The Buchanan High School speech and debate team was one of two schools in the nation to receive National Charter Status this year from the National Speech & Debate Association.
In order to receive the honor, the Bears had to have earned more than 50 degrees for outstanding participation in speech and debate activities over the past three years. The “National Charter” status is the highest recognition a team can receive as part of the association.
“Charter membership reflects sustained commitment to speech and debate,” Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association J. Scott Wunn said in a press release. “We are extremely proud of our charter schools, coaches, and students for their hard work and passion for speech and debate.”
The Bears are currently in the heart of their qualifying season trying to get as many students as possible qualified for Nationals in June in Birmingham, Alabama. Their next biggest competition is April 28 where they have two students qualified and competing in the California High School Speech Association State Championships at Arcadia High School.
“Qualifying for state is the individual goal for a lot of my students because it’s the individual that qualifies for nationals, it’s not the team that qualifies,” said Ben Cummings, head coach of the Forensics team. “My goal for the team is to be able to provide a place for kids to practice those skills, and my goal as their coach is to help them use those skills in a variety of areas and help them learn new ideas and engage with these topics that they’re never going to discuss otherwise.”
Buchanan Principal Ricci Ulrich took the plaque the team got for earning National Charter status and put it up next to all the football trophies in the front office.
“It’s truly an honor for this school and I’m happy our students are being recognized like that,” Cummings said. “It’s actually a really great feeling to know that we’re being recognized for the work we’re doing, the hours and time that we’ve put into forensics is astronomical. We’re competitive two times a month for the entirety of the school year so we’re just constantly going to competitions.”