National Forensic League Announces Winners of Presidential Debate Contest

Students Tackled Issues of Health Care, Education and Economy in Video Submissions

RIPON, Wis. (Dec. 3, 2012) – The National Forensic League, the speech and debate honor society, announces the winners of the “I Approve This Message” Presidential Debate Contest, which offered high school students the opportunity to debate pressing issues of health care, education and the economy. While many students who participated were too young to vote, this nationwide contest enabled students to tackle timely topics addressed by the presidential candidates during the campaign.

The three-week competition required League students to submit a five-minute persuasive speech that addresses a problem and proposes a solution within the topic category. Students were asked to cite studies, scholarly journal articles, news articles and other research, in addition to their own opinions. Experienced speech and debate coaches judged the student submissions, awarding points based on these criteria: analysis and reasoning, advocacy, research, and organization/clarity.

The 2012 Presidential Debate Contest winners are:

  • Health Care: Nakul Makkad, senior at Fairmont Preparatory Academy, Anaheim, Calif.
  • Education: Vidhaath Sripathi, senior at Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, N.J.
  • Economy and Overall Top Speaker: Nishesh Chaubey, junior at Southside High School, Greenville, S.C.

“These students demonstrated an impressive understanding of the most important issues facing our country,” said J. Scott Wunn, executive director of the National Forensic League. “We are proud of the winners, and all of our student members, who demonstrate an insatiable desire to be well vested in this country’s political process, and share their voices openly and effectively on these critical topics.”

Each of the winners earned prize packs that include a commemorative plaque, an Individual Resource Package and a t-shirt to proudly display their speech and debate prowess. As Overall Top Speaker, Chaubey also earned a Team Resource Package for his fellow classmates. Additionally, each winner will be recognized in the December issue of Rostrum, the League’s monthly publication.

To view the winning student submissions, visit the National Forensic League’s official contest website.

About National Forensic League
The National Forensic League is the honor society for middle and high school speech and debate. The nonprofit organization recognizes participation and progress in public speaking and debating activities as a means to meet the Common Core State Standards in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The League empowers students to become effective communicators, ethical individuals, critical thinkers, and leaders in our democratic society. Since 1925, more than 1.4 million students have participated in the League, with more than 120,000 active members representing nearly 3,000 schools. The League awards more than $200,000 in college scholarships at its annual National Tournament, the largest academic competition in the world. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

• Vicki Pape, National Forensic League, 920-748-6206,

• Emily Embury, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x19,

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