March 26, 2020 Achievements

Two East High School Students Earn NSDA Academic All-American Honors

Carter Vanderloo and Whitney Lester

Two East High School students have earned Academic All-American Awards from the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA). Whitney Lester and Carter Vanderloo have been honored for their academic rigor, competitive speech and debate success, and personal excellence.

The All-American Award recognizes students who have completed at least five semesters of high school; earned the degree of Superior Distinction in the NSDA Honor Society; achieved rigorous criteria for grade point average and/or test score requirements; and demonstrated outstanding character and leadership. More than 141,000 students are members of the NSDA. Only two percent of NSDA member students receive the Academic All American award.

Lester, now a senior, has been highly involved in speech and debate for four years. She is the East High debate team captain and a three-time National Debate Qualifier. In addition to earning a Superior Distinction through NSDA, Lester also earned the Iowa Forensics League State Speech Champion in Humorous Interpretation. Lester has been nominated for All-State seven times with Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA) during her speech career. At East High, Lester is active in the Headliners Show Choir, dance, National Honor Society, golf, and cross country.

Vanderloo, a junior, exhibits outstanding dedication to the East High speech and debate team. He has earned a Superior Distinction through the NSDA and demonstrated success in the NSDA categories of Duo, Dramatic Interpretation, Prose, Poetry, and Program Oral Interpretation (POI). Vanderloo qualified for the National Individual Events of Champions, is a three-time Iowa Forensic League State Champion in Prose and POI, and is a two-time National Speech and Debate Qualifier. At East High, Vanderloo participates in the Headliners Show Choir, dance, student council, and chamber choir.

Marissa Kuiken, East High School Speech and Debate coach, is incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication exhibited by these students.

“Whitney’s work ethic, team leadership, and all-around good character make her an outstanding person and the epitome of what makes an Academic All American. At every debate tournament and speech tournament, she represents the Sioux City Community School District with positive choices, leadership abilities, and a great personality,” said Kuiken.

Kuiken goes on to say, “Carter’s fantastic leadership abilities, involvement in the school, and drive and passion for speech and debate make him a perfect Academic All-American. Carter is an amazing leader and role model at Sioux City East High.”