Three students qualify for NCFA Nationals


Senior Nicole Overbay views her NCAF Original Oratory entry, “Cultural Stigma Around Death,” on her laptop in her home. Overbay recently found out she qualified for the NCFL National Tournament that would have been held May 23-24. The event has been canceled due to concerns over COVID-19.

Story by Isabella Yennie, Reporter

On April 30, Aleesa Hill (LD Debate), Nicole Overbay (Original Oratory), and Aubri Stewart (Oral Interpretation) became 2020 National Catholic Forensic League qualifiers. Due to the pandemic, the three had to either submit their entry online or compete live. 

Senior Aleesa Hill debated live through Google Meet. Competitors would log on early to share evidence before judges arrived. Hill discussed her topic “Predictive Policing is Unjust.” Normally results are posted shortly after the debate, but Hill was very eager to see them. 

“I kept refreshing the page for over two hours,” Hill said. “It felt like all my work had paid off, and it was an accomplishment with everything else being cancelled senior year.” 

Senior Nicole Overbay qualified for nationals a second year in a row. In her video, she explained her topic “Cultural Stigma Around Death.” Unfortunately, the group will not be able to attend the event in Chicago. Nonetheless, Overbay feels grateful for the opportunity. 

“Senior year was coming to a close, so it’s like the ribbon on top of a present,” Overbay said. “I’m able to compete virtually at least. It means a lot more to me than if everything was just going normal.” 

Junior Aubri Stewart was surprised by her win. Stewart joined Speech & Debate at the second semester of her junior year. She also qualified for two finals and competed in a varsity tournament. Stewart memorized her piece “Before Women had Wings” for her video submission. Speech & Debate Coach Mr. Phelps helped Stewart during class so she could perform her best. 

“I was shocked, I was like why me?” Stewart said. “Every single day he would push me. We never settled, and I love that about Phelps.” 

The NCFL National Tournament is cancelled. The students would have competed May 23-24 in Chicago.