The Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers and the Los Alamos Middle School Hawktalkers celebrate their performances at the New Mexico State Speech and Debate Championship with middle school coach, Sherri Bublitz and high school coach Margo Batha. Courtesy photo
This past weekend, 40 members of the Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers Speech and Debate team and five members of the Los Alamos Middle School Hawktalkers Speech and Debate team traveled to Manzano High School in Albuquerque to compete in the New Mexico State Speech and Debate.
Both teams turned in many solid performances at the tourament. Placing fourth in overall points earned during the tournament, the Hilltalkers were awarded the New Mexico Speech and Debate School of Excellence.
The following Hilltalkers placed in events:
- Emily Holmes and Neha Sadasivan—1st place, Duo Interpretation
- Claire DeCroix and Dylan Mauldin—2nd place, Duo Interpretation
- Irene Kwon and Michelle Yang—4th place, Duo Interpretation
- Diego Guerrero—3rd place, Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate
- Elena Vinogradova—4th place, Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate
- Wilbur Wang and Jenny Wang—4th place, Public Forum Debate
- Abigail Beus—3rd place, Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate
- Wilbur Wang—1st place, Informative Speaking
- Brandi Weiss—5th place, Informative Speaking
- Will McCumber—1st place, United States Extemporaneous Speaking
- Ellery Leirmo—1st place, Original Oratory
- Neha Sadasivan—3rd place Original Oratory
- Claire DeCroix—5th place, Dramatic Interpretation
- Malea Joyce—6th place, Dramatic Interpretation
- Dylan Mauldin—7th place, Program of Oral Interpretation
- Esperanza Tapia—5th place, Program of Oral Interpretation
- Sonyia Williams—4th place, Program of Oral Interpretation
- Trevor Nickless—1st place, Humorous Interpretation
- Xavier McTeigue—5th place, Humorous Interpretation
- Leah Wolfsberg—1st place, Impromptu Speaking
Other Hilltalkers who competed include: Michael Aslam, Malcolm Carr, Antonio Dowdy, Joseph Foley, Sruthi Garimella, Jerry Li, Sophia Li, Valerie Li, Nilesh Mukundan, Gopal Nadiga, Mike Peters, Donald Poston, Roshan Prasad, Robert Renfro, Eleanor Rightley, Joseph Sarrao, Andy Shen, Sarah Shipley, Esther Wermer, and Steven Zhao. Hawktalkers who competed were: Hannah Gartz, William McTeigue, Chris Garcia, Gus Yeager, and Olivia Belian.
Hilltalkers coach Margo Batha stated, “The greatest strengths of our Speech and Debate program in the Los Alamos Public Schools are the alignment of our middle school Hawktalkers program with our high school Hilltalkers program, the strong support of the Los Alamos Middle School and Los Alamos High School administrations, and the incredible support we receive from our parents. The vast majority of the students who placed in the state competition are graduates of our middle school program.”
According to Sherri Bublitz, coach of the Los Alamos Middle School Hawktalkers, “The goal of our program is to equip students with life skills. By taking the speech class as 7th graders and the debate class as 8th graders, students lay the foundation that enables them to effectively research and write, speak with confidence, create and give polished presentations, look at and defend both sides of an issue, and respectfully disagree with others. They also make lifelong friends here and at other schools in New Mexico. It is a thrill to get to watch so many former Hawktalkers growing in poise and maturity as they have continued as Hilltalkers!”
The Los Alamos Hilltalkers are looking forward to competing at the New Mexico District National Qualifying Tournament in two weeks for a spot on the New Mexico team that will travel in June to the National Championships in Birmingham, Ala.
The Hilltalkers and the Hawktalkers wish to thank Los Alamos Public Schools and the Los Alamos community for their support of Speech and Debate. Without the community’s support, they would not be able to have such strong teams.