Seven students in speech and debate are competing in the Nationals tournament in Denver Colorado from May 11-13. The team consists the individuals: Tanner Schlueter 11th, Nicky Shaheen 12th, Jordan Deitch 11th, Trenton Colon 11th, Emma Segundo 11th, Sriya Chekuri 9th, and Nadya Garcia 11th. The competition that these students are attending is called NIETOC, which stands for National Individual Event Tournament of Champions.


The NIETOC is hosting its sixth annual national tournament on the campus of Denver East high school in Colorado. The competition offers the events: Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Original Oratory, Duet Acting, Prose, Poetry, and Expository Speaking will be featured as supplemental events. This event offers rewards for both students and teachers who participate to have a chance to earn coaching workshops, networking opportunities, and college scholarships. Vets students are competing in the events: Nicky Shaheen and Tanner Schlueter in DA (duet acting), Sriya Chekuri in OO (original oratory), Jordan Deitch in DI, Nadya Garcia in DI, Emma Segundo and Nadya Garcia  in DA (duet acting).


For students to qualify to the NIETOC, they must accumulate two bids. To achieve a bid, one must: earn first place which ranges 20 and less contestants, first/second/third place will earn a bid towards 20-34 contestants, all Final Round contestants will earn a bid ranging from 35-50 contestants, all Semi-Final Round contestants will earn a bid 51-70 contestants all Quarter-Final Round contestants will earn a bid from 71-99 contestants, and in all Octo-Final Round contestants will earn a bid which is 100+ contestants.


“For those who want to compete, never give up,” junior Tanner Schlueter said. “Competitions like speech and debate can be really hard at time, for instance say you don’t place or make it far. I’ve learned that there is always another tournament and you need the determination to win if u want to make it far. Also practice, I practice daily and it pays off.”


Although this tournament brings attention towards our school and students, Nicky Shaheen and Tanner Schlueter have made veterans history to compete at NSDA, which stands for the National Speech and Debate Association in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This is considered one of the most prestigious Nationals and to qualify for this tournament you must rank in the top two per event out of your region.     


“My partner and I qualified in duo interp, we are also the first ever qualifiers for our school,” senior Nicki Shaheen said.“I have been dreaming about this day since I was a freshman, with hard work and determination my partner and I have finally accomplished a shared goal.”


These two students place a major importance in representing our school and the speech and debate team. This major tournament that Shaheen and and Schlueter are participating will be from June 17-22.


“Personally I’m excited and honored to compete at both of these tournaments,” Schlueter said.“I feel a positive impact that helped me get to where I am is my coach, she is always helping when I need it and pushing me to try new things. Also I wouldn’t be there without the help and support of my family.”


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