Firebirds and Lions earn top awards, qualify for national competition during weekend speech and debate tournament

Share this post or save for later

Twenty competitors from Free State and Lawrence high schools are heading to Kentucky in June for the National Speech and Debate Tournament.

Students from Lawrence’s public high schools wrapped up East Kansas district qualifiers over the weekend, hosted by Shawnee Mission East. The two days of competition included interpretation events, Lincoln-Douglas debates, and public forum addresses. Competitions for congressional and policy debates were conducted in December and March.

Both teams wrapped up successful seasons with multiple first-time accolades and achievements.

Lawrence High School took second place in the Overall Sweepstakes for the season, and also second place in Debate Sweepstakes.

Team president Ezra Joseph earned the distinction of being the first Free State High School student ever to be named East Kansas Student of the Year by the National Speech & Debate Association. Free State Coach Michael Shelton also was recognized by the association as East Kansas Assistant Coach of the Year.

More than 6,000 students from 1,500 schools qualify for the national event annually. This year, students will gather June 12-17 at venues throughout Louisville to compete in any of 24 individual and team speaking events. Finals are scheduled June 16-17 at the Kentucky Expo Center.

More information about the 2022 National Speech & Debate Tournament can be found at this link.

FSHS national qualifiers:

  • Kady Bischmann, Domestic Extemporaneous
  • Emma Hefty, Original Oratory
  • Cici Hunter, Humorous Interpretation/ Program of Oral Interpretation
  • Ezra Joseph, International Extemporaneous
  • Lily Otter, Dramatic Interpretation
  • Sophie Racy, World Schools Debate
  • Molly Roecker, Program of Oral Interpretation
  • Emma Stammeyer, Congressional Debate
  • Anwen Williams, Informative Speaking
  • Aaron Persinger/Simon Williams, Policy Debate

LHS national qualifiers:

  • Thomas Lushington, Lincoln-Douglas Debate
  • J. Riggins, Congressional Debate
  • Caitlin Sand, Congressional Debate
  • Jake Shew, Lincoln-Douglas Debate
  • Jack Stutler, Informative Speaking
  • Helen Viloria, Congressional Debate
  • Clara Bode/Dominic Moore, Duo Interpretation

FSHS top 6 finishers:

  • Emma Hefty, Informative Speaking
  • Wendo Kimori, Informative Speaking
  • Anwen Williams, International Extemporaneous

LHS top 6 finishers:

  • Trent Blettner, International Extemporaneous
  • Frances Parker, Original Oratory
  • Rose Allgeier/Adelaide Sivits, Duo Interpretation
  • Brandon Symons/Anne Wolverton, Public Forum Debate

FSHS Degree of Premier Distinction:

  • Abbey Hossler
  • Ezra Joseph
  • John Marshall
  • Serena Rupp

FSHS Academic All-Americans:

  • Emma Hefty
  • Aaron Persinger
  • Emma Stammeyer

LHS Academic All-Americans:

  • Clara Bode
  • Cuyler Dunn
  • Bryce Erickson
  • Kayleigh Gill
  • Thomas Lushington
  • Eliot Manning
  • Caitlin Sand
  • Bradley Schrock
  • Jack Stutler
  • Aidan Zimney
If our local journalism matters to you, please help us keep doing this work.
Don’t miss a beat … Click here to sign up for our email newsletters

Click here to learn more about our newsletters first

More coverage: Speech, debate and forensics


More coverage of Lawrence Public Schools:


Previous Article

Kansas governor proclaims KU Men’s Basketball National Championship Victory Day

Next Article

Girls high school gymnastics program to continue in Lawrence school district next year