Concordia Speech & Debate Team Begins 2023-2024 School Year with Strong Finishes

Concordia’s Speech & Debate team has been a strong contender over the last decade in local and state level tournaments. From 2015-2019, the Crusaders were the TAPPS 6A State Speech Champions and in 2022, the team finished as State Runner-Up.

This year, the team includes students from every grade with many new members as well as a large group of veteran team leaders. For the 2023-2024 school year, the team has already competed in two different tournaments and have another one at the end of September.

The TAPPS 6A State Competition is annually in the Spring but the competition season is year-round. Concordia is blessed to offer four sections of Debate class taught by Coach Debbie Waddell, and this helps the students prepare and compete right away once the new school year begins.

The competition of Speech & Debate can be subjectively viewed at times, but usually there are clear winners (in 2022, two Concordia students, Caleb Tiesman '22 and Kennedy Williams '22, ended as Co-State Champions in Lincoln-Douglas debate). The National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) have defined number of events and guidelines for judging that many schools use for their competitions. TAPPS Speech competition events include Duet Acting, Original Oratory, Persuasive Speaking, Poetry Interpretation, Prose Interpretation, Solo Acting, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

At the beginning of September, Concordia competed in the 2023 College Park Classic hosted by The Woodlands College Park High School. The tournament took place on Sept. 1-2 and was an in-person competition. There were several strong finishes for the Crusaders including: Haleigh Everage ’25 finished as the champion in Prose, and Jaden Thibodeau ’24 finished in 3rd, and Abby Bridwell ’26 in 6th also in Prose. Thibodeau teamed up with Bella Decillo ’25 and they finished 3rd in Duo Acting. Thibodeau also finished 4th in Poetry and Selena Lemmon ’25 and Wallace finished 4th and 5th respectively in Program Oral Interpretation (POI).

This last weekend, on Sept. 8-9, the Crusaders competed in the Dobie High School Speech Tournament in Pasedena, TX. All of the Concordia students advanced to the semi-final rounds and individually, Rebecca Kralowetz ’24 finished 2nd in Dramatic Interpretation, Kylie Bolz ’26 finished 4th in Prose, and Luke Monsive ’26 finished in 5th in Impromptu. Four other Crusaders reached the semi-finals in their events: Ingrid Buchwald ’24, Miley Plagens ’26, Annika Thomas ’26, and Della Wallace ’26.

Up next for the Crusaders is the Klein High School Speech & Debate Tournament on Sept. 22-23 and that is the first tournament for the whole team to participate. To learn more about the Speech & Debate program at Concordia, contact Coach Debbie Waddell at [email protected]