NHS Debaters make school history at nationals

For Newton Now

Six Newton High School students competed in the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The tournament ran from June 17 to June 22.

Kenton Fox made Newton High School history by being named the sixth best policy debate speaker in the country. This is the highest a Newton High School debater has ever been ranked in policy debate.

“He was really excited,” Newton High School Debate and Forensics coach David Williams said. “I asked him what it felt like, and he said he was thrilled. He said his heart was racing every time they called someone’s name.”

Kenton was part of one of two Newton High School teams that qualified for the national tournament in Policy Debate. The teams were made up of Kenton Fox, Chase Cassil, Fletcher Hummingbird and Khalil Kumar. The topic for Policy Debate was education policy. Both teams were two votes away from advancing out of the preliminaries.

In his second trip two nationals, Eli Blaufuss competed in the extemporaneous speaking category after taking second at state. Eli answered one of three questions with only 30 minutes to write, research and memorize a seven-minute speech. Eli gave six speeches in prelims, just missing advancement out of the prelims as well.

Mariah McDonald was on the West Kansas World Debate Team. Mariah competed with other qualifiers from across the state against teams from all over the world. Her team ended the tournament at 3-3.

This was Newton High School’s 26th year to qualify students to the national tournament.