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The Deering High School Debate Team racked up awards at the Maine State Championship Speech and Debate Tournament at Thornton Academy in Saco on Jan. 26.
Deering Juniors Glynis O’Meara and Aidan Reid came in first in the Varsity Public Forum. Aidan Blum-Levine, a 10th-grader, and ninth-grader Linh Nguyen won the championship for the Novice Public Forum — which is open to freshmen and sophomores in their first year of interscholastic debate — and ninth-graders Balqies Mohamed and Emily Cheung came in second.
The Deering team also won the Sportsmanship Award, which was chosen by a vote of all 27 schools competing.
At the event, put on by the Maine Forensic Association, students debated the resolution “The United States federal government should prioritize reducing the federal debt over promoting economic growth.”
Coach Brian Dodge said he was “ecstatic” about the team’s performance, saying he is “incredibly proud.”
“Deering Debate has consistently improved every year I’ve coached them. Last year was a tremendous success as well, but we’ve never won so many awards or done so well as individuals or a team at the state tournament.”
Dodge, who also is the president of Maine Forensic Association, said Deering has won three individual state champions in six years.
“All I can say is that no other school in the state has dominated a category of debate like we have with Public Forum over the past couple of years,” he said. “We are the best in the state when it comes to Public Forum. To be this good in a category and at multiple levels (novice and varsity) is almost unheard of.”
Eighth-grader Parker Bate won the Mt. Ararat Middle School competition of the National Geographic Bee and a chance at a $50,000 college scholarship.
The runner up of the Jan. 23 competition was sixth-grader Brady Yazwinski.
Other finalists included sixth-graders Islah Godo and Caleb Galgovitch, seventh-graders Folsom Streeter and Maggie Whalen and eighth-graders Gavin Gaydos and Ella Bergeron, who all answered questions on geography in the first round of the 31st annual National Geographic Bee.
All Mt. Ararat Middle School students participate in the GeoBee to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for countries and cultures around the world and in their own community.
Parker will take a qualifying test to be one of up to 100 top scorers in each state who will then be eligible to compete in the state Bee next month.
Mt. Ararat GeoBee champion Parker Bate, center, with, from left, runner-up Brady Yazwinski, Principal Josh Ottow and social studies teacher Jon Beede.
Falmouth native John Bishop Wahlig III has been selected to participate in the Senate Page Program for the spring of 2019. Wahlig, who was nominated by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is the son of John and Jennifer Wahlig of Falmouth.