SpeakFirst Team Members:


Brooklin Ballard

Class of 2018, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Brooklin Ballard is a senior at Ramsay High School and a fourth-year debater on the SpeakFirst High School team. Brooklin debated for the SpeakFirst Middle School Debate League and was awarded a $250 scholarship for placing second in the end-of-year tournament. Her junior year Brooklin earned the highest win-loss record in program history by winning 67% of her rounds. She hopes to attend and debate for Yale University and aspires to be a United States Ambassador.


Jordyn Cannon

Class of 2018, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Jordyn Cannon is a senior at Ramsay High School and a third year member of the SpeakFirst High School team. Jordyn debated for Huffman Middle School in the SpeakFirst Middle School Debate League. In her spare time, Jordyn enjoys reading mystery novels and watching scary movies.

Christion Finch

Class of 2018, Pelham High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Christion Finch is a senior at Pelham High School. He enjoys listening to classical music and immersing himself in the writings of Shakespeare. Christion likes to stay on top of current events happening in the world. His favorite part of debate is crossfire because it requires him to think on his feet. He would like to attend an Ivy League school and study law and psychology. His life long goal is to be the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Caitlyn Jones

Class of 2018, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Caitlyn Jones is a senior at Ramsay High School. She plans to study human anatomy and biology in college followed by attending Oxford University Medical School to become a Neurosurgeon. Caitlyn served as a volunteer at the McWane Science Center throughout her sophomore and junior year and now is as a volunteer coordinator. While competing in debate for Phillips Academy, she placed second out of all of Birmingham middle school debaters. Outside of debate, she spends her time reading and studying for school. She enjoys tennis, singing and learning how to play the piano, violin and guitar.

Christopher Pilgrom

Class of 2018, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Christopher Pilgrom is a junior attending Ramsay High School. Christopher enjoys watching current events on the news and likes to debate them in his spare time. He considers a number of figures to be his idol, such as Thurgood Marshall and Eric Holder. While unsure about what university he wishes to attend, he knows that he wants to go to law school after completing his undergraduate study. Christopher’s life goal is to become an attorney and eventually be named a Supreme Court Justice.

Dasia Primus

Class of 2018, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Dasia Primus is a senior at Ramsay High School and its International Baccalaureate Program. She plans on being a medical examiner in the field of forensic science. Dasia is an active member of her school’s theatre department. During middle school, she was active on the Phillip’s Academy Junior United Nations Assembly team and debated in the SpeakFirst Middle School Debate League. Dasia enjoys reading and volunteering in her free time. Dasia also enjoys swimming, playing volleyball and tennis, and watching crime shows on the Investigation Channel.

E’shandae Thomas

Class of 2018, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

E’shandae Thomas is a senior attending Ramsay High School. She is involved in Girl’s Empowerment, JROTC, Concert Choir, Mu Alpha Theta and National Honor Societies, and Lads to Leaders. She is proud of her opportunity to compete in NSDA Nationals representing the Deep South District in public forum debate, and also to attend the Harvard Debate Workshop in Boston during the Summer of 2017. E’shandae hopes to attend Spelman College in Atlanta, Howard University in Washington, D.C, or the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.


Myranda Bell

Class of 2019, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Myranda Bell, who prefers to be called “My”, is a junior year at Ramsay High School. She really enjoys astronomy and philosophy and would like to go to Princeton University to study both. Her favorite quote is from a song called “Hiii Power” ,by Kendrick Lamar, which states, “While you guys are waiting, I be off the slave ships, Build your own Pyramids, write your own hieroglyphs.” Her biggest strength is knowledge which leads to her greatest accomplishment, which is finally knowing what she doesn’t know.


Evan Braxton

Class of 2019, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Evan Braxton is a junior at Ramsay High School. Evan enjoys playing basketball, working hard , and hanging out with friends. He likes to play basketball and learn about new, interesting things. His biggest strength is that he can think on his feet quickly, especially in situations where there is a lot of pressure. His favorite quote is from the movie “ATL” which is, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This quote really taught him something to use throughout life. It taught him to treat people with respect no matter who they are. Evan is interested in attending Stanford University.

Aaron Burns_formatted

Aaron Burns

Class of 2019, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, AL

Aaron Burns is a sophomore at Ramsay High School. The only extracurricular he participates in is debate. Aaron’s nickname is “Ace.” The most memorable place he’s been to is Okinawa, Japan, where he lived when his dad, who’s in the Air Force, was stationed in Japan. Aaron likes to play video games and listen to different genre’s for fun. He is not currently interested in any particular college right now but would like to enter the field of law or marketing.

