Valdosta > VHS Debate Team Awarded At Championship

| March 19, 2015

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VALDOSTA — Valdosta High School Debate continues to shine in the post-season! The VHS Debate team traveled last week to the GFCA Varsity State Championships held at the Marist School in Atlanta, GA.

At the Opening Ceremony on Friday, Valdosta High School was named the 2014-15 Phillip Wertz School of Excellence. VHS Debate qualified the largest number of students, seventeen, to the Championships for the school size. The Phillip Wertz award is named for Hall of Fame Thomas County Coach Phillip Wertz and honors schools with enrollment from 1200-1999. This is the first time a Southern region school has received this honor.

On Saturday, the awards continued at the Hall of Fame Luncheon when retired Valdosta Debate Coach, Mr. Frank Hjort, was inducted into the Georgia Debate Hall of Fame. Mr. Hjort coached Debate at Valdosta High School for 17 years and led the team to many region championships in Policy Debate. In the ceremony, Richard Bracknell, 2001 HoF member and longtimecoach at Carrollton High School said of his friend, “You efforts laid the foundation for the growth in speech and debate around the state.” Mr. Hjort was accompanied at the ceremony, as he was throughout his coaching career, by his wife Nancy.

Saturday afternoon, two Valdosta students advanced to the Championship rounds. Lorna Chitty advanced to the Quarterfinals round in Lincoln Douglas Debate, placing 13th in the state. Mo Asebiomo advanced to the Championship round of Original Oratory and was awarded Third Place in Original Oratory.

As the final awards of the tournament, Mr. Jeffrey Miller, president of the GFCA, presented the Coach of the Year Awards. Announcing first the Speech Coach of the Year, Pamela Childress was announced as a finalist for the award with Sean Hickey from Starr’s Mill High School receiving the honor. The last award, Debate Coach of the Year, was announced as an unbreakable tie for the award with Garrett Abelkopt of Chattahoochee High School and Valdosta’s coach, Pamela Childress, sharing the award this year. Mrs. Childress is in her second year coaching and in the words of Mr. Miller, “is making quite a name for herself and her team.”

The Valdosta High Students who competed this weekend were: Lincoln Douglas Debate – Lorna Chitty (13th), Marquis Grant; Original Oratory – Mo Asebiomo(3rd), Erin Carter; Extemporaneous Speaking – Abbey Warren; Prose/Poetry – Brianna Crockett (6th); Impromptu Speaking – Kendrick Moody, Malique Wilkerson; Humorous Interpretation – Shala Belmer (9th).

The Valdosta High School Debate Team was assisted by alumni Spencer Leff and community member Alex Avery who judged both days of the tournament.

Brian Law
School Counselor
Parent Involvement/Public Relations Coordinator

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