Two MSMS students recognized nationally for debate


Courtesy of Lyem Ningthou

Michael Lu (second from right) and Aaron Wan (far right) were both recognized as Academic All-Americans by the National Speech and Debate Association.

Luke Bowles, Managing Editor

Two MSMS seniors, Michael Lu and Aaron Wan, were recently named Academic All-Americans by the National Speech and Debate Association. 

The award requires debaters to be of Superior Distinction (750 points), have a 3.7 GPA and “demonstrate outstanding character and leadership.” It is given to less than 1% of all debaters. 

Coach Lori Pierce applied on behalf of Lu and Wan and was extremely proud of their accomplishments despite not being surprised that the pair received the award. 

“Both Michael and Aaron are excellent debaters,” Pierce said. “They had more than enough points, and their academics easily met the requirements. I wasn’t at all surprised.”

Wan expressed similar feelings as Pierce but added how winning it with Lu made it more special.

“To be honest it wasn’t that big of a surprise just because of the way the awards are given out,” Wan said. “Still, it was really nice to win it with Michael. He and I have been competing together as a team for pretty much the entirety of high school, so it’s really cool to see all the hard work we’ve put into it pay off in the end.”

Lu also commented on his reaction to winning the award with Wan. 

“It’s exciting to see that our combined efforts allowed us to win such a prestigious award,” Lu said. “Being an Academic All-American feels absolutely amazing. I’m proud of both of us.”

Novice teammate Amelia Pope was also excited when the news broke and shared how helpful Lu and Wan have been to her as a first-time debater. 

“It’s exciting to be on the same team as them,” Pope said. “They are great debaters and are super helpful when it comes to preparing for novice tournaments. I’m extremely grateful for all the knowledge they have shared with us novices.”

Pierce felt very similarly about the pair.

“Both Aaron and Michael also nurture the novice debaters, helping them learn the skills for competition,” Pierce said.

Although both Wan and Lu competed in debate before coming to MSMS, both gave credit to the school and Coach Pierce for their success. 

“Michael and I have been very fortunate to have Mrs. Pierce supporting all of our efforts in competing in speech and debate” Wan said. “After coming to MSMS, we were really unsure about whether we would be able to continue competing, but Coach Pierce has been so supportive of us. Without her help and sacrifices, we definitely would not have had all the success we’ve had.”

“MSMS gave us the opportunity to continue doing debate and gain points to push up in the rankings,” Lu said. “I’m very thankful to both the school and Coach Pierce for their support.”

In the end, Lu expressed satisfaction with his speech and debate career and the award.

“It’s satisfying to know the hard work has paid off,” Lu said. “It’s rewarding to know it has built into something I can look back at in the future and be proud of.”