On Tuesday, July 27th, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors recognized two student members of Nevada Union’s debate team with the Nevada County Youth Leadership Award and gave a certificate of recognition to their coach.
Debate Team partners Evelyn Grandfield and Jackson Witt, and their volunteer coach, Stephen Goldberg earned the award due to their achievements in debate, leadership among their peers, and community service. Evelyn and Jackson recently competed in the Tournament of Champions, placing higher than any other team in the program's history, are student teachers for the NU debate team, and are active in extracurriculars like social justice issues, sports and music.
Evelyn Grandfield, a senior at Nevada Union, began policy debate in the junior high debate program at Seven Hills. As a novice debater freshman year, she defined her future in policy debate by “breaking” to the elimination rounds at her very first tournament and going on to win the Western Nationals later that year. By her junior year, she was teaching the debate class at NU while participating in every debate tournament possible, winning two tournaments that year and earning one “bid” to the TOC.
Evelyn was recently named Valedictorian and top of her class at NU, with a stellar academic record. She was also named captain of the NU Varsity Water Polo Team after playing the sport for eight years. She is passionate about social justice and volunteering for those in need, and recently completed Crisis Intervention Training for victims of domestic abuse by Nevada County’s non-profit organization Community Beyond Violence. During her time at NU she was also active in Site Council and in the Social Justice Club. Evelyn has been admitted to Wesleyan University, where she plans to study Government and Environmental Sciences.
Jackson Witt has been involved in policy debate since the 5th grade. He currently teaches the high school elective at Nevada Union along with Evelyn. He is also instructor and director for the middle school debate program. His goal is to keep the debate program strong in Nevada County. His debate accomplishments include two-time NCFL qualification for the national tournament, semifinalist at the UNLV tournament, quarter finalist at the Alta tournament, and bid qualifier for the prestigious, coveted Tournament of Champions. Jackson is also a three-year Varsity letter earner on the Water Polo and Swim teams. He competed in the Junior Olympics Water Polo tournament with his club team Sac Polo, and this year joined the tennis team. Jackson has a passion for music, and plays four instruments including guitar, bass, saxophone, and piano. He has played with the Nevada County Concert Band; Nevada Union’s symphonic, jazz, and combo bands; as well as a local youth rock band program. He served as NU Band Council’s Vice President. For his final year of high school, he will serve as the student board member for Nevada County Indian Education.
Volunteer coach Stephen Goldberg, who was recognized by the Board of Supervisors in 2018 has just completed his 23rd year volunteering as NU’s debate coach. He drives from Sacramento each week to work with the team and has been an instrumental role model in these young leaders’ lives. The 2020/2021 school year was his most successful year coaching in all 23 years -- he took four total teams to the TOC.
About the Nevada County Youth Leadership Award
The Nevada County Youth Leadership Award was established to recognize and elevate young people who demonstrate leadership through community service and exceptional accomplishments in the areas of the arts, academics, agriculture, athletics, music or a similar field. The awardee receives a Challenge Coin, a certificate, and public recognition by the Board of Supervisors.