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High School Students Earn Top Honors at National Speech and Debate Tournament

Raytown High School and Raytown South High School students participated in the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) Tournament, June 14-20. The tournament was held in a virtual format this year due to COVID-19.  

Raytown High School Talking Bluejay Lillian Rhodes earned first place in the Extemporaneous Debate event after competing in 12 rounds, defeating 450 other competitors, and winning the championship round in a 6-1 judge’s decision. Rhodes also made it to the quarterfinal round in the Congressional debate event. This was her second time to compete in the National tournament.

“Lillian has a winning record at every tournament she competed in this season. She is highly motivated, highly dedicated, and prepared for not one but two national tournament events in both Extemporaneous Debate and Lincoln Douglas,” said Raytown High School Talking Bluejays coach Zach McGee.

Raytown High School Talking Bluejays Amber Walter and Presley Stewart also competed in the National tournament.

Raytown South High School student Samantha Parvin placed in the top eight out of 72 competitors in the Big Question Debate event.

Raytown South High School students Derek Porter and Justice Thompson placed in the top 30 out of 212 competitors in the Duo Interpretation event.

“These three have worked hard all year, but especially since we were given shelter-in-place orders. They were not defeated by a virtual National tournament. They sought to make the best of this platform,” said Raytown South High School Speech and Debate Coach Maureen Thomas.

Raytown South High School student Ahmea Parham also competed in the National tournament.

The Raytown High School Speech and Debate team is coached by Zachary McGee and Sydney Crank. The Raytown South High School Speech and Debate team is coached by head coach Maureen Thomas and assistant coaches David Dempsey, Michael Daniels and Austin Steeley.