Three Vermilion High School students compete in national tournament

By: Melanie Williamson

In late June, three members of the Vermilion High School Speech and Debate team traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to participate in the National Tournament. This tournament is touted as being the “largest academic contest in the world” with over 2500 students competing in 13 different categories.

David Dotson, Nikki Peter, and Julia Bartlome qualified for participation in the national tournament through their achievements in local, regional, and state tournaments. They then spent the last couple months of school fundraising to pay for their trip to nationals, and practicing for the competition.

Dotson tied for 40th in the Nation in Big Questions Debate.  Of note, Dotson was the only debater to beat the eventual National Champion in preliminary rounds.  He also cleared to the 4th round of Extemporaneous Debate, placing in the top 35% of the Nation.

Peter tied for 9th in the nation in world schools debate. She was a member of the North Coast District debate team with students from Mentor High School, University School, and Hathaway Brown School.  She is the only student in the history of Vermilion High School to advance past preliminary rounds at Nationals.

Bartlome tied for 206th in Program of Oral Interpretation.  She also cleared to the 3rd round of Prose, placing in the top 40% of the Nation.

Each of these students along with the many other members of the Vermilion speech and debate team worked tirelessly preparing for and participating in tournaments all while proudly representing Vermilion High School. Devon Snook, the speech and debate teacher has dedicated a great deal of time to working with all students interested in speech and debate to achieve their personal best. On the urging of Snook, the district paid for the cost of transportation to the national tournament.


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