Beatrice (Bee) Brynda ’20, Jacqueline (Jax) Morgan ’19, Julia Thayer ’18, Sophie Hathaway ’18, and Ember Larregui ’18. Not pictured: Miles deClue ’18.

Sophie Hathaway ’18 of Greenfield, MA, qualified for the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship with her first place finish in the Public Speaking Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 at Stoneleigh-Burnham School. The six member SBS team also took first place as a team at the tournament.

This is Hathaway’s second time qualifying for Worlds, which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa next spring. Last year, she traveled to Sydney, Australia as part of the U.S. team, where she earned 6th place in After Dinner Speaking and 12th place in Interpretive Reading. Read more here.

Students from 10 schools competed at the SBS tournament. Five of the six members of the SBS team placed in one or more events. In addition to best speaker and best overall school, SBS had three first-place finishes, two second-place finishes, and a third-place finish.

Beatrice (Bee) Brynda ’20 and Ember Larregui ’18 tied for first place in Interpretive Reading. Sophie Hathaway ’18 took second in Impromptu Speaking. SBS swept in After Dinner Speaking, with Julia Thayer ’18 taking first, Jacqueline (Jax) Morgan ’19 taking second, and Sophie Hathaway ’18 taking third. Miles deClue ’18 placed fifth among 40 competitors in Persuasive Speech.

This year, the annual tournament hosted by Stoneleigh-Burnham was renamed the Paul Bassett Invitational Public Speaking Tournament. Dr. Bassett founded the SBS Debate and Public Speaking Society in 1981. Since then, 16 students have qualified for and/or competed on the world stage, and he has mentored and coached countless students to speak with force, clarity, and confidence. Many of his former students have gone on to careers in law, education, advocacy, and government. Dr. Bassett, known as “PB,” retired as head debate coach in June, but continues to teach the Rhetoric course at SBS.