Jackson Hole High School’s speech and debate team is seeking support to send students to nationals after a record-breaking eight team members qualified for the tournament.

“It’s more than we’ve ever taken before,” assistant coach Peggy Gagnon said. “It’s a pretty impressive year.”

The qualifiers are seniors Samantha Smith and Leila Sandlin, juniors Maleah Tuttle and Warren Levy, sophomore Josh Hansen and freshmen Virginia Girling, William Aepli and Anna Revill.

Flying eight students from Jackson to Dallas isn’t cheap. Gagnon estimated the transportation, lodging registration fees and meals for the students, their coaches and parent judges will cost $24,000. Due to the number of students who qualified, the team has to provide additional adults to help at the tournament.

“We have no school funds to do that,” Gagnon said. “We have to raise it all ourselves.”

The team has qualified students for nationals for the past 22 years. More freshmen qualified this year than ever before.

Tuttle and Levy will compete in extemporaneous speaking. Girling, Aepli and Hansen will compete in congressional debate. Smith will compete in informative speaking and Sandlin in program oral interpretation. Revill will join four other students from Wyoming on a team in world schools debate.

Several upcoming events offer opportunities to support the students, who enjoyed help from some 300 community members who pitched in at their home tournament this year. Students are selling raffle tickets in front of grocery stores in the afternoons. Prizes include overnight stays, dinners, rounds of golf and whitewater trips.

The team is also holding a spaghetti dinner from 6 to 8:30 p.m. May 31 at the Elks Club. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children under 12. The other major fundraiser will be a garage sale held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 8 at the corner of 380 W. Kelly Ave. Folks with items to donate should contact joshan@student.tcsd.org or marmajo@jhcschool.org.

Cash donations are also welcome. Online donations via credit cards can be made through a website called EdCo, designated to go toward the speech and debate club at

Jackson-Hole-High.Ed.Co/r/mg2l9vvz. So far just over $2,000 has been raised.

Donations can also be made by contacting coach Londe Gagnon at lgagnon@tcsd.org or by calling 699-0537.

Contact Kylie Mohr at 732-7079 or schools@jhnewsandguide.com.

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