PITTSBURG — After a successful trip to Alabama in June for the National Speech and Debate Tournament and other competitions throughout the 2016-2017 school year, Pittsburg High School Debate and Forensics was ranked in the top 100 programs in the United States.

PHS Debate and Forensics Advisor Julie Laflen learned of the ranking from a letter sent from the Executive Director of the National Speech and Debate Association J. Scott Wunn.

Wunn recognized the program as being ranked ninety-sixth of 3,000 programs nationwide.

“This is the most prestigious membership award the Association can bestow upon a school,” Wunn wrote. “The designation is remarkable because it demonstrates outstanding commitment to teaching students essential life skills – including communication, research, listening, writing, and organization.”

Laflen said the level of dedication from students was and is incredible and is the reason they made the ranking.

“A lot of hard work and dedication from students is the reason it came about this year and none of this would be possible without the support of the district,” Laflen said.

Laflen said debate and forensics teaches students to use their minds, ask questions and have research to support their arguments.

Since 2009, the program has qualified for nationals 46 times and has had 350 wins in debate.

This year there are currently 75 students in debate and forensics and they are getting ready for the national qualifier for debate.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.