Vashi.
The team is directed by Darrell Robin, who started coaching debate nine years ago with five students. Since then, the team has grown to more than 80 debaters.
The coaching staff also includes Schaumburg special education teacher Carl Schwartz, a former state champion from Elk Grove High School; Elisa Galvan, a former Schaumburg student and two-time National Debate Champion at the college level; attorney Mick Sellergren, a former Barrington High School debater; and Nancy Israel, a Dundee-Crown High School English teacher.