The Daily Item
DANVILLE — The Danville High School forensics team wrapped up their regular competition season at the National Forensic League (NFL) district tournament in Philadelphia recently. Fourteen members of Danville’s team participated in this speech and debate competition held at LaSalle College High School to determine which students will represent the Valley Forge District at the NFL national tournament in Birmingham, Ala. The national competition held in June includes thousands of students from all 50 states and several foreign countries. In order to compete there, Danville speakers needed to best all other competitors from eastern and central Pennsylvania.
Seniors Ryan Conrad and Ben Fait were undefeated in seven rounds of Public Forum debate on the topic “Resolved: The U.S. government should not require its citizens to have health insurance” to be awarded first place and a qualifying berth in the national tournament for the third year running.
Senior Steven Zhang became the first Danville student to be a national qualifier in each of his four years of competition. Steven took first place slots in both Congressional Debate House A, and International Extemporaneous Speaking, and finished second in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, and will compete in Alabama in the International category. Senior Talha Mukhtar finished in second place in the Congressional Debate Senate to secure a berth at the national tournament.
Ben Fait, recently named an NFL All-American in recognition of his excellence in the classroom and his commitment to speech and debate, was awarded the Valley Forge District Student of the Year and will be in competition for the NFL National Student of the Year award — the highest individual student award presented by the National Forensic League to a graduating senior. The National Student of the Year is awarded to the one member of the National Forensic League who has best represented the tenets of the NFL Code of Honor: integrity, respect, humility, leadership, and service.
Other students who were top competitors for Danville included Barron Williams, who finished fourth in Lincoln-Douglas debate, Megan Moro who placed fifth in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, and Taylor Mahaffy, finishing sixth in Humorous Interpretation.
The Danville team as a whole won first place out of 23 schools in the overall sweepstakes, having high marks in all categories: taking first in congress events, and second in both speech and debate events.
Danville High School has belonged to the national league for the last 30 years. In addition to the NFL Danville is a member of the National Catholic Forensic League, and eight students qualified to compete at the Grand National tournament to be held in Philadelphia, PA over Memorial Day weekend. Fifteen students qualified in the district tournament of the Pennsylvania High School Speech League and faced competition from across all of Pennsylvania at Susquehanna University on March 22-23.