Author Archives: Lisa

Congratulations to the Orators and Info speakers for their fantastic showing at the 2021 GFCA Varsity State Championships!

Congratulations to the Orators and Info speakers for their fantastic showing at the 2021 GFCA Varsity State Championships!

Their hard work and dedication paid off, no small feat in the midst of a pandemic. Being able to share information, experiences and thoughts with others is the hallmark of any speaking event and these Jesters proved their mettle.

Great job, and congrats to Matthew Vincent, 4th in Informative; Nora Ball, 3rd in Informative Speaking, Salaam Awad, 3rd in Original Oratory and Lucia Fernandez, captain of Oratory/Informative and STATE CHAMPION in Original Oratory.

Varsity State Champions for the 12th Year in a Row!

Congratulations to the Grady Jesters

Varsity State Champions for the 12th Year in a Row!

What a weekend and what a way to close out the final season as the GRADY Jesters!

First, let me say congratulations to Dr. Betsy Bockman, named Administrator of the Year by the Georgia Forensics Coaches Association! A well-deserved honor indeed. Thank you for your continued support!

This past weekend, the Jesters won their 12th GFCA Varsity State Championship in a row! Every single competition attended this year was virtual, as was the State Tournament. The fortitude, dedication and talent of this team is without measure. Their hard work paid off!

Here is how we fared in individual events:

Public Forum Debate: Elena Hubert and Everett Stubin, Runners-up; Griffin Richie, 9th Speaker

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Peter Haynes, Quarterfinalist; Lauren Scaffidi, Semifinalist; Aran Sonnad-Joshi, 5th Speaker; Kelly Tran, 3rd Speaker

Informative Speaking: Matthew Vincent, 4th Place; Eleanor Ball, 3rd Place

Impromptu Speaking: George Lefkowicz, 2nd Place; Lucia Fernandez, CHAMPION

Original Oratory: Salaam Awad, 3rd Place; Lucia Fernandez, CHAMPION

Extemporaneous Speaking: Bryant Hodgson, Semifinalist; Ava Smith, 5th Place; Maeve Malaney-Lau, 3rd Place; Oliver Gray, 2nd Place; George Lefkowicz, CHAMPION

Varsity Student Congress: 4th Place, Nicolas Kamel; Ava Smith, 2nd Place; George Lefkowicz, CHAMPION

A HUGE thank you to our Parent Boosters who provided yard signs and lunch for all competitors as well as help to create an atmosphere of support. We really couldn’t do it without you!

And thanks to the staff at Grady High School for your support as well. It means a lot.

Look for highlights on each event and category on Twitter, FaceBook, and over the coming weeks.

Mario Herrera

Jesters Qualify for Nationals in Seven Events

Congrats to the Jesters who qualified at the Georgia Northern Mountain NSDA National Qualifier in late February

Nationals will be held virtually again this year, with the tournament still the largest high school competition in the world! Qualifying is no easy task, so these Jesters have really stepped up to the plate! Here is how we fared:

Public Forum Debate: Elena Hubert & Everett Stubin, Qualifiers; Griffin Richie & Sechan Tak, Qualifiers

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Peter Haynes, Qualifier; Lauren Scaffidi, Alternate; Aran Sonnad-Joshi, Alternate; Kelly Tran, Alternate

Congressional Debate: Sayan Sonnad Joshi, Alternate

Informative Speaking: Eleanor Ball, Qualifier; Matthew Vincent, Alternate

International Extemp: Oliver Gray, Qualifier; Bryant Hodgson, Alternate

Original Oratory: Lucia Fernandez, Qualifier; Ava Smith, Qualifier

United State Extemp: George Lefkowicz, Qualifier; Maeve Malaney-Lau, Qualifier; Ava Smith, Alternate

District Assistant Coach of the Year: Susan Ramsey

District Student of the Year: George Lefkowicz

Winner of Congress Sweepstakes, Debate Sweepstakes, Speech Sweepstakes (tie) and Overall Sweepstakes Winner!! 

First and Second Year Jesters Shine and Varsity Student Congress Team Dominates

The Jesters competed this weekend at the First/Second Year State Championships and the Varsity Student Congress. The team had an AWESOME showing, with students bringing home 7 State Championships!

Here are results:

1st/2nd Year State

1st Year Public Forum Debate: Zach Spangler and Jamie Marlowe, CHAMPIONS; Augie Werthman & Delia Schroeder, Semi-finalists; Charlie Suazo & Abby Hyken, Quarter-finalists; Abby Hyken, 10th Speaker; Charlie Suazo, 8th Speaker; Zach Spangler, 6th Speaker; Jamie Marlow, 4th Speaker

1st Year Policy Debate: Millan Bhatia and Shalin Gupta, Quarterfinalists

1st Year Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Harry Cook Semifinalist; Harry Cook, TOP SPEAKER

2nd Year Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Aran Sonnad-Joshi and Kelly Tran, CO-CHAMPIONS; Peter Haynes, Semifinalist

Extemporaneous Speaking: Sayan Sonnad-Joshi, CHAMPION; Ava Young, Runner-Up

Impromptu Speaking: Sayan Sonnad-Joshi, Runner-up; Ava Young, 3rd Place

Varsity Student Congress

George Lefkowicz, CHAMPION

Ava Smith, Runner-up

Nicolas Kamel, 4th Place

Finalists: Oliver Gray, Lucia Fernandez, Eleanor Ball, Sayan Sonnad-Joshi, Maeve Malaney-Lau


Thanks for your continued support! You can see all the results by clicking on the “Tournaments” page on this website:

Jesters Start 2021 Off with a Bang!

