PITTSBURG — After hours of studying and practice, 16 Pittsburg High School students will be headed for the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Tournament in June in Dallas.

Over the course of the season, the students put a lot of time in effort into the program, PHS Debate and Forensics Coach Julie Laflen said.
“It’s a culmination of everything coming together,” she said. “They worked hard and they are doing everything they can to represent us well when we get there.”

For several of the students, this will be their first time going which makes the opportunity really mean a lot to them, Laflen said.

Jordan Akins, PHS junior, for the first time qualified in policy debate.
“I’m super excited I get to go to with my partner Scout,” Akins said.

Akins and Scout Perry prepared a case with evidence on reducing restriction on immigration in the United States. During the event, they switched sides every round.

PHS junior Mikayla Kitchen qualified in humorous interpretation, a 10 min script which she performs by herself to an audience and judge.

This will be her second year to go to nationals.
“Meeting with people and performing with a ton of people and travel was really cool,” she said about her first time going to nationals. “I think it helps me grow me as a person.”
“I think it gave me powerful things to take to me to college and future endeavors.”

During nationals, she will perform the act, “Little Suzy sues God for all he’s worth” written by Brandon Daley.

The students have been working to raise money — selling cookie dough and ice cream — for the nearly week-long trip which will cost them approximately $9,000. Laflen said they are “forever grateful” for the businesses and individuals who have donated items to their silent auction for their ice cream social on Monday.

They are also seeking sponsors whose names would go on the back of their debate and forensics shirts.

To keep up on Pittsburg High School Debate and Forensics people can follow them on Facebook. People interested in sponsoring or donating may contact Laflen via email at julielaflen@usd250.org.

Students and their events:
Austin Edwards - Foreign Extemp
A.J. Ortiz - Foreign Extemp
Jared Spiers - U.S. Extemp
Leyton Marler - U.S. Extemp
Emma Noonoo- Original Oratory
Joy Lee - Program Oral Interp
Heaven Hardesty - Program Oral Interp
Ximena Ibarra - Congressional House
Audrey Goode - Congressional House
Mikayla Kitchen - Humorous Interp
Jordan Akins/Scout Peery - Policy Debate
Jacob Mathew/Nathan Newby - Public Forum Debate
Vincent Norman/Brooklyn Hellwig - World Schools Debate