The Inaugural 2022 National Civics and Debate Championship

In November 2021, over 150 students from 26 Florida schools throughout the state descended on Orlando for the inaugural National Civics and Debate Championship (NCDC).
The 2021 NCDC, hosted by the Florida Education Foundation (FEF) and the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), challenged students to compete in all three speaking events – Congressional Debate, Impromptu Speaking, and Extemporaneous Speaking. Each debate was scored, and at the end of the weekend the champion was announced.

The FEF and the FDOE believe it is incredibly important to create opportunities for Florida’s colleges and universities to recruit talented students, who excel in civics and debate, to attend their institution. These students will no doubt pave the way for their generation in becoming civically literate and becoming great citizens.

As students, parents and coaches checked in, college recruiters welcomed teams to the event. Soon, students took over the common areas of the hotel to hover in small groups and prepare for the first round of debates – Congressional Debates.

Congressional debates simulate the U.S. legislative process in the Senate & House of Representatives. Students generate a series of bills and resolutions for debate in this event. Debaters alternate delivering speeches for and against the topic in a group setting, and an elected student serves as a presiding officer to ensure the debate flows smoothly.

After a long afternoon of competition, the day culminated with an Opening Dinner. The students heard inspiring remarks from Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, Florida legislators Senator Janet Cruz and Representative Randy Fine, and Volunteer Florida CEO Corey Simon.

Following the opening dinner, all students were invited to attend an ice cream social, complete with a DJ, to further network and relax after the day’s competitions.

Early the next day, students dove right into debate preparation. Saturday morning’s debate competition began with Extemporaneous Debate. In Extemporaneous Debate, students debate one-on-one on topics that are presented 30 minutes before the round, giving them limited preparation time. This year, some of the topics for these debates included whether the U.S. should use electronic ballots for voting, whether the U.S. Constitution is a "living document," and whether there should be term limits for Supreme Court Justices.

Saturday afternoon introduced the first ever of its kind - Extemporaneous Sports Analysis. Unlike a back-and-forth debate, Extemporaneous Sports Analysis involves only one student speaking. The relationship between sports, debate and civics are strong – each teaches students to be a good citizen. In Extemporaneous Sports Analysis, the student has 20 minutes to prepare a 5-minute speech answering a complex question surrounding sports. The speech must be delivered without notes and directly answer the question posed.

After dinner on Saturday, the students came together to enjoy an evening of Civics Trivia!

The final rounds of the competition began on Sunday morning with Impromptu Speaking and Extemporaneous Sports Analysis. In Impromptu Speaking, students have seven minutes to select a topic, then brainstorm, outline and deliver their speech, which must be given without notes and can be lighthearted or serious.

The National Civics and Debate Championship concluded on Sunday with an awards luncheon and ceremony. Over 60 awards were presented to the NCDC participants, including three awards honoring FCDI debate coaches for inspiring their students, and a first-of-its-kind student award called “The Freedom Cup.” The Freedom Cup is presented to a student who embodies what it means to be a great citizen.

The top 15 high school students and the top five middle school students in each event were recognized. The champions were determined based on each student’s results from the three days of competition.
Congratulations to the winners of the “Inspiring Coach” awards.
Coach Florence Petit – Pompano Beach High School – Broward County
Coach Robert Dolan – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
Coach Mark Taylor – Florida Virtual School Flex Program – Orange County


Before the champion was announced, “The Freedom Cup” was presented to Apopka High School’s Lindsey Grover. Nominated by her coach, Lindsey is described as always ready to lead as a captain and mentor for her team.

Finally, the overall champions were announced!

Middle School Division

CHAMPION – Simon Denahan – Kanapaha Middle School
2nd Place – Ollie Flanagan – Kanapaha Middle School

High School Division

CHAMPION – Alex Vihlan – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
2nd Place – Steven Dimitrakakis – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
3rd Place – Diego Mahoney – Timber Creek High School – Orange County
4th Place – Lindsey Grover – Apopka High School – Orange County
5th Place – Victor Cruz – South Lake High School – Lake County

Congratulations to all of the winners & champions:

Congressional Debate – Middle School Division

Champion – Michael Gomez – A.D. Henderson University School – Palm Beach County
2nd Place – Asher Licata – A.D. Henderson University School – Palm Beach County
3rd Place – Simon Denahan – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County
4th Place – Ana Sosa – Caloosa Middle School – Lee County
5th Place – Lenniya Allen – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County

