Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers Speech and Debate Team. Courtesy photo
The Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers Speech and Debate team completed their tournament season with a strong finish by qualifying nine members of the team to the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament in jUne in Birmingham, Ala.
Twenty-eight members of the Hilltalkers squad traveled to Albuquerque Academy, March 16-18, to battle for an opportunity to represent New Mexico at the National Tournament. Twenty schools from New Mexico were represented at the National Speech and Debate Association New Mexico District Tournament.
The following Hilltalkers will represent New Mexico in various Speech and Debate events: Sam Menefee in Big Questions Debate; Trevor Nickless, in Humorous Interpretation; Emily Holmes and Neha Sadasivan in Duo Interpretation; Brandi Weiss in Informative Speaking; and Antonio Dowdy in Lincoln Douglas Debate.
Three Hilltalkers will form one of the two New Mexico World Schools Debate teams. Will McCumber, Sarah Shipley, and Andy Shen earned three qualifying spots in World Schools Debate and will form a Los Alamos High School team.
A number of Hilltalkers earned alternate qualification at the tournament including:
Donald Poston, 2nd Alternate in Big Questions; Dylan Mauldin and Claire DeCroix, 1st Alternate in Duo Interpretation, Ellery Leirmo, 1st Alternate in Original Oratory, Andy Shen 1st Alternate in US Extemporaneous Speaking; Michael Peters and Malcolm Carr, 3rd Alternate in Policy Debate; Kyler Parkinson, 2nd Alternate in Lincoln Douglas Debate; Antonio Dowdy, 2nd Alternate in Congressional Debate; and Esther Wermer, 3rd Alternate in Congressional Debate.
Based on total points earned in tournament competition, the team earned a first place Speech Sweepstakes Award, a first place Debate Sweepstakes Award, a second place Congressional Debate Sweepstakes Award, and a First Place Overall Sweepstakes Award. For the second time in six years, the Hilltalkers were awarded the National Speech and Debate Association Travel Trophy for earning the most points in overall competition at the New Mexico District Tournament.
According to Margo Batha, coach of the Hilltalkers, “The Hilltalkers would not have earned these Sweepstakes Awards without the support of each and every Hilltalker who competed at the District Tournament. Our success is based on all of our team members and the support of our families and the LAPS Administration.” The Hilltalkers also wish to thank Sherri Bublitz, coach of the Los Alamos Middle School Hawktalkers for her work in preparing students for high school speech and debate and Christine Engelbrecht, assistant coach of the Hilltalkers, for her constant support.
“Ms. Engebrecht and I are very proud of all of our Hilltalkers and the hard work they have put into this activity. Most of them have been competing since they started on the Los Alamos Middle School Hawktalkers. The program at the middle school has created a strong high school Speech and Debate program that is nationally recognized for its vertical integration and collaboration,” Batha said.
To earn funds to travel to Birmingham, the Los Alamos Hilltalkers are selling Seroogy’s chocolate bars. Seroogy’s chocolate bars are handmade in Wisconsin and of the best quality ingredients. The team will be selling the delectable goodies from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Friday, March 24 in the lobby of Los Alamos National Bank
“These chocolate bars are a delicious product and we hope that the Los Alamos community will help support us in our efforts to get these Hilltalkers to Birmingham in June,” Batha said. “We need these funds to transport and house chaperones and students and to pay our entry fees for the tournament.”