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Syosset Forensics Team Wins State Championship

Syosset High School’s Speech and Debate team, Forensics, defended their title as New York State champions at the state finals in late April, winning for the third straight year. The team also placed first in the Debate division, first in the Speech division, and third in Congressional Debate/Student Congress.

The Debate championship is particularly notable because it is the second time Syosset closed out all three sections, Varsity, JV and Novice; a distinction that no other school in the state has earned. Syosset previously closed out all three sections in the 2019 State Championship. The 2020 State Championship was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the team championship title, six Syosset High School students were named State Champions in their respective events: Sophomore Alan Huang for JV Prose/Poetry, Sophomore Maggie Liu for JV Debate, Senior Michelle Jin for Varsity Prose/Poetry, Senior Isabella Souza for Varsity Debate, and freshmen Vincent Huang and Kyra Kozey, who were declared co-champions in Novice Debate after they both emerged undefeated after nine rounds of competition.

"The unusual circumstances of this year made the team championship very special,” said Syosset High School English teacher Lydia Esslinger, long time coach and advisor of the Forensics team. “We have been the defending State champion for the last three years. To hold onto that title this year says so much about the adaptability and drive for excellence in our students. It would have been easy to lose interest when such a ‘live’ activity had to go virtual, but my student leaders consistently made time after their school day ended to work with younger students and encourage them to stay in the game. Much of the credit for how well we did this year goes to them."

The Forensics year begins in late September with tournaments nearly every weekend school is in session. Eighty Syosset students joined over 1,000 Long Island students competing for the state championship, with more than half of them advancing to elimination rounds and many finishing in the top six in their event. The Forensics year continues into May and June with national championships in which forty-eight Syosset students will represent the New York City region.