Eight Jackson Hole High School students took a trip to Dallas last weekend, but they weren’t on vacation.
The students — seniors Leila Sandlin and Samantha Smith, juniors Warren Levy and Maleah Tuttle, sophomore Josh Hansen and freshmen William Aepli, Virginia Girling and Anna Revill — went to the National Speech and Debate Association’s national tournament from June 16 to 21 to represent the high school’s speech and debate team. Though none of them brought home hardware, they made strong showings, coach Londe Gagnon said in a press release.
Out of 239 students, Sandlin made the top 60 in oral interpretation, becoming the first Jackson student to reach the final rounds in the event. Her program focused on high school rape and party culture and combined prose, poetry and drama.
Three students — Aepli, Hansen and Girling — were close to making the final rounds in congressional debate, in which the top six competitors from each preliminary chamber advance to the finals. Girling and Hansen were seventh and eighth, while Aepli tied for sixth but lost on a tiebreaker.
Several students went deep into preliminary rounds in their events but were unable to advance to the elimination rounds, including Levy and Tuttle in extemporaneous speaking, and Revill as part of a team from the Wind River District in world schools debate. Three students went several rounds in the informative speaking event, with Smith and Aepli making round five and Hansen making round four.
“All eight competitors represented JHHS well and worked together as a group to advance,” Gagnon said. “We look forward to the promise our young team holds.”