Three Livingston Students Compete in Grand National Speech/Debate Tournament

(L-R) Dr. Michael Sunga, Jaina Jallow, Ethan Reiter, Evan Tong and Mr. Alex Lamon Credits: Livingston Public Schools

WASHINGTON, DC — Three members of the Livingston High School (LHS) forensics team recently competed in the 67th Annual NCFL Grand National Speech and Debate Tournament in Washington, DC, which included 2,751 students and 1,510 judges from 558 schools and 66 leagues.

Jaina Jallow qualified for the semifinal round (top 12 in the nation) and won a trophy in Declamation with her rendition of Shane Koyczan's 2013 TED Talk, "'To This Day'...for the bullied and beautiful." She is only the third LHS student to qualify for the semifinal round at the NCFL Nationals in 14 years.

Ethan Reiter and Evan Tong qualified for the octo-final round (top 16 in the nation) and won a trophy in Public Forum Debate. The topic debated was: "Resolved: Municipalities in the United States ought to be able to declare themselves 'sanctuary cities.'" This is Tong’s second year qualifying for NCFL Nationals.

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English teacher Dr. Michael Sunga and business and economics teacher Alex Lamon accompanied the team as coaches, judges and chaperones.

In addition, 54 students in speech, debate and mock trial were recognized on June 5 as new members, degree recipients, or graduates in a special ceremony for the LHS chapter of the National Speech and Debate Honor Society (NSDA). The NSDA awarded Dr. Sunga and Lamon, respectively, with the Superior Distinction Degree for their dedicated service as coaches. 

The program featured keynote speaker Kerry Zak, an LHS graduate of 2015, a past co-president of the LHS forensics team and an NCFL Grand National Tournament qualifier. She is currently pursuing her BFA in dance at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, and will continue her studies at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.

The event also featured a flag ceremony, led by Livingston Boy Scout Troop 12.

“Congratulations to the forensics team on an outstanding season,” said the coaches.

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