Nico was recently recognized for his debating skills, placing fourth out of 67 speakers competing in a national debate tournament at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., last month. While the other students debated in teams of two, Nico competed solo because his debate partner was not able to attend the competition.
“Competing by myself, called going ‘maverick,’ is extremely difficult,” he said. “I found it very difficult to manage the limited amount of prep time that I had — functionally half of all the other teams I was facing, and it was tiring to speak twice as much as everyone else had to.”
Nico made it to the playoff level of the tournament, winning five out of six rounds. He said it was interesting when the other teams were caught off guard when they discovered he was competing solo.
Nico said starting a debate club at Cambridge High School is a great opportunity to make a lasting impact on the school. When forming the club, he said he received help from others at nearby schools that already had debate programs, including Alpharetta High School.
This year, he has taken on the task of expanding the club, recruiting incoming freshman and students, and serving as a coach to the others in the club.
“There are several new members of the program who are interested in competing, but few who have gotten an opportunity,” Nico said. “It can be a large monetary commitment on the part of the debater and [his or her] family because the program can’t help pay for tournament fees. This has been a challenge that we have recursively been faced with.”
In addition to his role developing the debate club, Nico is working on building an ultimate Frisbee club at Cambridge. Ultimate Frisbee is an activity he is passionate about and plays weekly.
“I also run track and am a member of the Spanish National Honor Society as well as being an officer of the Beta Club,” he said.
His academic course load this year includes two Advanced Placement classes and four honors classes.