Sacred Heart Greenwich makes history in 19th annual Speech and Debate Tournament



For the first time in the history of New York Catholic Forensics League (NYCFL) Speech and Debate, Sacred Heart Greenwich employed online ballots for judges in the 19th annual home tournament. This change punctuates a season of growth and success for the team.
Due to Sacred Heart’s advanced network capabilities, the league was able to use the innovation to increase the efficiency of judging. Through online balloting, judges are able to compile their comments and scores in a faster and more easily accessible way, in comparison to the traditional method of paper ballots.
As this is the first time the NYCFL has offered online balloting, many judges used traditional ballots for full commentary and only placed the competitors’ final scores online. Others, using the NYCFL’s scoring website, wrote all comments under the competitors score online. 

Piper Gilbert ’21, Meredith Wilson ’19, Emma DeMartino ’19, Sara Hecht ’19, Cara Janney ’19, and Morgan Wilkens ’21 represented Sacred Heart in the Speech and Debate tournament Saturday, January 27.
Daisy Steinthal ’19

To receive feedback on this new method of voting, the NYCFL will poll judges, students, and forensics teachers in the upcoming weeks to gauge the effectiveness of the experiment.
In competitions preceding and including the tournament Saturday, January 27, the Sacred Heart Speech and Debate team has worked to expand the breadth of the Sacred Heart program through increased participation in all categories of forensics.
Last year, Sacred Heart students participated in three speech categories: Oral interpretation (OI), Extemporaneous Speaking (Extemp), and, for the first time, Duo interpretation (Duo), as well as one debate category: Student Congress.
This year, under the guidance of Upper School History Teacher and Speech and Debate Moderator Mr. Joseph Valentine and Middle School History Teacher Ms. Stephanie Haas, Sacred Heart sent three Upper School students to compete in an additional debate category, the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Forum, for the first time at Regis High School’s “Christmas Congress” tournament, Saturday, December 16, 2017.
At Regis, sophomores Emma Caruso and Gabriella Petrizzo each won one round of debate, placing them fifth and sixth overall, respectively. Junior Meredith Wilson also competed at the tournament and placed fourth overall with two wins.
“It was an honor to have a team that was able to go, and Ms. Haas was such a great teacher and prepared us to the best of her ability. We all had an amazing time despite the initial nervousness,” Emma said. “If we want to have even more opportunities to participate in these events we would need to expand our debate team and include more members.”
Meredith Wilson ’19 and Cara Janney ’19 placed first in the Duo Interpretation category.
Daisy Steinthal ’19

The team has also grown in their participation and ranking in the Duo category since last year. Meredith and junior Cara Janney are currently Sacred Heart’s Duo group. In last year’s Sacred Heart tournament, the pair placed fourth overall and represented the school in the NYSFL State Championship Tournament.
Most recently, the pair performed the piece “How to Interpret Dually” by Luke Meeken and Rob Schultz in the Duo category at the home tournament, winning first place. With this same piece, the team placed second overall at the joint Regis and Loyola High School Tournament Saturday, January 13.
“I’m really proud of us and also the whole team,” Cara said. “Over the past two years we have really grown as performers, and it was so exciting and gratifying to see all of the work that we put into our pieces culminate in a win for the team.”
Sacred Heart seniors Kate Ruberti and Tiara Macintosh, freshmen Piper Gilbert and Morgan Wilkens, and sophomore Valentina Grether participated in the Student Congress debate category; however, none of the students placed as finalists in the category. Pelham Memorial High School freshman Isaac Blackburn placed first in Student Congress.
Sacred Heart also had seven students, sophomores Emma Caruso and Elexa Wilson and juniors Emma DeMartino, Sara Hecht, Laura Ferrucci, Olivia Batal, and Meredith Wilson, participating in the Varsity Oral Interpretation category. Meredith placed sixth and Charlotte Irwin, a junior at Scarsdale High School, placed first.
Selise Bourla Scarsdale High School ’19 received a first place trophy for her performance in the Original Oratory category.
Daisy Steinthal ’19

Sophomore Emery John from Bronx High School of Science won the Declamation category, junior Kate Levin from Scarsdale High School won the Dramatic Performance category, freshman Stephanie Chen from Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City won Junior Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking, freshman Isabella Lelis from Scarsdale High School won Junior Varsity Oral Interpretation, junior Selise Bourla from Scarsdale High School won first place in Original Oratory, and senior Alicia Rivera from Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City won Programmed Oral Interpretation.
Society of the Sacred Heart Network school, Convent of the Sacred Heart New York City, won the Tournament with 106 points.
“Our hosting tournament is incredibly special to all of us, and it was wonderful to see how the team has grown from the beginning of the year until now, as well as seeing some of the girls have a very successful first tournament,” Meredith said. “The new electronic ballots were a unique twist, and it was definitely exciting for all of the judges to have this convenient method of scoring performances.”
-Daisy Steinthal, Photo Editor and Features Editor