Trinity Speech and Debate Rocks Make Noise in Nationals

Trinity’s Speech and Debate Rocks made their case that they belong in the conversation with some of the best schools in America at the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament in Dallas, Texas.

In order to qualify, each district holds a tournament and only the top students in each event attend. In Kentucky, the entire state is the district, so the Rocks that represented Trinity in Dallas were in the TOP TWO in the state in their respective events. Speaking of the the students that represented Trinity’s Speech and Debate Rocks, let’s take a closer look at each of the guys and the different events they competed in:

  • Walker Evans was the top qualifier in the Senate, which is part of the Congressional Debate. This is a simulation of the U.S. legislative process requiring students to generate a series of bills and resolutions for debate in Congressional Debate. Debaters alternate delivering speeches for and against the topic in a group setting. The students are then assessed on their research, argumentation, and delivery skills as well as their knowledge and use of parliamentary procedure.

  • Mark Hughes was the runner-up at the district qualifier in International Extemporaneous Speaking. Students are presented with a choice of three questions related to international current events and, in 30 minutes, prepare a seven minute speech answering the selected question. In perhaps the biggest shocker of the event, students MAY NOT use the internet during their preparation, instead, students may consult articles and evidence they gather prior to the contest. Topics range from country-specific issues to regional concerns to foreign policy. The speech is delivered from memory.

  • Porter Hunt was the runner-up at the district qualifier in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking. Defined above, the difference in International Extemporaneous Speaking and Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, is that Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking focuses on topics ranging from political matters to economic concerns to U.S. foreign policy.

On top of these events, all three competed in Extemporaneous Debate, a one-on-one, double elimination format featuring two students arguing a specific topic with limited preparation time. Porter and Mark also competed in Impromptu Speaking, which is a single elimination format. Each student has seven minutes to select a topic, brainstorm their ideas, outline and deliver a speech without notes. In all of these events, the Rocks advanced into the elimination rounds before bowing out. What an achievement!

Trinity’s Speech and Debate Coach Amy Zuccaro talks about how proud she is of Walker, Mark, and Porter’s accomplishments as a part of Trinity’s Speech and Debate program.

All three events require students to actively research current events, to think critically, to use evidence to support argumentation, and to speak eloquently. In general, speech and debate requires a lot of work, and for these three guys in particular, their events are always changing, so they must always research. It takes quite a lot of dedication. I truly think that these three young men demonstrate the best of our students and the activity. They’re leaders, they’re competitive, and each of them earned Academic All-American status this year. This reflects their overall strength in academics as well as competition.


My biggest reward, however, is not if they win. Watching them develop into confident young men with voices who are willing to challenge the injustices they see in society and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves is the greatest reward.

Don’t think that it’s all speech and debate all the time for these guys. When these guys aren’t arguing political maters and foreign policy, they’re involved in service work, other school activities, and work (some have jobs, others have worked on political campaigns. “To be this successful requires incredible time management skills,” says Zuccaro. “They have demonstrated the ability to prioritize and still have fun. I’m extremely proud of the goals they have set for themselves and through their hard work have been able to accomplish.”

Even in Dallas, when the schedule allows, these guys are taking in the sights! Coach Amy Zuccaro describes some of the different places the guys visited. “It’s important to me that they have as many new experiences as possible from local cuisine to seeing the sights. We visited the 6th floor museum at Dealey Plaza to learn more about John F. Kennedy’s assassination. We have also been up to the Reunion Tower. We have plans to see the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and The George W. Bush Presidential Library!”



For Zuccaro, the future of Trinity Speech and Debate is in wonderful hands. “I never look at it as replacing the seniors. Each student has different strengths and they contribute to the team differently. Team leadership isn’t limited to the seniors either. Everyone on the team can lead in their own ways. Next year, I will look to Porter for help in his specialty areas of debate and Extemporaneous Speaking. Walker will be key in Congressional Debate, and I’ll rely heavily on two year captain Gus Boyer, whose laid back nature puts everyone at ease.”

Way to go, Rocks! We are proud of you guys!

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