Fewer than 500 of the more than 141,000 student members of the National Speech & Debate Association earn this award every year – placing Hester in the top half of one percent of all student members across the country.
The award recognizes students who have completed at least five semesters of high school; earned the degree of Superior Distinction in the association’s Honor Society by earning merit points through competition and service activities; achieved rigorous criteria for GPA and/or test score requirements; and demonstrated outstanding character and leadership.
“I’m honored to receive this award. Debate has meant so much to me,” Hester said.
Aside from the educational benefits of participating in speech and debate, which include becoming a more accomplished public speaker, one of the things Hester enjoys most about this extra-curricular activity is that it allows her to learn more about the world and engage in civil discourse. “As a young person, knowing about and understanding current events is so important,” she said.