Speech and Debate Team Takes Their Competition to Utah

October 09, 2018

On October 2, the Parker School speech and debate team embarked on an extended tour of the state of Utah, returning on October 7. The entire trip was made possible by a generous grant from the Julia Burke Foundation, who covered the cost of travel, lodging and tournament fees for all participants, as part of a $100,000 award to Parker School to defray expenses for speech and debate travel to the mainland during the 2018-2019 school year. 

During the trip, they participated in practice meets with West High and Rowland Hall School and competed in two tournaments.  “West and Rowland Hall are two of the strongest teams in Utah, and they gave our kids solid competition in preparation for the tournaments to come,” said Coach Carl Sturges.  On October 3, the Parker squad traveled to Clearfield High to participate in the Falcon First Invitational, which drew 21 schools and 400 competitors.  Parker’s top finishes included Zoe Smith Vann, with a second place in varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Anna Gaglione and Grace Bollinger, who took second in varsity public forum debate, and Jamie Saito, the third-place finisher in impromptu speaking. 

On October 4 and 5, the team participated in the University of Utah’s Beehive Bonanza, a gigantic tournament with more than 1000 competitors from 48 schools spread out over six states.  Despite being the second smallest of the 48 schools, Parker argued its way into a very strong finish, receiving a fourth-place team speech and debate sweepstakes award and earning more sweepstakes points in the debate events than the next two finishers combined.  Top finishers included:  Eloise Robertson and Briana Hunt, semifinalists in novice policy debate, Ellie Carey and Lucas Koranda, quarterfinalists in novice policy debate, Emily Fetsch and Katie Carey, quarterfinalists in varsity policy debate, Zoe Smith Vann, a quarterfinalist in varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate, Everett Gordon and Cooper Callender, semifinalists in novice public forum debate, Elona Blunt and Maddie Weigle and Amanda Black and Elise Barthel, quarterfinalists in public forum debate, and Anna Gaglione and Grace Bollinger, semifinalists in varsity public forum debate.  Malia Dills finished in third place in varsity extemporaneous speaking.  Ellie Carey won the award for top novice policy speaker, and McKensie Byran was named the top novice public forum speaker. 

Overall, Parker School speech and debaters demonstrated conclusively that Hawaii students can compete successfully with their mainland counterparts at top-tier tournaments.