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Two Students Succeed at World Debate Championship

Claire Lane '16, Karen Pleasant, and Clara Swartzentruber ’16 in Pittsburgh.

Claire Lane ’16, Karen Pleasant, and Clara Swartzentruber ’16 in Pittsburgh.

Claire Lane ’16 and Clara Swartzentruber ’16 have returned from a phenomenal performance at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship in Pittsburgh. The competition was held March 31-April 4.

Lane made the finals in Impromptu Speaking and finished in 7th place. In Interpretive Reading, Lane finished 12th and Swartzentruber finished 15th. According to debate coach Karen Pleasant, Claire and Clara competed alongside 96 competitors from 11 countries.

This was the first time in Stoneleigh-Burnham’s 150-year history that two students qualified to compete at in the world championship.

This was the second time that Claire qualified for the world tournament. Last year, she traveled to Hong Kong for the 2015 competition. (Read about her experience here.) This year, she earned her spot on the U.S. team with her win at the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Competition in Toronto October 23-26, 2015.

Clara qualified for the 2016 world competition by winning as top speaker at the first debate and public speaking competition of the season at SBS on October 4, 2015.

Both students are members of the SBS Debate and Public Speaking Society, and have attended SBS’s summer debate camp, A Voice of Her Own.

Dr. Paul “PB” Bassett, head coach of the Debate and Public Speaking Society, called Claire and Clara “two of the finest independent school speakers in the country.”

“I am so proud of their body of work,” he said.

Claire and Clara join an elite group of world competitors from Stoneleigh-Burnham dating back to 1988.

Learn more about their experiences in debate and public speaking by reading interviews with them. Read Claire’s interview here. Read Clara’s interview here.