Our Story


The Speech & Debate program at Marist School is one of the most active and prestigious programs in the state.  The team travels and competes at more than thirty tournaments a year all across the country.  The program is locally affiliated with the Georgia Forensic Coaches Association and the nationally affiliated with the National Catholic Forensic LeagueNational Speech & Debate Association, and National Debate Coaches Association.


The Speech & Debate program was created in 1983 under the leadership of Mr. John Martin with a core group of six students.  For its first twelve years of existence, the program was hidden and unknown.  They met as a club and debated their own topics and discussed key controversial issues.  In 1996 under the leadership of Mr. Roger Shaddick, the program featured a traveling team.  Still a small group of six, the students with their coach traveled around the state competing in four local Georgia Forensic Coaches Association tournaments and the State Championship annually.  It was not until 2001-2002, under the leadership of Mr. Ed Williams, the team first placed at the Georgia High School Association State Championship bringing home 2nd place!  It was that same school year the Marist School Speech & Debate Team took the road for the first time traveling to the prestigious Glenbrooks Invitational in Chicago, Illinois.  Throughout the 2000's, the Speech & Debate Team built a strong foundation beginning to travel more in the state and out of the state to earn a reputation across the United States.  Capping off the decade, the Marist program won a policy debate state championship in 2009 (the first debate state title in program history) under the leadership of Ms. Cheryl Stanga.

The Marist Speech & Debate program added seven different events through this first part of the decade under the leadership of Mr. Jeffrey Miller to become one of the most well rounded programs in the state being named a School of Excellence in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.  The first seven years of this decade have been a busy one for the Marist Speech & Debate program winning twelve state championships, qualifying 76 students to National Championships, and finishing ranked in the top 25 in the country five consecutive straight years.  

Charlie Morn - 2007.jpg
JP Zivalich - 2009.jpg
Claire Mills - 2012.jpg
Sydney Chung - 2012.jpg
Rachel Thurston - 2012.jpg
John Niedzweicki - 2011.jpg
Sydney Apple - 2015.jpg
Brandon Fountain - 2015.jpg
Hannah Koenraad - 2016.jpg
Thomas Vance - 2017.jpg
Paul Plaia - 2018.jpg