Ruth Weeks at the national debate qualifiers in Augusta. Contributed / Jason Curry

Following a spectacular performance at the State House in Augusta this January, Greely High School senior Ruth Weeks qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) national tournament in Phoenix, Arizona this June.

Weeks joined the Greely Debate Team in her sophomore year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She loves being able to discuss different topics and talk with like-minded students who also love debate, she said.

“It’s like any sort of sporting event,” Weeks said. “It’s something where you get to see people who you enjoy competing against, and it’s honestly just really fun.”

Since joining the debate team, Weeks has qualified for two different national debate tournaments, including the NSDA tournament in her sophomore year.

“She’s been representing Greely, and therefore representing Maine, for three straight years,” Greely Debate Coach Jason Curry said.

In order to prepare for her qualifying debate tournament, Weeks spent over seven hours writing, researching and rehearsing speeches on topics such as a resolution to make Guam, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. states and a resolution to make Bitcoin a legal tender. Additionally, she wrote one on recognizing Greenland as its own country.


Weeks qualifies for the NSDA national tournament. Contributed / Jason Curry

“That was an interesting one,” Weeks said. “I had a good time with that.”

The high school debate season runs from October through January, and students compete in non-cumulative tournaments throughout the state. Weeks competes in congressional debate, and at the national qualifier tournament in January, she prevailed as the overall best debater in the varsity division.

“The students themselves write the legislation,” Curry said. “It’s very much like Congress in real life, in that members of the House or members of the Senate bring in pieces of legislation on all kinds of major societal and political issues.”

Weeks, who is excited to join a debate program in college, said qualifying for the NSDA national competition in her senior year is very moving.

“It feels like a full circle moment,” Weeks said.

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