Summit High School Speech and Debate team seeking support for trip to Nationals |

Summit High School Speech and Debate team seeking support for trip to Nationals

Six members of the Summit High Speech and Debate team qualified for Nationals in Alabama and are asking the community to pitch in and help them pay for the trip.
Courtesy of the Summit High Speech and Debate Team |

The Summit High School Speech and Debate team has been travelling all across the state since competition season began in October of last year, attending tournaments from Grand Junction to Boulder.

Soon, the team hopes to send its qualifying speakers and debaters to the national competition in Birmingham, Alabama, and is asking for the community’s support in funding the trip.

The team has often had long days throughout the season, leaving Summit as early as 5:30 a.m. and returning as late as midnight. On the bus rides to competitions they prepare their cases and speeches — tweaking, reviewing and perfecting their work in anticipation for the day’s events, which include improvised speaking, interpretative dramatic performances and debates.

Each time, it’s an exhausting day for the students but also for coaches Wendy King and Joe Kassay, who double as bus drivers. This year, those days have paid off in a big way for the team.

In December, Summit took third place at Cherry Creek High School, while competing against several nationally ranked schools. Then, in January, they won the tournament at Fairview High School in Boulder, beating Front Range competition that traditionally finishes in the top 20 in the country.

At the state qualifying tournament in Palisade, Summit High tied for first place, sending a record 15 students to the tournament in Denver.

Orion Van Oss was the No. 1 speaker in Colorado for Poetry Interpretation. Several other Summit students made it to semifinals and finals in their events, including Alana Lebaron’s fourth place finish in Poetry Interpretation and Julia Whinston’s 10th place in Poetry Oral Interpretation.

In the past, Summit has occasionally sent one or two students to the National Speech and Debate Tournament, but this year, the team will be sending six speakers and debaters to Nationals in Alabama. There, they will have the opportunity to compete with the top 2,000 students in the nation.

The Summit High Speech and Debate Team has no school funding for the trip and is reaching out to the community for support. The team hopes to raise $6,000 to fly, feed and house the competitors for the weeklong experience.

Those who would like to contribute may do so here.

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