Community Members Gather to Dedicate Speech and Debate Wall of Fame

Earlier this month during Homecoming and Reunion weekend, alumni, parents, past parents, and students gathered in the lobby of Stirn Hall to dedicate Hawken’s new Speech & Debate Wall of Fame.

The Wall of Fame recognizes 69 alumni who were state champions or state runners-up or who placed in the top six at one or more of these national championship tournaments:
  • The National Speech and Debate National tournament
  • The University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions
  • The National Catholic Forensic League Grand Nationals
Five members of the class of 2023 have already qualified for the Wall of Fame and will be added once they graduate. For a full listing of honorees click here.
Debate Coach Bob Shurtz credited his colleague, mentor, and friend, the late Dr. Larry Banks, for launching the Hawken Speech and Debate Team about 45 years ago. This year marks the 30th year that the Hawken team has qualified students to the national tournament. With about 20 percent of the student body on the team, speech and debate has grown over the years to become the largest extra-curricular activity at Hawken. Hawken is currently the second largest team in the state of Ohio and the 28th largest team in the nation.
Special thanks were extended to the Swingos Family, in particular Melissa Ferchill Swingos ’87 and James Swingos ’16, for their support of speech and debate over the years and for funding the Wall of Fame. Missy eloquently articulated what the program meant to her son James and the impact it had on him at Hawken, at Harvard University, and now in his career.
Team president Abhi Chundru ’23 and one of the vice-presidents, Sasha Turner ’23, closed out the program describing their experience on the team and the impact it has had on each of them.
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