American Heritage Schools’ Record-Making Speech and Debate Team State Champions for Third Year  

Boca Raton, FL – The prestigious American Heritage Schools are proud to announce that the Speech and Debate Team from their Broward Campus was awarded State Champions for a third straight year. The team competed at the Florida Forensic League (FFL) Varsity State Championship Tournament in Orlando, Florida.

There were approximately 600 students representing 63 schools from across the State of Florida in attendance of the competition, and a record-making 29 students from American Heritage Schools’ Broward Campus qualified at the regional tournament held prior. Each student earned points toward a team sweepstakes.

“We are so excited for these students and deeply proud of their collective efforts in bringing this goal to fruition,” said Ryan Leveque, director of speech and debate at American Heritage Schools’ Broward Campus. “Our students have persevered through virtual competitions, distance coaching, canceled trips, and more over the past couple of years. To see them all come together this year as a full team, set a goal to be state champions, and then achieve that goal together, in person, has been inspiring.”

Two students earned individual state championships in their respective categories – Abigail Canalejo in Dramatic Interpretation and Esther Oyetunji in Original Oratory. Other high-ranking titles earned in the Duo Interpretation category went to Kennedy Hack-Juman and Jaimee Canalejo in second place. Oliver Laczko received second place in the Humorous Interpretation category. The Policy Debate category included Mason Cheng & Spencer Swickle (also earning fourth place speaker) in second place.

Oliver Laczko won third place in the Dramatic Interpretation category and Carly Aikens won fourth place in Original Oratory. In the Policy Debate category, Prateek Gupta won first place speaker and Jin Kwon won third place speaker. In the category of Humorous Interpretation, Kennedy Hack-Juman was awarded third place, Jaimee Canalejo was awarded fourth place, and Saanya Dham was a semifinalist. In the Lincoln Douglas Debate category, Emilin Mathew was a quarterfinalist and first place speaker, Mary Abi Karam, quarterfinalist, and Asha Patra, an octofinalist.

For the Program Oral Interpretation category, Abigail Canalejo won third place. In Impromptu Speaking, Aurora Lai was a semifinalist and Carly Aikens was awarded fifth place. The International Extemporaneous Speaking category found two semifinalists with Toby Winick and Ronak Patel. Suriya Gadh earned semifinalist for Informative Speaking and the Student Congressional Debate’s seventh place winner was Zoe Weissman.

A new category, After Dinner Speaking, gave wins to Lindsay Cohen in third place, Anya Pinto in fifth place, Matthew Ruiz in sixth place, and three semifinalists, Toby Winick, Isabella Verde, and Ayla Ramazanova.

Leveque continued, “They are so grateful for the chance to be teammates and have truly outdone themselves. They give me so much hope for the future. Winning is merely a byproduct of their passion for the activity and the joy of the experience together as a team. We could all stand to learn from them. The future is bright!”

The American Heritage Broward Speech and Debate team is coached by Ryan Leveque, Spencer Orlowski and Joele Denis. 

American Heritage Schools is the No. 1 private school in Florida for nationally-recognized scholars in math competition, science fair, mock trial, moot court, and speech and debate. Alumni are notable leaders in their chosen fields who are generating positive differences in the world. American Heritage Schools is an independent, non-sectarian, co-educational, college preparatory school in South Florida serving grades Pre-K3 to 12.

About American Heritage Schools: American Heritage Schools, founded in 1965, is a nationally-ranked private, nonsectarian, and co-educational college preparatory day school with two 40-acre campuses: the Broward Campus is located in Plantation, Florida and the Palm Beach Campus is located in Delray Beach, Florida.  Its campuses serve approximately 4,650 students in PK3 through 12th grades; the student body represents over 60 different countries throughout the world. Approximately 70 percent of the faculty hold postgraduate degrees. American Heritage Schools is nationally and internationally accredited by the following associations: Association of Independent Schools of Florida (AISF), Middle States Association (MSA-CESS), and National Council for Private Schools. The Lower School includes advanced classes and 15 electives, and the Upper School offers over 300 courses with 138 honors classes, 28 Advanced Placement classes, and 75 fine arts classes. Pre-professional programs are offered in pre-med, pre-law, pre-engineering, biomedical engineering, business & entrepreneurship, and computer science that are taught daily by doctors, surgeons, lawyers, judges, engineers, and computer scientists currently practicing in their fields. For 12 years, American Heritage Schools has been ranked the No. 1 high school in Florida for the highest number of National Merit Scholars, and the school is home to the No. 1 math competition team out of all private schools in the U.S. The Model UN team is top 5 in the nation, and the Speech and Debate team is in the top 1% in the nation. It is ranked among the top private schools in Florida in STEM, according to Niche. Its Science Research Institute enables students to conduct research on real-world problems, and its students have earned international recognition for their findings.

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