01/18/2017 By Keiana Hadjireza Six students from the University of Washington Bothell’s Speech and Debate Team all received awards at the January Climb the Mountain Speech and Debate Foundation tournament at Bellevue College. Student speakers include Nora Abdi, Hussain Altamimi, Nate Blanchard, Ahamad Ceesay, Caleb Lohrmann and Aaron Yared, all of whom placed within the various divisions. The team is led by Director of Forensics Denise Vaughan. The speech and debate competition featured two divisions of debate, Novice for speakers with no experience and Open for speakers who have one or more years of college experience. Blanchard, who is president of the team, took first place in the Open Division IPDA (International Public Debate Association). Altamimi took second place. In the Novice Division IPDA, Yared took first place followed by Abdi in second. In addition to the two divisions, students could place in the Speaker awards. Blanchard took first place followed by Yared in second and Altamimi in third. Lohrmann won honorable mention. The success of this year’s speech and debate team goes back to fall quarter when the students caught the attention of KING TV news for their analysis of the presidential debates. Top performers of the team also competed in two tournaments in the fall and placed both times. Already planning its next competition, the team will compete Jan. 27-29 at Western Washington University as well as an online competition Feb. 4. Nationals this year will take place in March in Boise, Idaho. Past speech and debate team members have gone on to graduate school and careers in law, government, social work and business. Blanchard, Yared, Altamimi and Abdi are all studying law, economics and public policy (LEPP) and have plans to further their education. Altamimi and Abdi plan to apply to law school and are considering specializing in international or human rights law. Blanchard plans to apply to the UW Bothell Master of Arts in Policy Studies (MAPS) program. Yared intends on pursuing a career in criminal justice. With expenses for tournaments and travel, the team welcomes donations.