Grimes Receives Kentucky Communicator of the Year Award

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 20, 2017) – Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has
been named the 2017 Kentucky Communicator of the Year in recognition of her
successful engagement of Kentuckians throughout her work in the Secretary of State’s
The Kentucky District of the National Speech and Debate Association gives the award
annually. Grimes accepted the award on Saturday at the association’s tournament for
high school speech and debate students in Danville.
“For 90 years, the Kentucky National Speech and Debate Association has led more than
1.4 million members to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and leaders
in our society,” Grimes said. “I’m honored to accept this award, and to continue to
advocate on behalf of educators and our amazing students. I wish the winners of this
week’s tournament the best at nationals. The Commonwealth is behind you!”
Upon accepting the award, Grimes noted her own past participation in speech and
debate as a grade school student. She encouraged the competing students to continue
building on their skills and to continue to use them in their professional life.
“As a young, aspiring attorney, I drew on my experience on my own speech and debate
team in the courtroom. These skills you are learning and practicing now can serve
you throughout your life,” Grimes said.
Students compete in as many as five preliminary rounds before advancing to the
finals with the top two entries in each event moving on to NSDA Nationals in
Birmingham, Alabama.
The students who will represent Team Kentucky at the national completion are Grace
Sheene (Danville) and Leanne Hays (Boone County) in Dramatic Interpretation, Matthew
Breunig (Bethleham) and Erin Donelson (North Oldham) in Humorous Interpretation,
David Romines (Trinity) and Lauren Ratliff (Beechwood) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate,
Valerie Pallos/Rebekah George and William Merritt/Samuel Clark (Henry Clay) in
Policy Debate, Benjamin Hanson/Brendon Bultman (DuPont Manual) and Shelby
Amato/Amanda Byerman (Henry Clay) in Public Forum Debate, Cooper Boss (Henry Clay)
and Jordan Whittaker (Rowan County) in Program Oral Interpretation, Jasarae
McKinney/Corey Newsome (Rowan County) and Anna Cate Brown/Brynn Jones (Murray) in
Duo Interpretation, Charlie Hall and Abigail Anderson (Danville) in Oratory; Spencer
Schumacher (North Oldham) and Adrianna Waters (Boone County) in United States
Extemporaneous, Marina Smart (Murray) and David Ma (Paul Laurence Dunbar) in
International Extemporaneous, Callie Freeman (Gatton Academy) and Taylor Williams
(Hazard) in the House of Representatives, Alexander Brown (Bethlehem) and Cole
Vaughan (Bowling Green) in Informative Speaking, and Jack White (North Oldham) and
Cooper Winrich (Trinity) in the Senate.