3 BGHS Speech and Debate students, Senior Alex Minter and Juniors Zoe Lebedinsky and Joshua Martin, have earned the impressive distinction of National Speech and Debate Association Academic All Americans. This coveted award recognizes students for their academic rigor, competitive speech and debate success, and personal excellence.
Minter, the son of Michael and Patti Minter, is a BGHS/Gatton Academy student who is the top-ranked Congressional Debater in Kentucky with a current total of 790 NSDA Honor Society Points. Minter started competing in speech and debate as a 7th grader and has qualified for 5 national tournaments. At last year’s NSDA National Tournament, he was a quarter-finalist in Congressional Debate.
Minter says, “Competing in Extemporaneous Speaking and Congressional Debate has helped me find my voice, taught me how to speak and present my ideas, and empowered me to feel more confident overall.”
Lebedinsky, the daughter of Alex and Cameron Lebedinsky, is the top-ranked NSDA Poetry competitor in the state and 68th in the nation, ranked 4th in Program Oral Interpretation, and top 25 in both Dramatic Interpretation and Oratory. Competing in speech and debate since 6th grade, Lebedinsky has earned well over 800 NSDA points and is ranked 26th overall in Kentucky.
Lebedinsky says, “Speech and debate encouraged me to develop my own opinions and listen to others in a way nothing else in my life has, and that’s something I’ll continue to practice in all other aspects of my life.”
Martin, a speech and debate competitor since 6th grade, is ranked 5th in Prose in Kentucky and 87th nationally, 9th in Program Oral Interpretation, and 12th in Oratory in the state. With over 800 total NSDA points, he’s ranked 35th overall in the state. He is the son of Keith and Janet Martin and will compete in his 5th national speech and debate tournament in May.
Martin says, “Speech and debate has been a launch pad in my life providing many valuable skills and experiences that have propelled me into almost every opportunity I’ve had.”
Of the 141,000 NSDA members worldwide, fewer than 2% earn the Academic All American Award every year. This tremendous accomplishment distinguishes the BGHS trio among the top NSDA student members across the country and brings the all-time total number of BGHS NSDA Academic All Americans to 12.
This prestigious award recognizes students who have completed at least five semesters of high school; earned 750 or more NSDA merit points for competitive excellence and speaking community service; proven academic excellence through rigorous coursework, a 3.5 or higher GPA and exceptional ACT score; and demonstrated outstanding character and leadership.
The BGHS Speech & Debate team is coached by Janet Martin who says, "Speech and debate provides life skills vital to a young person’s success, advances communication skills, improves reading, writing, and critical thinking skills, develops interpersonal skills, and prepares students for college, a career, and beyond."