Kayla Caldwell_formatted

Kayla Caldwell

Class of 2019, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Kayla Caldwell is a junior at Ramsay High School. Kayla enjoys shopping, getting her hair and nails done, hanging out with friends, and trying new foods. Her favorite quote is from the First Lady Michelle Obama, “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” Kayla’s proudest accomplishment is when she was accepted into the National Junior Honor Society. In addition, she participates in events at her church such as the choir, dance ministry, and assisting in children’s church. Kayla hopes to pursue a career of a neurosurgeon.


Savannah Dorsey

Class of 2019, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Savannah Dorsey is a junior at Ramsay High School. She likes to play volleyball, go shopping, go out with friends, and practice her Spanish speaking.  My favorite quote is from the book To Kill A Mockingbird which was “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” Her biggest strength is math. She can easily solve equations, graph equations, and more with no struggle. Her proudest accomplishment is when she won valedictorian at the Wilkerson Middle School graduation. She would like to attend Auburn University and major in mathematics.


China Gibson

Class of 2019, Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School, Birmingham, Alabama

China Gibson is a junior at Jefferson County International Baccalaureate school. China is involved in the Praise Team at church, Girl Scouts, Ronald McDonald House Club, photography, Japanese and German classes. One of China’s biggest accomplishments is being able to attend JCIB. She enjoys being a big and little sister. For fun, China loves babysitting, going to the movies, bowling, skating, and bonding with her family. Family bonding, the love of traveling, and passion is what led to one of China’s most memorable experiences. One memorable place China has been to is Washington, D.C. to see President Barack Obama’s inauguration. In hopes of becoming a future doctor, China plans to attend Tuskegee or Spelman University.

Darpha Carson

Darpha Carson

Class of 2020, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Darpha is a sophomore at Ramsay High School and enjoys a ton of musically related things. He enjoys creating his own personal remixes of songs that he has heard but has yet to find a way to actually make them public. Darpha also likes to write his own short stories and has been trying to write his own novel. His favourite artists are Pegboard Nerds, Slushii, Watsky, Marshmello, and generally every artist associated with Monstercat. Though he is highly influenced by music he is also very fascinated the science, tech, and mathematics. Darpha has been interested in both music and science since he was young. He has a dream to create his own company that does not focus solely on one field of study, rather combines multiple fields to create newer concepts of invention. Darpha’s biggest strength is that he can be very motivational when his friends need his help most. The one place he has always wanted to go to is Tokyo, Japan and the U.K., mainly because he is curious about how those two cultures are different from each other. Darpha’s favourite song lyrics are:

Can’t bear a bear market with a bare body Rich heir—hot air choking errbody They swore you’d soar, check your sore body See the sweat pour from each pore of your poor body Someone wise once wrote ‘our world’s divided into two types of folk Now there’s the type of people who divide the world into different types of people And then there’s the type who don’t.'”

Ferrell Oden

Ferrell Oden

Class of 2020, Shades Valley High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Ferrell Oden is a sophomore at Shades Valley High School. He is a saxophone player, enjoys bowling and debate. Ferrell’s favorite part of debate is the crossfire because it gives him the time to question the opponent’s flaws in their case. He’s planning on getting a PhD. in computer software engineering. He plans to attend to college away from the  south. His biggest strength is thinking on his feet. He hopes to travel to the United Kingdom.

Gabrielle Frazier

Gabrielle Frazier

Class of 2020, Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School, Birmingham, Alabama

Gabrielle Frazier is a sophomore at  Jefferson County IB school. Gabrielle likes to be called “Gabby” or anything along those lines. Gabrielle loves to draw cartoon characters and write fan-fictions in her free time. Gabrielle also likes to play video games for fun. One thing that Gabrielle likes about debate is the rebuttal because it gives you a chance to attack your opponent without any interruptions.Gabrielle’s favorite quote from Iris, a song by the Goo Goo Dolls is, “Yeah, you bleed just to know you’re alive,”.This quote reminds Gabrielle that whenever she feels like she’s invisible, she’s not and that she has a voice. Gabrielle wants to attend University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning to major in Architecture, or NYU Studio Arts BFA Program.

Key’Airra Goldsmith

Class of 2020, Ramsay High School, Birmingham, Alabama

Key’Airra Goldsmith is a sophomore at Ramsay High School. She wants to attend the University of California-LA and study psychology and journalism. Her favorite quote is “You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.” For fun she writes books and makes YouTube videos. One of her proudest accomplishments was being the valedictorian of her 8th grade class. She also loves to cook, sing, and dance. Key’Airra was a part of Lovely and S.W.E.E.T., a mentoring group that doubles as a step group. Her favorite artists are Adele, Ed Sheeran, and Sam Smith. Her idol is Temperance Brennan from her favorite TV show Bones.