New Mexico Students Represent Big at Nationals!

From June 14-20, top students from New Mexico competed in the world’s largest academic competition in Dallas, TX: the National Speech and Debate Tournament.

This year’s tournament introduced a new debate event called World Schools Debate. And a team of students from New Mexico won the first place championship in this historic event. The students included: Areeg Abd-Alla from La Cueva; Jessica Berry from Albuquerque Academy; Jonathan Hasse from La Cueva; Sajilla Hossain from La Cueva; and Ani Nadiga from Los Alamos. Melissa Brown of Farmington and Lisa Lincoln of Desert Academy served as coaches of our World Schools teams.

East Mountain High School Senior Adelynn Nee qualified to the final round in the event Extemporaneous Commentary, finishing 6th place out of 220 students. Albuquerque Academy Senior Ria Mazumdar advanced to the semifinal round of United States Extemporaneous Speaking, placing 13th overall. Taos High School Seniors Shay Moon and Khaled Khweis advanced to Round 10 of Public Forum Debate, placing them in the top 30 of teams nationwide.

All of our students represented New Mexico well. Our first place finish in World Schools Debate just goes to show the power of our district’s ability to collaborate. This was not just one school’s victory-it was a victory for our entire district. Students representing multiple schools working together with coaches from many schools made this success a possibility. Big things continue to happen in New Mexico!

Several coaches from New Mexico also received outstanding recognition. Head coach of East Mountain High School, Trey Smith, was named Runner-Up National Coach of the Year. Additionally, coach of Rio Grande High School, Louie Chavez, and Hannah Flake of East Mountain High School, were both presented with the Diamond Award, an honor reserved for coaches with 1,500 points and at least five years of coaching experience.

In all, eleven New Mexico schools were represented at this prestigious event: Albuquerque Academy, Desert Academy, East Mountain High School, Eldorado, Jemez Mountain Home School, La Cueva, Los Alamos, Rio Grande, Santa Fe Prep, St. Pius, and Taos High School.

Chair of the New Mexico District, Trey Smith, noted “New Mexico continues to be recognized as one of the top states for Speech and Debate competition in the nation. To win the first ever championship in World Schools Debate is an incredible achievement for our state. Education news in New Mexico is rarely positive, but our speech and debate programs are proving to be the best of the best.

About the National Speech & Debate Association

The National Speech & Debate Association is the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school, high school, and collegiate students in the United States. The Association provides competitive speech and debate activities, high-quality resources, comprehensive training, scholarship opportunities, and advanced recognition to more than 130,000 students and coaches every year. For nearly 90 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has empowered more than 1.4 million members to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders in our society. For more information, visit