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Fort Walton Beach High School Student Places Fourth at National Debate Championship

Incubate Debate recently held its 2024 National Championship on April 5-6 in Jacksonville, FL. The event was attended by 89 students from 23 counties who engaged in competitive debates on various pressing issues, such as the Trump January 6th federal case, the China-Taiwan conflict, college DEI programs, and the climate emergency. 

One of the standout students at the event was Christian Bailey from Fort Walton Beach High School, who placed 4th overall in the National Debate Championship. In the final round of the competition, Christian debated the merits of college DEI programs and whether there is indeed a climate emergency. It was an exciting and electrifying round. "It is truly inspiring to witness the diligence and dedication of these students, who have showcased exceptional speech and debate skills while maintaining a high degree of civility and respect for differing opinions," stated Marcus Chambers, Superintendent of Okaloosa County Schools. He continued, "I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Christian and commend him for this outstanding achievement."

A group of distinguished judges evaluated Christian's performance. The panel included Bill de Blasio, the 109th Mayor of New York City; Stephen Asoli, the Director of Admissions at the University of Austin; Dr. Peter Boghossian, the Founder of the National Progress Alliance; Simon Hankinson, the Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation; and Clea Conner, the CEO of Open to Debate. Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Christian's speaking skills, calling him "one of the best speakers I've ever seen" and ranking him as first place on his ballot. 

Christian's exceptional performance at the National Championship earned him not only accolades but also a significant financial reward of $500. Additionally, his coach, Katrina Brownsberger, the Debate Teacher at Fort Walton Beach High School, received a matching amount for her efforts. Incubate Debate’s president and founder, James Fishback, described the championship tournament as “our best tournament yet. These students, these rounds, were everything debate should be: civil, unbiased, and intellectually challenging. I could not be prouder of these exceptional students.”

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