Skip To Main Content








Landing Nav



Share this article with a friend.

May 28, 2024

For information on admission to Notre Dame Prep, please click here

Notre Dame Prep's National Catholic Forensic League's team brings home the school's first-ever finalist finish in the annual national competition in Chicago.

Michael Kenny NDP'24 is with his finalist trophy after the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament held in Chicago during the Memorial Day weekend.

Notre Dame Prep traveled to Chicago over the holiday weekend to compete once again in a national speech and debate tournament. AJ Light NDP‘24, Eric Davis NDP‘25, Matthew Kafarski NDP‘25, Jamie Thomas NDP‘26, Michael Kenny NDP‘24 were in the Windy City with coach and mentor Dr. LeAnne Schmidt at the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament. 

Light and Thomas competed in Lincoln-Douglas and the others competed in Student Congress debates in the event that also welcomed about 5,000 students from around the U.S. Competition began on Saturday and advanced rounds continued Sunday.

According to Schmidt, the five-member NCFL team from NDP performed exceedingly well with Kenny scoring a school-first finalist position at the annual event.

"Michael finished in the top twenty in the nation in student congress," she said. "Michael also served as presiding officer for a preliminary and semifinal chamber, narrowly missing election to preside over the finals. This is Michael’s fourth NCFL tournament: virtually in 2021, Washington, DC in 2022 and Louisville in 2023."

Light, who graduated from NDP May 19 with classmate Kenny, also finished his high school speech and debate career in Chicago, ranked 19th in Lincoln-Douglas debate after the early rounds, but taking two losses later in the day, which put him out of the running for the coveted top 32 competitors who would advance to eliminations on Sunday. 

From left, AJ Light NDP'24, Eric Davis NDP‘25, Mikayla Ohannesian (Lincoln-Douglas debate coach), Matthew Kafarski NDP‘25, Jamie Thomas NDP‘26 and Michael Kenny NDP‘24 were in the Windy City for the NCFL national event.

"Sophomore Jamie Thomas, who ranked fifth in Michigan and qualified for the NSDA Nationals in Lincoln-Douglas debate, fought through her own five rounds in Lincoln-Douglas this weekend, too," Schmidt noted. "She’s also very eager for a rematch in 2025!"

In addition, Davis and Kafarski experienced their first NCFL national tournament in Student Congress. 

"Like Michael, they competed in nine hours of debate over twelve hours," discussing 12 student-written bills, one crafted by Davis, according to Schmidt. 

Next year’s tournament, which is always held during Memorial Day weekend, will also be hosted in Chicago due to the COVID cancellation of the 2020 event that originally was to be held there. NDP's three underclassmen definitely are planning on a rematch!

Kenny is at work in Chicago.

More on the NCFL:
The National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) is a speech and debate league that was formed in 1951. It is organized into regions that correspond to Roman Catholic dioceses. Member schools include both public and parochial high schools. The NCFL recruits member schools in both the United States and Canada. As of January 2011, there were 65 active dioceses with NCFL leagues. 

The NCFL sponsors the Grand National Speech and Debate Tournament held each year over Memorial Day weekend. It offers an array of events similar, but not identical, to those of the National Speech and Debate Association.

For information on admission to Notre Dame Prep, please click here.

Comments or questions?

About Notre Dame Preparatory School
"At Notre Dame Prep, we inspire our students to become the best versions of themselves. We challenge them through an experience of academic excellence, focused on active, project-based learning. We invite them to explore a world of opportunities beyond the classroom. We guide them as they grow in spirituality within a community strong in its Catholic and Marist identity."

Notre Dame Preparatory School is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School's upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame Prep's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDP is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School, visit the school’s home page at