In June, Abigail King, of Jackson, was awarded a Master of Science degree in environmental engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Though they wished they could be in Albuquerque, New Mexico, members of the Jackson Hole High School speech and debate team still made the best of the first-ever online national tournament last week. The 2019-20 team represented well, with unprecedented 11 qualifiers. Though all of the students had great showings in preliminary rounds, the team’s efforts were headlined by three advancing entries.

Sophomore William Aepli stole the show, accounting for two of the team’s three advancing entries. After placing sixth in his Congressional Debate chamber and narrowly missing the break for the next round, he advanced to the sixth round of Extemporaneous Debate. Aepli went undefeated in preliminary rounds. He went on to earn 12th in the nation in Prepared Commentary with a five-minute speech on the importance of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Juniors Joshua Hansen and Preston Harmon, who will be next year’s team captains, partnered in Public Forum Debate for an impressive showing. Hansen, a second-time national qualifier, went on to compete in Extemporaneous Debate as Jackson Hole’s third advancing entry and progressed the furthest in the event of any Wyoming competitor. He went undefeated in preliminary rounds to reach round seven, ranking him No. 63 in the nation. Points accrued earned Hansen a nod as a 2019-20 All-American, the first Jackson Hole High School student to do so since Aaron Trauner in 2017-18. Hansen heads into the 2020-21 season ranked No. 20 in the United States across all events. He’s joined on the leaderboards by Aepli, who is ranked No. 50 nationally and No. 8 among the class of 2022.

Sophomore Lily Briggs joined Aepli in both Extemporaneous Debate and Congressional Debate, where she placed seventh in her chamber.

Jackson qualified all four of its active seniors to the national tournament: River Gayton, who is headed to Chapman University in the fall, competed in Informative Speaking; Maleah Tuttle, Jackson Hole High School’s first-ever four-time national qualifier and an entering freshman at Fort Lewis College, competed in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, earning several first- and second-place rankings in preliminary rounds as well; Warren Levy, one of the team’s two captains of this season and a second-time qualifier, was unable to attend the tournament, though he qualify for nationals in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking; and Darcy Mueller, Levy’s fellow captain, was one of three Jackson students to compete in World Schools Debate at nationals.

Other qualifying sophomores were Jesiah Coates, Carter Worcester and Nayeli Hernandez-Lopez.

The Jackson Hole High School speech and debate team is coached by Londe Gagnon and Peggy Gagnon.

Cassidy Sebastian, of Jackson, was named to the President’s List for the spring semester at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Students must earn a 3.85 to 4.0 GPA to make the list.

Jacob Freeze, of Jackson, was named to Gonzaga’s Dean’s List for the spring, having earned the required 3.5 to 3.84 GPA.

The University of Utah in Salt Lake City celebrated 8,628 graduates April 20 in its first-ever virtual commencement ceremony, including the following students from the Jackson Hole area:

Sloane Gordon, of Jackson, with a Bachelor of Science in marketing;

Taralee Larsen, of Jackson, with a Bachelor of Science in psychology;

Brian Tanabe, of Jackson, with a Masters in Business Administration.

Johanna Love steers the newsroom as editor. Her time off is occupied by kid, dog, biking, camping and art. She loves to hear from readers with story tips, kudos, criticism and questions.

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