National Speech & Debate Association Announces 2021 Student of the Year

DES MOINES, Iowa, June 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) is proud to announce the 2021 William Woods Tate, Jr. Student of the Year: Cobin Syzmanski, class of 2021, from St. Michael-Albertville High School in Minnesota.

Cobin Syzmanski, the 2021 William Woods Tate Jr., National Student of the Year
Cobin Syzmanski, the 2021 William Woods Tate Jr., National Student of the Year
(PRNewsfoto/National Speech & Debate Associ)

“We are thrilled to award Cobin with the William Woods Tate, Jr. National Student of the Year Award,” said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association. “In addition to being extremely competitively successful, they have gone above and beyond to make the speech and debate community a safer place for students. Our activity is a better place because of Cobin’s hard work, and I know that they’ll continue to use that passion to change the world.”

As a debater, Cobin took 7th place at the 2020 National Speech & Debate Tournament in Public Forum Debate. They qualified again for the 2021 National Tournament in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

Cobin serves as the Research and Education Director for Beyond Resolved, a student-led organization that works to expand access and increase inclusivity within the speech and debate community. They led the Transgender Narrative Program, a project which collected experiences, lessons, and advice from sixteen transgender competitors to share with the community. Their work even led them to be invited to speak at the Blake Diversity in Debate Conference, where they were able to share a student perspective on the state of debate with coaches and judges from around the country.

“Through speech and debate, I learned what it means to advocate against and navigate through systems of oppression,” said Cobin. “I learned what it means to belong.”

“It is my pleasure to nominate Cobin Szymanski for Student of the Year,” said Ashley Howden, speech and debate coach at St. Michael-Albertville High School. “I am genuinely inspired by their attitude toward speech and debate, their ambitious drive to affect change, and the efforts they have taken to improve the community.”

The William Woods Tate, Jr., National Student of the Year award, presented by Richard Bitner in honor of Bob Stockton, is one of the most honorable and renowned student awards presented by the National Speech & Debate Association. The Student of the Year is awarded to a graduating senior member who has been honored as a District Student of the Year and who best represents the tenets of the Association’s Code of Honor: humility, equity, integrity, respect, leadership, and service.

About the National Speech & Debate Association
The National Speech & Debate Association is the authority on public speaking and debate in the United States. The Association builds the infrastructure for speech and debate competitions around the world by providing topics, educational resources, and training for students and coaches. For nearly 100 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has built a platform for youth voices that culminates in the National Tournament, the largest academic competition in the world. For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org.

SOURCE National Speech & Debate Association

CONTACT: Grace Rogers, [email protected]

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