Three of Parker School’s top debaters participated in the National Forensic League National Tournament from June 15-20 in Overland Park, Kansas. Junior Carrie Hiller and seniors Jaren Ashcraft and Luke Potter qualified for the nationals at the state level tournament in April on Oahu (when Hiller was a sophomore and Ashcraft and Potter juniors).
Though these students did not end up placing at the national tournament, they all enjoyed the experience.
Ashcraft and Potter were invited to stay on, and did, after they completed their Public Forum Debate rounds, to judge the middle school debate national competition. Hiller, who competed in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, opted to stay and participate in the optional Extemporaneous Debate competition. This competition allowed only 30 minutes to prepare for rounds, and though it was not a formal part of the national tournament, Hiller advanced through several rounds.
“The National Championship of Lincoln-Douglas demonstrated the dedication, talent and variety of debate styles of kids across the country, but Extemporaneous Debate, which I did after I moved out of Lincoln-Douglas, was far more fun,” Hiller said. “With only 30 minutes of preparation and unexpected topics, it was equal-opportunity and fairly informal. I’d recommend it for future nationals contestants.”
“Nationals was an experience unlike any other,” Ashcraft said. “We debated the best of the best and laughed about our rounds with friends from all over the country. We hope to return next year and compete with all of the great people we met this year.”
Ashcraft’s father, Tim Ashcraft, accompanied his son on the trip. He said being at the national competition was a “great experience” and that it’s “nice to know that Parker students can compete with anyone in the country.”
The Parker debaters also made time for some extra fun.
“We also decided to play laser tag at a place called Jaegerz, which was awesome,” Hiller said. “We want to make it into a Parker nationals tradition.”
Once school starts again in mid-August, the Parker debate team will begin preparing for its first multi-school tournament of the year, scheduled for this fall.