Walla Walla High School debaters head to state

Students will head to Tacoma this week and next after qualifying at a regional tournament last month.


WALLA WALLA -- Several members of Walla Walla High School's inaugural debate team will travel to Tacoma for state competition.

The students earned top honors in the state qualifying tournament at Chiawana High School in Pasco last month.

Students will compete during the state tournament Friday and Saturday and again March 19-20 at the University of Puget Sound. The first weekend of competition focuses on individual events, while the next weekend is for the more traditional Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Each school was allowed a maximum of two students to send to the Lincoln-Douglas competition, said Wa-Hi team coach Jean Tobin. And despite being in their first year , the Wa-Hi team will send two students to state. Madeline Bronstein and Calvin Brigham came in second and third during the Pasco tournament. The two freshmen are joined by Clement Cantil, a 10th-grader who came in fourth and qualified as an alternate.

The students will debate the topic: "Resolved: In the United States the principle of jury nullification is a just check on government."

For individual events, several students, including Bronstein and Brigham, qualified in Pasco by placing in the top six of each event.

Wa-Hi is sending Carrie Moore, Bronstein, and Hope Grant-Herriot to compete in the expository event at state. Grant-Herriot's presentation in Pasco earned her a first-place finish.

Student Rosa Tobin will compete in original oratory after placing fifth; and Bronstein, Cantil, and Machado Mijiga qualified in the impromptu event. Grant-Herriot is also competing in interpretive reading along with Brigham. Two others, Bryan Preston and Kera Parsons, also qualified for individual events as alternates.

Along with the students' individual achievements, Tobin was also proud of the Wa-Hi team taking home second place for individual events sweepstakes, where entire teams are judged on the team members' combined scores.

"I set a team goal of sending at least one team member to state this year but never anticipated sending almost every team member and earning a team award in the first year of competition," Tobin said in a statement. "This is an amazing group of students and all our team members have worked hard. They all deserve recognition."

Wa-Hi students competed against students from Yakima, Pasco, Moses Lake, Wenatchee, Othello and Leavenworth during the qualifying events. They competed in the top division, open, to qualify for the state tournament.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.


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