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PHS NSDA National Qualifiers
PHS NSDA National Qualifiers
Elishia Seals
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

PHS students were surprised by their teacher and coach Mrs. Laflen earlier this month. 

The last 2 national qualifying tournaments were canceled due to the circumstances. The National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) decided to hold a virtual national tournament this year in June rather than in Albuquerque as planned. The South Kansas district voted to do an application process to select the qualifiers for this virtual national tournament. Students applied for the tournament and their applications were sent to a panel of 5 judges who ranked the students. The top students in each event were selected as the national qualifiers and will compete at the virtual national tournament in June.

Once the qualifiers were announced, PHS Debate/Forensics Coach Julie Laflen decided to let her students know in her own way. Normally at the national qualifying tournament, coach Laflen would take the student aside and would tell them they qualified for nationals! They would celebrate with happy tears and excitement - qualifying for nationals is the top goal for debate/forensics students. In order to still have some of that joy, coach Laflen decided to drive to each of her students’ homes and tell them they qualified. The students had no idea why coach Laflen was coming over, just that she was. 


PHS NSDA National Qualifiers from Pittsburg Community Schools on Vimeo.

“I am so proud of these students. They have persevered when times were hard and never stopped trying to get to the end result - being a national qualifier. While nationals may not look like it usually does, they still have the opportunity to be a national champion and not even a pandemic can take that away from them. These students are the future and I’ve never been more proud to be their coach!” - Mrs. Julie Laflen

PHS Students Attending Nationals in June:

Scout Peery (senior) & Jordan Akins (senior)- policy debate

Jared Spiers (junior) & Jacob Mathew (sophomore) - policy debate

Katie Rodriguez (sophomore) & Lillie Chatman (freshman) - public forum debate

Owen Miller (sophomore) - congressional debate senate & lincoln douglas debate (attending in LD Debate)

Jacob Mathew (sophomore) - lincoln douglas debate (attending in policy debate)

Audrey Goode (junior) - US Extemp & congressional debate house (attending in House)

Emma Noonoo (junior) - Original Oratory & congressional debate house (attending in House)

Jared Spiers (junior) - congressional debate house (attending in policy)

A.J. Ortiz (senior) - Foreign Extemp

Declan Ortiz (junior) - US Extemp

Jason Tarbox  (freshman)- Foreign Extemp

Mikayla Kitchen (senior) - Humorous Interp

Joy Lee (sophomore) - Program Oral Interp (POI)

South Kansas NSDA Student of the Year: Scout Peery

Way to go, Dragons!!