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Max Braunstein

Max Braunstein, 16, took third place in prose Friday at the National Speech and Debate Tournament. He will be a junior this fall at East High School. 

SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux City high school student on Friday took home third place at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas. 

Max Braunstein, 16, who will be a junior this fall at East High School, won third in prose at the event at the Dallas Sheraton. He read Charlie Fish's short story "Death By Scrabble," a tale of a man who expresses his contempt for his wife during a game of Scrabble before he chokes to death on one of the game pieces. 

"I kind of went on the insane side for the character that I personified," he said. 

Participants have to memorize their pieces, though they do get a binder -- but Braunstein said the binder is more for theatrical purposes. He used his binder as a mock rack for his letters in the Scrabble game. 

Braunstein said he was drawn to Speech and Debate in the middle of his sophomore year. He's also interested in music and theater. 

"I played a lot of sports during my middle school and elementary school years, but I kind of lost interest in it over time, and I actually moved to Sioux City partly for the reason that I wanted to join the choral program," he said. "And then I also realized after a little while that, hey, this school has a really good Speech and Debate program." 

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