This article was originally published in the fall 2012 Harker Quarterly.
Harker’s middle school speech and debate team capped another strong season on June 18, earning one of only three all-around school of excellence awards at the National Junior Forensic League (NJFL) National Championships in Indianapolis. This honor recognizes the combined accomplishment of the 26 students who competed. The team also extended their streak as one of the five recipients of the school of excellence in debate award to three consecutive years.
Aditya Dhar, now grade 8, earned an individual national championship – Harker’s third straight. He was joined in the final round of congress by teammate Alexander Lam, grade 8, who earned second place.
Harker also enjoyed its best performance to date at nationals in policy debate by advancing all three teams it entered. Numerous public forum debate teams advanced to elimination competition as well.
The all-around school of excellence award was made possible by a breakthrough for Harker’s forensics program, as the school entered a significant number of students in the speech events for the first time. Though the middle school speech program is new, several students excelled at the tournament.
Harker’s growing accomplishments at NJFL Nationals have occurred under the leadership of Karina Momary, the director of middle school forensics. This year the school also welcomed new assistant coach Marjorie Hazeltine, who has ably coached the fledgling group of speech competitors. The returning middle school students look forward to continuing their tradition of success next season in preparation for the 2013 NJFL Nationals in Birmingham, Ala.