ORINDA -- Miramonte Public Speaking was one of the top 10 teams in the nation, earning School of Outstanding Distinction honors at the National Speech and Debate Association's tournament June 16-20, in Overland Park, Kansas.

The 10-member team, led by public speaking teacher and head coach Kristen Plant and coach Franck Reyherme, and retired coach Sandra Maguire, competed alongside some 3,300 students in the largest academic competition in the world, in a variety of events ranging from oratory-style speech to two-versus-two debate.

In the Congressional Debate, in which students debate legislation in a format similar to the U.S. Congress, graduated seniors Noah Goldstein, Connor Meckfessel, Ethan Miles, and Bennett Stehr continued Miramonte's tradition of excellence.

"I was most inspired when the chair of Congressional Debate pointed out that America is the greatest country in the world, not because here everything is perfect, but because here anything is possible," said Stehr, who will attend Georgetown University's renowned School of Foreign Service.

Miles placed seventh in the Senate, and Goldstein was a semifinalist in the House.

In a culmination of his high school career, graduated senior and California state champion Meckfessel earned second place in the country, and placed in the top five for the third consecutive year. He and fellow team member Asher Kalman earned debate scholarships to Lewis and Clark College, where they will be roommates and Parliamentary Debate partners.


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In Original Oratory, graduated senior Caie Kelley presented her speech educating people on the difference between being lonely and being alone.

Seniors Cecelia Andrews and Alexander Jang placed in the top 50 teams in Public Forum debate, arguing, "Resolved: NATO should strengthen its relationship with Ukraine to deter further Russian aggression."

Rising senior Fatima Hasanain and graduated senior Asher Kalman were semifinalists in Extemporaneous Speaking, where students prepare speeches answering current events questions. They also competed in Extemporaneous Commentary, where Hasanain was a semifinalist and Kalman finished fourth.

Graduated senior Charles Hinman finished with an rank of 11th out of hundreds among International Extemporaneous speakers.

The Miramonte program has 220 members, and are supported and sponsored by the Educational Foundation of Orinda, which provides specialized coaches and state-of-the-art resources and technology.