Representing the largest contingent ever sent from the school, seven Bethany Christian students competed at the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament in Dallas, Texas in June. Competing for Bethany were sophomore Aaron Yeakey in Congressional debate, freshman Reesha Bhagat in Lincoln Douglas debate, seniors Alistair Tollar in United States Extemporaneous speaking, and the World Schools Debate team of seniors Alex Cartwright, Rachel Leininger, Philip Krabill, and junior Christian Yoder.
Of the more than 150,000 students nationwide who compete in speech and debate on a yearly basis, only about three percent qualify for the national tournament, according to NSDA officials. While no Bethany entry advanced to elimination rounds in their main events, several did so in supplemental events: junior Christian Yoder and freshman Reesha Bhagat in extemporaneous debate and senior Alistair Tollar in extemporaneous commentary.
Bethany Speech and Debate Head Coach Michael Yeakey was also publicly recognized for earning his second coaching diamond. Students earn merit points based on performance in competition; coaches are awarded 1/10 of a point for each student point. To reach second diamond level, a coach must earn over 3000 merit points.