Thomas-McGinnis Becomes National Debate Champion

Conal Thomas-McGinnis with his first place trophy for middle school Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Conal Thomas-McGinnis.

Incoming Valley Southwoods Freshman High School student Conal Thomas-McGinnis won the junior high Lincoln-Douglas debate tournament at the 2015 National Speech and Debate Tournament. The incoming ninth-grader is the second national champion from the WDMCS district in three years; incoming junior Trent Gilbert was the national champion in 2013.

At the same tournament this year, recent Valley High School graduates Rishi Shah and Brody Diehn made it to round 11 in policy debate, making them one of the top 24 high school policy debate teams in the country.

Recent Valley grad Nolan Dahm was the 10th speaker in the policy division, and Gilbert made it to round eight in high school Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Incoming seventh-graders Bevan Fogdall and Isabella Nadel were octofinalists in policy debate, and incoming eighth-grader Animesh Joshi was an octofinalist for Lincoln-Douglas debate. Incoming freshman Joseph Whisler made it to double-octofinals (top 32) for Lincoln-Douglas debate.

The Valley debate team was founded in 1968. High school and junior high school students can participate in debate. The team attends 35–40 competitions per year, traveling to different locations including Yale and Stanford universities. This year’s National Speech and Debate Tournament was held in Dallas by the National Speech and Debate Association.

(Photo credits: David McGinnis)