Sweet talking paves the way to nationals

Veteran competitors qualify for national forensics tournament


Hannah Gaines

Giving an in-class practice speech, senior Hayley Luna discusses a piece of legislation that would reconfiguring cyber security in banks. Luna will compete for the second year at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in June.

By Riley Nelson

Every serious debater looks to go to the national tournament, and LHS qualifies speakers almost every year.

This season two upperclassmen will represent the program in at National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas.

Veteran competitors junior Stefan Petrovic and senior Hayley Luna qualified for nationals this year.
Petrovic qualified his freshman and sophomore years, but didn’t compete following his sophomore year because he was in London on a school trip.

“I am incredibly honored and excited to be able to represent LHS, Lawrence and East Kansas at the National Speech and Debate Tournament,” Petrovic said. “As of now, I will be competing in congressional debate and I hope to debate and pass more bills than our Congress in D.C. That shouldn’t be hard.”

Luna qualified her junior year and made the short trip to Kansas City to compete in last year’s national tournament. She placed in the top 50 for her event.

“I am really excited to be heading to nationals for the second year in a row,” Luna said. “I am looking forward to representing myself, my family, my school and my coach. I’m also looking forward to traveling to Dallas as opposed to Overland Park. This year has been so much fun.”

Aside from the national competitors, leaders of all ages have stepped up to improve the team’s record.

“It’s really nice to look back and see improvement from last year,” sophomore second-year speaker Sung Ho Hwang said. “I plan on competing every year and improving.”

The team number has grown significantly. Of the 68 team members, more than half are new. Among them, is sophomore Sarah Easum.

“I really like forensics and debate because it’s cool to be able to express yourself in various ways,” Easum said. “My first tournament of the season, I got fourth in public forum debate, and that was really exciting.”

Debate and forensics coach Jeff Plinsky has noted improvement this year.

“We are ahead of our pace of success this year, in terms of medals and state qualifiers, compared to last year,” he said.