MILTON, Ga. - Nico Leis and Madison Landis, members of the Cambridge High School (CHS) debate team, qualified for the Georgia varsity state championship by finishing as the co-champions of the Sequoyah Autumn Argument at Sequoyah High School in Cherokee County on Nov. 9.
Leis attended debate camp, taught himself and coached Landis in order to create a debate team and qualify for this tournament.
Out of the 34 speakers at the debate tournament, Leis, a sophomore at CHS, won the third speaker award.
Landis, a freshman at CHS, was in the top third of the speakers as well.
The success of these two underclassmen is out of the ordinary at this level. Juniors and seniors predominately qualify for state championships.
In fact, most freshmen are novices (novel debaters) and rarely compete, let alone qualify for these championships.
“We definitely have better and more dedicated debaters this year,” Leis said. “It's what we need considering we only have 10 debaters, of which eight are novices.”
The state championship will be held March 8-9.
Cambridge teacher and sponsor Madeleine Patrick and Leis, the debate coach and captain, are working hard to expand the debate program at the school.
In the meantime, the Cambridge High School debate team is looking forward to competing at the University of Georgia and Milton High School.
“We will start prepping for the state championship closer to February,” Leis said, “Although, we will be debating the same topics as we did at Sequoyah, there will be a lot more research involved this time around; especially because the Atlanta debate circuit is exceptionally competitive and we're still an upcoming team.”