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Claire Lane ’16 Succeeds at World Debate Championship

Claire Lane '16 (left) joins some of her U.S. teammates in Hong Kong.

Claire Lane ’16 (left) joins some of her U.S. teammates in Hong Kong.

Claire Lane ’16 has just returned from a phenomenal performance at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship in Hong Kong. Lane was one of 150 competitors from 19 countries competing at the world level, and one of 15 Americans competing on the U.S team.

Lane, a member of the Stoneleigh-Burnham School Debate and Public Speaking Society, placed 6th out of 150 in Interpretive Reading and 10th in After Dinner Speaking. Of the 15 American competitors at the championship, she placed 5th overall.

By her side was her mother, Karen Suchenski, who served as Lane’s travel coach. Suchenski is an 8th grade Humanities teacher at SBS and staff member of the school’s summer debate camp, A Voice of Her Own.

Head of School Sally Mixsell said, “The campus has been abuzz these past few days as we awaited results and their return from Hong Kong. We are just so proud of Claire. Her hard work and determination have really paid off, and to be able to share her voice on a world stage is quite an accomplishment.”

Dr. Paul Bassett, head coach of the SBS Debate & Public Speaking Society, lauded both Lane and Suchenski for their endurance, and said, “Claire’s natural talent coupled with a fierce diligence fueled her success.” He also thanked Mixsell and the SBS Board of Directors for their incredible support of the debate program at SBS.

Lane received the prestigious invitation to Hong Kong in January, making her the 14th Stoneleigh-Burnham student to compete at the world level (see full list here). In the past two years, Lane has been a member of three first-place teams that won tournaments outright.  In addition, she attended Stoneleigh-Burnham’s summer debate camp, in which she was able to further develop her craft.

Before the trip, Lane worked closely with her two debate and public speaking coaches, Dr. Bassett and History Department Chair Karen Pleasant, to prepare for the World Championship.