Jennifer Armstrong, 18
Pace Academy, senior
Debate has been a lifelong passion for Jennifer Armstrong, daughter of Jim and Carol Armstrong, who this year helped bring home a 22nd consecutive state championship for Pace Academy’s debate team.
The Georgia High School Association State Debate Championship was held Feb. 6 and 7 at Pace’s Buckhead campus.
“My parents would say I started debating as soon as I was able to speak, but it wasn’t until seventh grade that I started debating in organized competitions,” Jennifer said. “I enjoy learning for the sake of learning. Debate has helped me to realize this by exposing me to current event issues, political proposals and philosophical ideas.”
The first formal debate Jennifer participated in was at High Meadows School in Roswell during a history class, where she debated the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima during World War II. She has since been hooked, and in the past four years she has traveled to tournaments in such cities as San Francisco, Miami, Dallas and Chicago.
“For each of the past three years, my partner (Peyton Lee) and I were one of about 70 teams across the country to qualify for the Tournament of Champions,” Jennifer said. “Sophomore year, we were the only all-sophomore team to qualify, and last year we placed in the top 16 teams nationally. This year we are looking forward to the tournament in May.”
Jennifer has won an award for excellence in speech and debate from Pace, and this year and last she was named “top affirmative speaker” at the state level.
When she’s not debating or helping to coach the Pace Academy and High Meadows middle school debate teams, Jennifer likes to swim, bike and participate in her youth group at Sandy Springs Christian Church.
All of the colleges Jennifer applied to have nationally ranked intercollegiate policy debate teams. She is considering studying economics or environmental science and has been accepted into the honors program at the University of Georgia, Wake Forest University and the University of Richmond. She also applied to Dartmouth College, Emory University, the University of Redlands and the University of Southern California.