Featured Story

SLS Debate Makes Connecticut and School History, Places Second in National Tournament of Champions

David Levin, St. Luke’s Debate Coach
St. Luke’s debate team members Samantha Gerber ’25, Dash Gilrain-Lennon ’25, Maeve Welch ’26, and Salman Memon ’26 headed to the University of Kentucky in April to compete in the Tournament of Champions — the country's most competitive high school debate event.  Samantha and Dash earned their historic place among the tournament’s finalists, winning second place.

This tournament brings the top-performing teams and most qualified judges from across the nation (and beyond) to Lexington for a weekend of the highest caliber of competition. Thousands of high school debaters compete on the National Circuit to earn qualification to the TOC, with fewer than 200 teams qualifying for the 2024 tournament in Public Forum Debate. 

St. Luke’s left an indelible mark on the TOC. In 2023, Samantha and Dash etched their names in history as the first-ever team from Connecticut to qualify for the TOC. The legacy continued in 2024, with sophomores Maeve Welch and Salman Memon earning a 5-2 record, advancing to the round of 32 in their division, and securing a second qualification for St. Luke's.

Samatha and Dash began the tournament on a 5-0 run, including wins against Taipei American School (TW) and #1 nationally-ranked Delbarton School (NJ). St. Luke’s rebounded from a round 6 loss to Seven Lakes High School (TX), finishing preliminary rounds with a 6-1 record, earning the fifth overall seed in the tournament, a bye through the round of 32, and automatic qualification to the 2025 TOC. In the round of 16, they defeated NSU University School (FL), placing them in the Monday morning quarterfinals where they exchanged debates in college classrooms for packed hotel ballrooms. In the quarterfinal, Samantha and Dash faced the same Seven Lakes team from their round 6 defeat, but this time walked away with an emphatic victory on a 3-0 decision. Semifinals followed, with another 3-0 victory against Saratoga High School (CA). Late into the afternoon, St. Luke’s was finally defeated in the final round by the perennial Texas debate powerhouse, Strake Jesuit College Prep.

Congratulations to Samantha, Dash, Maeve, and Salman for making St. Luke’s, Connecticut, and national debate history in Lexington!
Download our brochure
New call-to-action
St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving over 35 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.