Speech and Debate Then & Now

Ryken Debaters Labor for Laurels
(excerpt from 1961 X-Press)
     “Since a huge two and one-half foot trophy and four smaller ones greeted the students when they came to school one day last December, attention has been focused on the debating team and their many accomplishments. 
     For debaters, preparation is never ending. Practice is held on every school ay and on some Saturdays.   The official season [of the N.C.F.L.] begins about five weeks after school commences and terminates in May.Many of the major contests, which last for several days, require hours of traveling by car, train, or bus.
     The areas of competition are wide-spread and varied: declamation, extemp, dramatics and humorous interpretation.”
(excerpt from June 1962 X-Press)
Xaverian Speakers National Champs
By Brother Meric, N.C.F.L. President
      “At the National Forensic League Tournament held in Miami, Florida, May 30 to June 2, Xaverian speakers became National Catholic Champs for 1962. Brother Meric, Xaverian’s energetic debate coach five years, was also elected President of the N.C.F.L. Xaverian was represented by Anthony Carroll, Rich Jaeger, Robert O’Sullivan, Frank Puccio, James Cuomo, and Henry Nocella.
     Other important victories of the past six months were the Ryken Society’s winnings in the Catholic Forensic League Grand Tournament, for which they were awarded the second leg on the Bishop McEntegart travelling trophy.” Jim Cuomo also represented Brooklyn and Queens in the Knights of Columbus Oratory contest in Albany.”

Forensic Coach Brendan Gorman '04 Reflects on Speech and Debate 2017

“For our speech and debate team [at the end of the school day] . . . they become commencement speakers, poets, fictional characters, choreographers, experts on esoteric political and economic topics, and infinitely more confident, eloquent versions of themselves. As the team prepares for state and national championship, this daily transition is . . . they practice movements and precise intonations they’ve scripted over months. I estimate these pieces have been done over 200 times since they were chosen in September just before we got ready to compete at Yale to kick off our season. It is with intense pride that I watch as they dedicate themselves to pursuing the perfect performance. They represent the very best of what Xaverian has to offer its students, a simultaneous sense of self-worth and commitment to something greater than themselves. They are zealous in their preparation, compassionate in their choice of messages, humble in their success, simple in their approach, and trustful of the work they have put into their craft. I cannot overstate their effort and fidelity to one another, to the family we have built. I can never replicate the pressure they put on themselves to be better. However, on behalf of all of us at Xaverian, I can thank them . . . for their willingness to push themselves, to surprise us with their ability to master the ordinary, unspectacular flow of everyday life and to add a great deal to it.”


Established in 1957, Xaverian is one of thirteen schools nationwide sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers.