Grace Keenan, a sophomore at George Mason High School, won first place at the national Patriot Games speech and debate tournament that was held at George Mason University on Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4.
Keenan won the Declamation award and defeated 117 competitors in that category. She delivered a 10-minute version of the late writer Nora Ephron’s 1996 commencement address to Wellesley College.
This is the first time that the fledgling Mason speech and debate team has placed first at a national tournament. The team has grown quickly in the last couple of years and now has more than 30 members who compete in a variety of events. Pam Wilkie, a retired Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School teacher, is the volunteer coach.
Four other Mason students competed at the Patriot Games: Katie Smith, extemporaneous speaking; Grace Smith, Lincoln-Douglas Debate; Miles Langford and Chris Kim, Public Form. A larger group will compete at an area tournament this weekend.