Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


From State to Nationals: Triumphs in Speech and Debate

Our speech and debate team has accomplished amazing things this past April. Multiple students went to state and will be going to nationals this June.
Our creative speech and debate team’s Christmas party was held in Mrs. Brothertons room. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Brotherton)

Speech and debate is an academic activity typically available to students in middle school, high school, and college. Similar to athletic sports, speech and debate activities are challenging and competitive in nature, and require regular practice, coaching, dedication, and hard work. Our school has one of the best speech and debate teams in the nation, they placed second in the nation at state.

   Sophomore, Cy Griffith, is a debater, which is a person who argues about a subject, comments on his team for making it to nationals.

   “I was at drumline so I could not make it to state, I had drumline nationals the same week. We had a few people qualify to state and out of that we have two medalists,” Griffith said. 

Six people qualified for state. The qualifiers are: 

Senior, Kassidy Ellis and Junior, Hunter Maggard, District champs: Public Forum Debate.

Senior, Abby Stowe: Original Oratory 

Senior, Youngha Rissler: Extemporaneous Speaking 

Sophomore, Hailey Hakan: Storytelling 

Sophomore, La’Trey Finely: Poetry
  The state results consist of:

Ellis and Maggard, second place champions for their public forum debate. Rissler got ninth place for extemporaneous speaking. Maggard received eighth place for radio speaking. 

Kassidy Ellis (left) and Hunter Maggard (right) with silver and gold medals. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Brotherton)

   “These students did an amazing job at state,” Brotherton said.

   National Speech and Debate qualifiers are: 

Rissler for informative speaking and Griffith and Jude Riemenshneider for policy debate, who were also district champs.

Finally, the World School debate, which according to the National Speech and Debate Association, “World Schools Debate is a dynamic format combining ‘prepared’  topics with ‘impromptu’ topics, encouraging debaters to focus on specific issues rather than debate theory or procedural arguments.”

 This list consists of:

Senior, Kyla Sardina, Senior, Pyrson Houzenga, Senior, Abby Stowe, Sophomore, Charlie Beyers, Sophomore, Clara Poppen and Sophomore Hailey Hakan.

   Stephanie Brotherton, the speech and debate coach, has helped her students prepare for state, which was held on April 19 and 20, 2024.

   “We went to twelve other tournaments and each tournament lasted about twenty-four hours, plus we did rehearsals and practice prep for three to four days after school,” Brotherton said.

   Maggard and Ellis are national qualifiers. They comment on they’re preparation for state and nationals.

   “My partner and I placed second at state, #robbed, we did a public forum debate and this month the topic was “resolved: the United Nations Security Council should abolish permanent membership,”” Ellis said.

   Ellis also mentioned that she started in public forum debate because that’s what the team did for intro to speech. Ellis stayed because she found out she wasn’t too bad at it.

“Speech and debate is important for every student because one of the greatest fears in the country is public speaking but everyone will have to do public speaking at some point in their life,” Brotherton said.

  According to, glossophobia, or a fear of public speaking, is a very common phobia and one that is believed to affect roughly 75 percent of the population. Some individuals may feel a slight nervousness at the very thought of public speaking, while others experience full-on panic and fear.

   “I think it just breaks those nerves down and shows people a lot more than they ever thought possible,” Brotherton said.

   The speech and debate team is one of the most underrepresented activities at our school, yet in just Ellis’s partnership they walked home with two district championships and a state finals finish.

   “We make the district look very good, as it proves that the academic teams are just as good as the teams that do sports. Kickapoo’s speech and debate has a strong legacy in the community and that notoriety spreads to other activities,” Ellis said.

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About the Contributor
Ireland Kelsey, Reporter