Hundreds of Students from Across the Nation Compete in The Great Debate: ‘Florida is Leading the Way’

November 16, 2022 Updated 12:51 PM ET

State Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. attends Miami Dade College Medical Campus roundtable (12/13/21)
State Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. attends Miami Dade College Medical Campus roundtable (12/13/21)

ORLANDO (FLV) – 400 students from across the nation competed in The Great Debate, hosted by the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative (FCDI), a program from the Florida Education Foundation and Florida Department of Education.

After three days of competition across three speech and debate categories, Sofia Mohring from Lake Mary Preparatory School was crowned the high school champion and Daniella Rothberg from I-Prep Academy North was crowned the middle school champion of The Great Debate.

The event took place at the Caribe Royale Resort and Lake Buena Vista High School in Orlando from Nov. 11-13.

Despite Hurricane Nicole making landfall earlier in the week, the competition hosted 38 out of the 40 teams originally registered, including a school from as far as South Dakota.

Students competed in the areas of Congressional Debate, Extemporaneous Debate and Impromptu Speaking.

“Florida is leading the way in civics education. It’s our goal to strengthen the focus on civics education so that today’s students will be tomorrow’s great leaders,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr.

The FCDI was established by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2020 to encourage middle and high school students to engage in civic activities and elevate their civic knowledge, which has been proven to benefit student outcomes.

Winners of the event are listed below:

Middle School Division

CHAMPION – Daniella Rothberg, I-Prep Academy North, Miami

2nd Place – Taylor Mack, I-Prep Academy North, Miami

3rd Place – Asher Licata, AD Henderson University School, Boca Raton

4th Place – Joshua Kahrim, AD Henderson University School, Boca Raton

5th Place – Addisyn Kostzer, Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School West, Pembroke Pines

High School Division

CHAMPION – Sofia Mohring, Lake Mary Preparatory School, Lake Mary

2nd Place – Bradan Lott, Lake Mary Preparatory School, Lake Mary

3rd Place – Gaby Urdaneta, Lake Nona High School, Orlando

4th Place – Rudi Darden, South Lake High School, Groveland

5th Place – Nicholas Ostheimer, FAU High School, Boca Raton

6th Place – Jolie Lehrman, FAU High School, Boca Raton

7th Place – Arik Karim, A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach

8th Place – Eva Barrett, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs

9th Place – Abiah George, Aberdeen Independent, Aberdeen, South Dakota

10th Place – Maya Venkatraman, Lake Nona High School, Orlando

Congressional Debate – Middle School Division

CHAMPION – Asher Licata, AD Henderson University School, Boca Raton

2nd Place – Michael Gomez, AD Henderson University School, Boca Raton

3rd Place – Joshua Kahrim, AD Henderson University School, Boca Raton

4th Place – Daniella Rothberg, I-Prep Academy North, Miami

5th Place – Mia Taylor, I-Prep Academy North, Miami

Congressional Debate – High School Division

CHAMPION – Rhea Thakker, Lake Mary Preparatory School, Lake Mary

2nd Place – Nicholas Ostheimer, FAU High School, Boca Raton

3rd Place – Camila Gimenez, Lake Nona High School, Orlando

4th Place – Sofia Mohring, Lake Mary Preparatory School, Lake Mary

5th Place – Kayden Greenstein, South Lake High School, Groveland

Extemporaneous Debate – Middle School Division

CHAMPION – Asher Licata, AD Henderson University School, Boca Raton

2nd Place – Daniella Rothberg, I-Prep Academy North, Miami

3rd Place – Joshua Kahrim, AD Henderson University School, Boca Raton

4th Place – Addisyn Kostzer, Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School West, Pembroke Pines

5th Place – Taylor Mack, I-Prep Academy North, Miami

Extemporaneous Debate – High School Division

CHAMPION – Eva Barrett, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs

2nd Place – Gabriel Annis, Duncan U. Fletcher High School, Neptune Beach

3rd Place – Jolie Lehrman, FAU High School, Boca Raton

4th Place – Rhea Thakker, Lake Mary Preparatory School, Lake Mary

5th Place – Cristina Castresana, Pompano Beach High School, Pompano Beach

Impromptu Speaking – Middle School Division

CHAMPION – Daniella Rothberg, I-Prep Academy North, Miami

2nd Place – Taylor Mack, I-Prep Academy North, Miami

3rd Place – Asher Licata, AD Henderson University School, Boca Raton

4th Place – Brady Abrams, AD Henderson University School, Boca Raton

5th Place – Addisyn Kostzer, Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School West, Pembroke Pines

Impromptu Speaking – High School Division

CHAMPION – Alan Munschy, Christopher Columbus High School, Miami

2nd Place – Gabriel Annis, Duncan U. Fletcher High School, Neptune Beach

3rd Place – Ashley Ding, Lake Nona High School, Orlando

4th Place – Sofia Mohring, Lake Mary Preparatory School, Lake Mary

5th Place – Abiah George, Aberdeen Independent, Aberdeen, South Dakota

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