High School Debate | Northland Christian School

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High School Debate

The Northland Christian Debate team is already respected at local, state and national tournaments. Established in 2004, Northland has already seen a rich history of winning. Coached by some of the nation's leading lawyers and support team, these students are well prepared when entering a meet and continue to rise to the top.

The Northland Debate program was established for the purpose of producing Christian leaders by developing their critical thinking and persuasive speaking skills through the activity of debate.

Today, Northland Debate travels across the nation competing against schools much larger and still bring home the hardware. It's strong foundation will allow Northland to have continued success. The team will always stand true to its values of Christ-like actions, hard work, and an environment of friendship and fun.

Historically Speaking . . . 

The Northland Christian Debate team was established in 2004 for the purpose of producing Christian leaders by developing their critical thinking and persuasive speaking skills through the activity of debate. In its first year the team consisted of 19 team members who competed locally in the Houston area. Surprisingly, the team began its history by solely competing in Policy Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking. At the start of the spring semester that year, the team began to compete in Lincoln Douglas Debate and has focused on that style of debate ever since. The team exceeded expectations of many by qualifying their first team member to the TFA State Tournament in El Paso, Texas in its first year.

In its first and second year the team would transition from a locally traveling team to one that competed, and succeeded, nationally. After those two years, a team that began by competing largely in three events would transform into a diverse team that competed in Lincoln Douglas Debate, Extemporaneous Speaking, Student Congress, Public Forum Debate, and Original Oratory. 

By 2006, the NCS Debate team had qualified ten team members to the TFA State Tournament and one to the NFL National Tournament.  A new landmark was reached for Northland as the team was considered by the National Forensic League to be the second best team in the nation still within its first three years of creation.  This year was especially memorable because of the loss of a brother on the debate team. Our friend Grant Zeinert passed away that year; Grant was known for saying and embodying “Best Effort to the Glory of God” which still remains a saying that the team tries to exemplify.

As the 2007-2008 tournament season began, many competitors began to recognize the NCS Debate team as one of hard-working students, Christian values, success and team focus. Although the success of the team began to grow exponentially on the national level, team members continued to succeed on the local circuit. Travelling to Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Lexington allowed students to be exposed to a more challenging form of debate that would eventually allow the team to qualify a record 15 students to the TFA State Tournament, 10 students to the NFL National Tournament, and for the first time, 3 students to the prestigious Tournament of Champions.  As the year concluded, the team reached a new landmark of graduating its first class to participate in debate for 4 years.

From 2008-2009, students at Northland would continue to set records for their team as they earned numerous invitations to highly competitive and prominent Round Robin tournaments, became recognized as National Forensic League All-Americans with several students placing within the top fifty and twenty-five debaters in the nation, and carried on a winning streak back home. Winning the prestigious Schwann’s National Debate School of Excellence award and qualifying the most Lincoln Douglas Debaters to the State Tournament placed Northland at the forefront of the debate community.  Northland added Los Angeles, Iowa, New York City, Nashville, Gainesville, and Washington D.C. to its already extensive list of national tournaments. With several members placing at the State and National Tournament and the Tournament of Champions, Northland grew to become a feared name locally and a force to be reckoned with nationally.

The 2010-2011 season of the NCS Debate team was truly monumental. After hosting a successful “NCS Kickoff Classic” tournament, the team swung together in full force to conquer the TFA circuit. After collecting numerous wins by a fierce novice team, the team was able to capture many sweepstakes awards. Towards the end of the year, monumental records were broken by the team. The team had its first TFA State Champion in Lincoln Douglas Debate. Although that seemed like an amazing feat at the time, that would only be shattered by the team’s performance at the National Tournament in June. The team had three competitors in the top twenty-five in LD Debate, a 9th place finisher in Student Congress and its first ever National Champion. Josh Roberts successfully beat out hundreds of other competitors to win the National Champion title.

In 2012, Courtney (Nunley) Coffman came back to the program to be the head coach. As a 2008 graduate of the Northland Debate Team, she learned the ins and outs of how to successfully coach from Kevin Roberts. Under her leadership, the team continued with its "Winning Tradition". In 2013, Shania Hunt was named a member of the original Team USA Debate Team. This team represents the United States in global competitions in places like Croatia, Germany, Slovenia, Thailand and Indonesia. Shania also finished her senior year with the strongest NCS finish at the elite Tournament of Champions by making it to the quarter-final round (top 8). 

With strong novice classes coming in each year, the program continues to grow. Some recent highlights from our students include a TFA State Championship in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking by Sarah Lanier in 2017, as well as her selection to Team USA for the 2016-2017 season. In 2017, Margaret Purcell ('17) and Kaitlyn England ('19) were members of the East Texas District Team that placed 2nd at NSDA Nationals. In 2018, Kaitlyn England ('19) and Elyse Dewbre ('20) won the national championship with students from Kingwood High School and The Woodlands High School. Just recently, Elyse was named a member of Team USA for the 2018-2019 season; having 3 team members represent the United States is quite the accomplishment!

The history of the team has a strong foundation that will certainly allow it to continue to succeed in the years to come. We are proud of the successes the team has had, but we are more proud that the team will always stand true to its values of Christ-like actions, hard work, and an environment of friendship and fun.

Northland Christian School: Truth Forever • Victory Forever • Glorifying God Forever