Jackson Hole High School’s newest speech and debate team members fared well in the season’s first tournament.
At a novice-only contest Saturday in Worland, nine Jackson competitors found themselves in the top 10 finishers in their respective events. Freshman Alexis Hernandez topped the field in extemporaneous speaking, which gives students a topic and requires them to research and write a seven-minute speech in just 30 minutes.
“A student’s understanding of important political, economic, and cultural issues is assessed along with critical thinking and analytical skills,” according to the National Speech and Debate Association.
Hernandez was the only student to win an event, though several others found themselves on the podium. In original oratory, sophomore Tina Tonkin took second place for a composition about racial prejudice in a small town, and freshman Nicole Checker and sophomore Nayeli Hernandez Lopez finished third in duo interpretation, in which a team of two performs a 10-minute rendition of a published work.
Freshmen Jheili Montiel Huerta and Ary Jimenez Garcia also found the podium in public forum debate, finishing third. In an event that pits pairs of debaters against each other on either side of an issue, the Jackson students compared the negatives and positives of the government’s use of cyber warfare operations.
“The strength of the team is growing,” coach Londe Gagnon said in a statement. “We are extremely excited to see the promise of our novices and look forward to seeing what the upcoming meets will bring.”
In other events, junior Abigail Daugherty took sixth in humorous interpretation, which tests a student’s ability to deliver comedic pieces with timing, delivery and character development, while freshman Julieta Anaya placed eighth in the event. Freshman Maya Worcester made the top eight in one session of congressional debate.
The team travels to Rock Springs this weekend for a tournament that includes both novice and varsity competitors.