It’s Not up for Debate: Damien’s Hernandez and Ehrlich-Quinn are No. 1

June 23, 2009
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Denosthenes II

Denosthenes II

After surviving 15 rounds of competition and outlasting 200 debate teams over four days, Damien High School debaters Sean Hernandez and Reid Ehrlich-Quinn took first place in policy debate at the National Speech and Debate Tournament, sponsored by the National Forensic League (NFL) in Birmingham, Ala, June 19.

In the final debate, the Damien duo defeated a team from James Logan High School of Union City, the first-time in the 71-history of the event that two teams from California vied for the championship.

The debate topic was ā€œResolved: that the United States federal government should substantially increase alternative energy incentives in the United States.ā€ The Logan team defended the affirmative position; Damien took the negative side. As it turned out, eight of the 11 judges sided with Damien after hearing arguments from both teams.

With their award-winning rhetoric skills both Hernandez and Erlich-Quinn will be heard from again. Hernandez, 18, of Glendora, was awarded a full tuition scholarship to USC , where he will be a member of the debate team. Erlich-Quinn, 17, of Clarement, will be a senior at Damien and enjoy the reputation of being one of the nationā€™s most gifted high school debaters. Moreover his coach Chuck Ballingall will return for his 28th year as Damienā€™s debate coach. Ballingall was elected to the California High School Hall of Fame in 1998 and the National Forensics League Hall of Fame in 2008.

The National Forensic League is the nation’s oldest and largest debate and speech honor society. It Ā promotes secondary school speech and debate activities and interscholastic competition as a means to develop a studentā€™s lifelong skills and values and to increase the publicā€™s awareness of the value of speech, debate and communication education.

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