Congressional Debate – High School Division

Champion – Riya Saraf – Florida Virtual School Flex Program – Orange County
2nd Place – Nicholas Ostheimer – FAU High School – Palm Beach County
3rd Place – Yash Upadhyay – Pompano Beach High School – Broward County
4th Place – Kayden Harmony-Greenstein – South Lake High School – Lake County
5th Place – Ray Estevez – Wellington High School – Palm Beach County
6th Place – Sebastian Frisch – Legacy High School – Orange County
7th Place – Lauren Beer – Wellington Community High School – Palm Beach County
8th Place – Lindsey Grover – Apopka High School – Orange County
9th Place – Joseph Campanella – Pompano Beach High School – Broward County
10th Place – Diego Mahoney – Timber Creek High School – Orange County
11th Place – Jad Dargam – Suncoast High School – Palm Beach County
12th Place – Alessandra Martins – Pompano Beach High School – Broward County
13th Place – Brianna Guinigundo – Timber Creek High School – Orange County
14th Place – Steven Dimitrakakis – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
15th Place – Morgan Chandler – Winter Haven High School – Polk County

Extemporaneous Debate – Middle School Division

Champion – Ollie Flanagan – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County
2nd Place – Simon Dehahan – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County
3rd Place – Michael Gomez – A.D. Henderson University School – Palm Beach County
4th Place – Nicolet Petrovic – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County
5th Place – Jake Rabinowitz – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County

Extemporaneous Debate – High School Division

Champion – Alex Vihlan – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
2nd Place – Andeew Petrousky – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
3rd Place – Kellie Munoz – South Lake High School – Lake County
4th Place – Sarah Hunnefield – Florida Virtual Flex Program – Duval County
5th Place – Lewis Huang – Apopka High School – Orange County
6th Place – Victor Cruz – South Lake High School – Lake County
7th Place – Fabiola Martinez – Timber Creek High School – Orange County
8th Place – Steven Dimitrakakisa – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
9th Place – Jason Miller – Wellington Community High School – Palm Beach County
10th Place – Alexis Arzuaga – Timber Creek High School – Orange County
11th Place – Christian Belen – Timber Creek High School – Orange County
13th Place –Lindsey Grover – Apopka High School – Orange County
14th Place – Kayden Harmony Greenstein – South Lake High School – Lake County
15th Place – Cameron Isler – Lake Brantley High School – Seminole County

Impromptu Speaking – Middle School Division

Champion – Nicolet Petrovic – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County
2nd Place – Ollie Flanagan – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County
3rd Place – Jake Rabinowitz – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County
4th Place – Siara Ransom – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County
5th Place – Simon Denahan – Kanapaha Middle School – Alachua County

Impromptu Speaking – High School Division

Champion – Arik Karim – A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts – Palm Beach County
2nd Place– Alex Vihlan – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
3rd Place – Lindsey Grover – Apopka High School – Orange County
4th Place – Jakub Rucinski – Pompano Beach High School – Broward County
5th Place – Diego Mahoney – Timber Creek High School – Orange County
6th Place – Andrea Ruiz – Timber Creek High School – Orange County
7th Place – Nicholas Ostheimer – FAU High School – Palm Beach County
8th Place – Samuel Johnson – Wellington Community High School – Palm Beach County
9th Place – Reanna Robinson – Timber Creek High School – Orange County
10th Place – Sofia Mohring – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
11th Place – Mateo Rey – FAU High School – Palm Beach County
12th Place – Victor Cruz – South Lake High School – Lake County
13th Place – Steven Dimitrakakis – Lake Mary Preparatory School – Seminole County
14th Place – Christian Bailey – Fort Walton Beach High School – Okaloosa County
15th Place – Ray Estevez – Wellington Community High School – Palm Beach County

Extemporaneous Sports Analysis Awards

Champion – Sebastian Santana – Christopher Columbus High School – Miami/Dade County
2nd Place – Will Waller – Samuel Wolfson High School – Nassau County
3rd Place – Martin Seals – Christopher Columbus High School – Miami/Dade County
As talented and skilled competitors in debate, these students will no doubt pave the way for their generation in becoming civically literate and being great citizens of Florida and this great nation.
Congratulations to all winners and competitors. We are looking forward to next year’s event!
Want to see more photos from the event? For the full gallery, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/fldoe/sets/72157720149212261/.
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