On March 9, Pace Academy juniors Tanner Lewis and Clyde Shepherd took home the championship title at the Georgia Forensic Coaches Association (GFCA) Varsity State Debate Tournament.
The GFCA has been high school debate’s governing body since the fall of 2010 when the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) ended its sponsorship of the activity. The tournament, which took place at Stratford Academy in Macon, Ga., is now an all-classification event, which means it awards overall titles rather than separate class designations.
Lewis and Shepherd defeated teams from Alpharetta High School, Chattahoochee High School, The Westminster Schools and Grady High School in six preliminary rounds to emerge as the only undefeated team. The team then advanced to the elimination debates as the top seed, and again defeated Alpharetta, Chattahoochee and Westminster on its way to being crowned champions.
The GFCA awards a School of Excellence Award to the school in each size classification that qualifies the most students to the state championships. Each award is named after a GFCA Hall of Fame coach. Pace Academy received The School of Excellence Award in the Helen McClellan Division (500 or fewer students) for the third consecutive season.
In the 42-year history of the Pace Academy debate program, Pace has won the state title 35 times.
In addition, Pace Academy debate coach Shuntá Jordan was named the 2014 GFCA Debate Coach of the Year.