Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege to be able to recognize the achievements and hard work of outstanding students in my community. As the 2017–2018 school year is winding down, two students from Kingwood High School are just getting warmed up.  

Emily Grantham and Leila Saklou, Kingwood High School eleventh graders, have earned two of the five spots on Team USA at the World Schools Debate Championships. Competing in debate tournaments at Cornell University, Harvard University, Los Angeles, Germany, Croatia, and Taiwan, Emily and Leila have traveled the world.

Debate creates leaders. I also commend Emily and Leila’s debate team and their coaches at Kingwood High School. Young men and women of all backgrounds have come together, working as a team, to accomplish a single goal.  

This teamwork serves as an example for all of us. Congress should take notice of this squad. The World Schools Debate Championships will be held this summer in Croatia from July 17 to July 27. More than 50 countries compete at this 10 day global competition for high school debate teams each year, discussing 13 diverse topics such as politics, philosophy, technology, and law.

This global event promotes excellence, creativity, and critical thinking. Emily and Leila’s success in the world class event is inspiring. As a past patron of the World Schools Debate Championships, Nelson Mandela, said, ‘‘A winner is a dreamer who never gives up’’.

Emily and Leila are already winners in my book, and have demonstrated an exceptionally high standard of excellence and talent. These girls have earned the distinction of representing not only Texas, but the United States.  

I know they will represent us with pride and dignity. Congratulations to Emily and Leila for their outstanding achievements. My best wishes are with them this summer. Go Team USA, and Kingwood Strong. 

And that’s just the way it is.