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District 196 students and schools earn national speech and debate honors
District 196 students and schools earn national speech and debate honors

Nine District 196 students were finalists in their category of competition and three of the district’s high schools earned top team honors at this year’s National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament held June 16-21 in Des Moines, Iowa. 

For team honors, Apple Valley and Eastview were both selected Schools of Excellence in Speech, and Eagan High School was a top-20 School of Excellence in Debate based on the number of rounds of competition their students completed during this year’s tournament.

Apple Valley had five finalists in four events, including Isaiah Craig and Aquilla Dunn, third in duo interpretation; Mfaz Mohamed Ali, third in original oratory; Hodan Husen, sixth place in original oratory, and Aniya Bostick, sixth in program oral interpretation. For Mohamed Ali, it was her third straight year as a national tournament finalist, having won the championship in humorous interpretation in 2022 and third place in original oratory last year and again this year. Monisha Suresh and Neal Rajvansh of Eastivew finished fifth in duo interpretation, and in Congressional debate (Senate), Awa-Bilan Amarreh of Eastview took eighth place and Jacob Braginsky of Eagan finished 17th of the top-20 students who made the finals. 

District 196 students who advanced to the semifinal rounds included Sahiti Atluri of Eastview, who placed eighth in humorous interpretation this year after taking sixth place last year, and Mason Hoekenga of Eagan finished in 12th place in impromptu.

District 196 schools and students have a long record of success in speech and debate at the state, regional and national levels. In the history of the state speech tournament, Apple Valley ranks first in the number of state champions all time, with 94 in its 48-year history (opened in 1976); Eagan is second with 70 state champions in its 34-year history (opened in 1990), and Eastview is seventh all time, with 31 state champions in its 27-year history (opened in 1997). Apple Valley and Eagan also rank first and second in total medals won all time, with 441 and 348, respectively, and Eastview ranks fifth with 176 state speech medals.