Yale University senior Kate Falkenstien, a 2008 Free State High School graduate, earned the top varsity speaker award last weekend at the American Parliamentary National Debate Association’s national championship tournament.
Falkenstien and her partner, Nick Cugini, also earned the second-place team finish as they lost to a Harvard team in the final round on a 4-3 decision in the tournament at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
The competition is patterned after a style of platform debate made famous at Oxford University. It’s an off-topic, extemporaneous form of competitive debate that stresses argumentation, logical analysis, quick thinking, breadth of knowledge and rhetorical ability. Kansas University competes in another format known as policy debate.
Falkenstien is the daughter of Lawrence residents Kurt Falkenstien and Paula Martin, a Douglas County district court judge.