Matt Leland and Paige Camp

Lincoln Academy debate coach and science teacher Matt Leland (left) with junior debater Paige Camp (right), who will represent Maine at two National debate tournaments this spring.

This spring the Lincoln Academy Debate team is receiving national recognition through multiple channels. Debate Coach Matt Leland has been recognized by the National Speech and Debate Association for his commitment to Speech and Debate during his years as a coach, and junior Paige Camp has qualified to participate in two National Debate Finals.

Leland, who has coached the LA Debate team for 7 years, is being recognized for his “exemplary volunteerism to promote speech and debate” by the National Speech and Debate Association. He was elected by debate coaches statewide to serve a two year term on the Maine District Committee, which manages Maine’s speech and debate activities for the National Speech and Debate Association. He is also a past president of the Maine Forensics Association, and is currently serving as moderator for Lincoln-Douglas debate for the state of Maine.

During his time as coach, Leland has led the LA team to major achievements, including the 2016 state championship, as well as coaching 9 students to qualification in national debate events.

When it comes to Lincoln Academy student successes in debate, this year is no exception. Earlier in the season junior Paige Camp competed in and won the 2018 Maine National Catholic Forensic League Qualifier tournament, which qualifies her to represent Maine in the the N.C.F.L. tournament which takes place in Arlington, Virginia over Memorial Day weekend.

Camp also won the National Speech and Debate Association Qualifier tournament with a record of 6-0 in a double elimination tournament, which, Leland notes, is the “best single day record in Lincoln Academy debate history,” and qualifies her to compete at the N.S.D.A. national championship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in June.

Leland dedicates himself passionately to the LA Debate Team in part because his own life was deeply impacted by his experience as a debater. “Debate is valuable both in the classroom and in the world at large,” he said. “Debate gave me the confidence to have a career where I speak in front of people every day. The skills taught in debate make the competitors better researchers, better speakers, and better able to support their ideas when challenged. These skills are valuable in nearly every career.

Lincoln Academy debate relies on community volunteers who agree to serve as judges at debate tournaments. Community members interested in getting involved as debate judges should contact Matt Leland at leland@lincolnacademy.org.