Felicia Blinkis, of West Hempstead, a sophomore at the all-girls Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and a member of the school’s speech and debate team, recently qualified for a nationwide debate championship that will take place later this month, hosted by the National Catholic Forensic League, an organization that facilitates public speaking activities for parochial-school students.
Blinkis, 16, competed in the organization’s state tournament last March in the declamation category against nearly 30 students from Chaminade, Syosset High School, St. John’s Preparatory School and Forest Hills High School. Blinkis had to memorize a well-known speech and develop a quick summary of it, both delivered in a 10-minute presentation. She chose to recite Severn Suzuki’s 1992 Earth Summit address to the United Nations, which she will also deliver at the Grand National Tournament in Chicago, Ill. from May 24 to 27.
“It was my goal all along to make it to Nationals, now it’s just about preparing [for the competition],” she said.
Blinkis, who started competing in oratorical contests when she was a sixth-grader at St. Thomas the Apostle School, nabbed first place at debate tournaments at Chaminade High School and Molloy College last November.
As she prepares to compete at Nationals, Blinkis said she will make sure to focus on her speech’s meaning rather than beating her competitors.