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5 JHHS students qualify for National Speech and Debate Tournament

5 JHHS students qualify for National Speech and Debate Tournament

(Jackson, Wyo.) - The Jackson Hole High School (JHHS) Speech and Debate Team found incredible success this past weekend at the National Speech and Debate Association’s District Tournament, held March 17-19, at Central Wyoming College. The meet was attended by 17 schools. Seniors Bella Wood, Tristan Wagner, Forest Tran and sophomores Daniel Pepper and Aaron Trauner will represent the Wind River NSDA District this June as they travel to Salt Lake City to compete against the best in the nation at the National Tournament. This is the eighteenth consecutive year the team has qualified students for the national meet. Public Forum Debate proved to be a Jackson strength as the team of Tran and Wagner joined the team of Trauner and Pepper to achieve qualifying status. Both teams navigated the question of whether the United States should withdraw its military presence from Okinawa. . Wagner and Tran topped all 24 competitors at the meet with the number of ballots won. Pepper and Trauner were close behind. The Jackson team was ranked second overall in debate performance over the weekend. Freshmen Shoshana Sangros and Samantha Smith contributed strongly to the team’s performance, earning the third alternate spot in PF Debate as well. Bella Wood earned her qualifying slot in Humorous Interpretation, an event that has brought her success all season. Wood also earned a second alternate slot for the District in Original Oratory. Wood has found consistent success this season in oratory, reaching finals rounds at nearly every meet. Wagner would also be attending Nationals this summer in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking (the event he attended in last year) but for the rule preventing qualifiers from attending in more than one event. Other weekend success was gained by Mataya Foster, being named first alternate in Informative Speaking, a new event to NSDA this year. Sophomore Ellie Dunn earned an alternate title in Foreign Extemp and Trauner earned alternate status in Congressional Debate as well. “The depth of our team continues to develop. The dedication of this year’s team matches the focus of any team in the school’s history,” said Londe Gagnon, who coaches the team with Peggy Gagnon. The 2016 Salt Lake City Nationals will be held June 12-17.. Top competitors from across the country will gather to determine the national champion in each forensic event. The National Speech and Debate Association is an honor society that “promotes interscholastic debate, oratory, and public speaking by encouraging a spirit of fellowship and by conferring upon deserving candidates a worthy badge of distinction.” “Our entire team represents the qualities the NSDA strives to achieve. All five Jackson students will be exemplary ambassadors in Salt Lake this summer," said Coach Gagnon. The Wind River District includes all Wyoming high schools west of I-25. At Riverton, competitors traveled from Casper Natrona and Kelly Walsh, Cody, Rock Springs, Douglas, Powell, Riverton, Lovell, Green River, Worland, Saratoga, Star Valley, Evanston, Greybull, Rawlins, Hot Springs and Jackson to compete. *Feature Photo: The qualifiers and coaches. h/t JHHS Speech and Debate /