  The Jesters started off 2021 competing at two tournaments, the Alpharetta HS Treasure Hunt in Georgia and the Cavalier Classic Invitational in North Carolina. An incredible 21 students advanced to elimination rounds! Here is how we fared:

Alpharetta Treasure Hunt

Varsity Public Forum: Griffin Richie & Dana Richie, CO-CHAMPIONS; Elena Hubert & Everett Stubin, CO-CHAMPIONS; Griffin Richie, 4th Place Speaker; Cole Parker, 5th Place Speaker; Everett Stubin, 7th Place Speaker; Duncan Tanner, 8th Place Speaker; Elena Hubert, 9th Place Speaker Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Kelly Tran, Octofinals Novice Policy Debate: Shalin Bhatia & Millan Gupta, CHAMPIONS; Shalin Bhutia, 2nd Place Speaker; Millian Gupta, 3rd Place Speaker Novice Public Forum Debate: Jamie Marlowe and Zach Spangler, Finalists; Jamie Marlowe, TOP SPEAKER; Zach Spangler, 3rd Place Speaker; Delia Schroeder, 7th Place Speaker; Augustus Werthman, 9th Place Speaker Informative Speaking: Nora Ball, 3rd Place Original Oratory: Salaam Awad, tied for 2nd Place Extemporaneous Speaking: Oliver Gray, CHAMPION; Ava Smith, 3rd Place; Mark McClain, 5th Place  

Cavalier Classic Invitational

Extemporaneous Speaking: Maeve Malaney-Lau, Quarterfinalist; George Lefkowicz, Semifinalst Impromptu Speaking: Lucia Fernandez, Quarterfinalist  

2021 Sheard Excellence in Coaching

Our very own Mario Herrera was recognized with the 2021 Sheard Exellence in Coaching Award. We all know how special he is and how lucky we are to have him here at Grady! Here’s what they had to say about Mario:
Mario Herrera is the longtime coach at Henry W Grady HS (soon to be Midtown HS). He is a titan of our activity, but it isn’t the dominance of Grady Forensics that makes him worth of recognition. Mario approaches each moment in this activity as someone who is committed to doing the right thing and knowing that every person can grow from this activity. But Mario doesn’t just try to help students grow. He is a mentor to every coach around him. He works to find the best in each individual and inspire them to grow more. Mario is humble, grounded, and inspiring. This community is a better place because of Mario.
Thanks for your continued support!

Results from Chengdu, China: Congratulations to George and Griffin

I hope you all had a restful Thanksgiving Break!

Over break, the debate team of George Lefkowicz and Griffin Richie competed in the Chengdu, China Youth Debate Challenge. I’m happy to report that the team went undefeated in preliminary rounds, advanced to elimination rounds and ended up taking 5th place at the China/US competition. They are one of only 2 teams from the United States to be in the top 8 teams. It was a remarkable experience!

I know some asked if they could watch and I meant to let you know that the rounds were not open to the public or I would have invited everyone to sit in the debate rounds. But I told the debaters about the request and they were deeply touched. Thank you!

Thanks for your constant support!

Mario Herrera

The results are in from a busy weekend in Georgia and Arizona!

The Jesters were busy this weekend, competing in three different speech and debate tournaments: The Peach State Classic in Carrollton; Westminster Debates in Atlanta; and the Toro Country Classic in Mesa, AZ.  We advanced/received 28 awards this weekend!

Here is how we fared:

Toro Country Classic, Mesa, AZ

Impromptu Speaking: Lucia Fernandez, semifinalist; George Lefkowicz, semifinalist

Original Oratory: Lucia Fernandez, semifinalist

Extemporaneous Speaking: Jorge Navarrete, semifinalist; Oliver Gray, semifinalist; George Lefkowicz, 3rd Place

Peach State Classic

Congressional Debate: Jorge Navarrete, 5th Place; Oliver Gray, 4th Place; Lucia Fernandez, 2nd Place; George Lefkowicz, CHAMPION

Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Walker Land, 9th Speaker; Harry Cook, Top Speaker Harry Cook, 2nd Place

JV Public Forum Debate: Gabby Berger, 9th Speaker; Lilah Bransfield/Gabby Berger, CHAMPIONS

Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Aran Sonnad-Joshi, 9th Speaker; Kelly Tran, 7th Speaker; Peter Haynes, 6th Place; Lauren Scaffidi, TOP SPEAKER; Lauren Scaffidi, Quarterfinalist; Kelly Tran, Quarterfinalist; Peter Haynes, Semifinalist

Varsity Public Forum Debate:  Elena Hubert/Everett Stubin and Cole Parker/Griffin Richie, Octofinalists

Extemporaneous Speaking: Mark McClain, 4th Place; Ava Smith, CHAMPION

Impromptu Speaking: Sayan Sonnad-Joshi, 6th Place; Ava Young, 3rd Place

Informative Speaking: Matthew Vincent, 3rd Place; Nora Ball, 2nd Place

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