Return to Headlines

Peterson Student Qualifies for Prestigious Speech and Debate Tournament

May 2020

Peterson Middle School student Keith Maben has been busy attending many speech and debate tournaments over the last year. His hard work recently earned him 2nd place in Varsity Extemporaneous speech and 7th place in Impromptu Speech at the Stanford National Invitational 2020.

Maben and 70 other competitors from across the country battled it out in five rounds of competition. His 2nd place win was made even more exceptional by the fact that he was the only middle school competitor in the varsity division. As if that wasn’t enough to be proud of, Maben’s hard work at the tournament earned him a bid for the Tournament of Champions (TOC) — one of the most prestigious speech and debate tournaments in the nation.

The Tournament of Champions is a national high school debate tournament held at the University of Kentucky every year. It is considered one of the most competitive American high school debate tournaments. Qualifying to attend requires two bids, which are attained after advancing to late elimination rounds at highly competitive tournaments, including ones held at Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley. 

Receiving his second bid wasn’t easy considering the fact that many speech and debate tournaments were canceled due to Coronavirus. However, Maben didn’t give up! When the TOC Directors requested a recording of his planned speech from home, along with details of all of his wins in the past year, he did what needed to be done and in-turn qualified. Unfortunately, the TOC championship itself has been canceled for this year, but qualifying gives him an automatic qualification for 2021.

Some of Maben’s other wins this year include:

  • 1st place at Panther Fun Invitational held at Presentation High School 
  • 2nd place in CHSSA Middle School State Championship held at Leland High School
  • 2nd place at Stephen Stewart Invitational held at Milpitas High School

Maben’s talents don’t end when it comes to speech and debate! After many competitive auditions, he also qualified to play piano at the Junior Bach Festival in March 2020. The selection for these concerts implies an incredible amount of musical maturity and skill for a musician of student age. In addition, Maben has played at Carnegie Hall twice and earned his music diploma in 7th grade as a 12-year-old. 

Congratulations, Keith. We are proud of you and excited to see what’s in store for you in the near future.

Keith Maben

Keith Maben Certificate