Sophia Roy National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament

Sophomore Sophia Roy Qualifies for NSDA National Speech and Debate Tournament

Chelmsford High School Speech and Debate ClubMs. Roy to compete in Informative Speaking category June 11-16 in Arizona

CHELMSFORD, MA (Feb. 10, 2023) – Sophomore Sophia Roy qualified for the 2023 National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Tournament June 11-16 in Phoenix and Mesa, Ariz., after impressing in the New England District Speech and Debate Tournament Feb. 3-4 at Catholic Memorial High School.

Ms. Roy will compete in the Informative Speaking category in which, according to the NSDA, students speak with the intent of informing the audience on a topic of significance with clear examples of evidence, logic and a strong message.

Ms. Roy delivered a speech titled ‘I Heel Sexy,’ and dove into the history of high heels, the anatomy of the heel, and the reason women wear them despite the pain. Though the results from the New England district tournament have not been made public, her unique subject matter and delivery earned her the trip to Arizona.

Though only a sophomore, Ms. Roy feels she will be well-prepared due to the Chelmsford High School Speech and Debate Club’s rigorous schedule.

“Going into Nationals as a sophomore, I definitely feel nervous because there are so many talented people going to Nationals,” said Ms. Roy. “But having gone to the Harvard and Yale National Speech Tournaments, I’ve been able to see the expectations that are set at national tournaments, and I am ready to work as hard as I can to represent Chelmsford High School.

“The number one strength I have is definitely the passion I have for Speech and Debate, and Public Speaking,” she added. “I think that as long as my passion for my topic shines through, I’ll be able to succeed at Nationals this June.”

Peter Zopes, long-time advisor to CHS’s Speech and Debate Club, believes Ms. Roy will also benefit from her extracurricular involvement.

“I think Sophia will do well. While there are certainly benefits from being a junior or senior with more years of experience going to national finals, Sophia has complimentary experiences to bolster her performance at NSDA Nationals,” said Mr. Zopes, noting Ms. Roy’s involvement in the CHS Theatre Guild, The Thursdays and Ted-Ed Club. “Public performance is not something she is shy about. In school, Sophia takes a number of Honors and AP courses, and even with all of this, works part-time. She understands time management, planning, and handling a heavy load.”

As a freshman, Ms. Roy advanced to the semifinal round of the Harvard National Forensics Tournament as well as the Yale University Invitational in September.

“Those are major tournaments,” Mr. Zopes noted. “So as a freshman and early sophomore, to advance that far is fantastic. Besides Informative Speaking, Sophia is also competing in Declamation, another public address event, and also doing very well.”

Also competing at the New England district qualifier were freshmen Pranav Ajmera and Vinay Murugan, who contended in the Lincoln Douglas category, in which two students argue for or against a resolution put forth by the National Forensics League. Though neither Mr. Ajmera or Murugan advanced, Mr. Zopes said the experience was vital.

“They are eager competitors and faced tough competition in open division Lincoln Douglas debate, so they were up against upperclassmen and more seasoned competitors who wanted to go to Nationals,” Mr. Zopes said. “They did not advance into the final rounds, but I have no doubt that in another year or two they will earn their spots for Nationals. They have already done quite well at State tournaments.”

In addition to the Massachusetts Speech and Debate League Speech and Congress at CHS Saturday, Apr. 1, CHS’s Speech and Debate members have several tournaments forthcoming including:

  • National Catholic Forensics League Qualifier at Shrewsbury H.S. (Saturday, Feb. 11)
  • Shrewsbury H.S. Mardi Gras Tournament (Saturday, Mar. 4)
  • March Merryness Tournament at Needham H.S. (Saturday, Mar. 18)
  • Massachusetts Speech and Debate League Tournament at Acton-Boxborogh H.S. (Saturday, Mar. 25)


About Chelmsford Public Schools

The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit