During the State Forensic Championship from April 10-12 at Iolani School, three Parker School debate team members qualified for the National Forensic League National Tournament.
Jaren Ashcraft, Carrie Hiller and Luke Potter will travel to Overland Park, Kansas for the national tournament June 15-20.
Carl Sturges, Parker debate coach and headmaster, said although the team placed third at the state-level competition (Punahou placed first and Iolani second) and had to hand over the state championship trophy it won last year, three is the largest number of students the school has ever qualified at one time for the national tournament.
All three finished in second place at the state debate, losing by only one ballot (3-2). Sturges is especially pleased, as Hiller is a sophomore and Ashcraft and Potter are juniors, that they will return to compete again next year.
He also said Parker had 26 students at the state tournament, the highest number of any school.
On Feb. 19, the Parker debate team traveled to Kona to accept a certificate of recognition from Hawaii County Council. The certificate honors the team for winning both possible debate sweepstakes trophies at the St. Louis School Non-Qualifying Debate Tournament on Oahu last November.
Competing against 14 schools from across the state, it was the first time in the school’s debate history it earned both sweepstakes awards — one for largest number of ballots won and one for highest percentage of wins — at a single tournament.
“Parker School Debate Team has distinguished themselves as exemplary debaters,” the certificate reads. “Their commitment to excellence coupled with the energetic, patient and dedicated coaches Carl Sturges and Jessie Marshall propelled them to a sweet victory. Each participating student brought recognition and honor to school, families and community with tireless preparation, perseverance and commitment to personal and team excellence.”
This year, Parker will say goodbye to nine senior debaters and two foreign student debaters.
Sturges said he is looking forward to a “crop of new recruits next year” and he is “excited because a number of new applicants to the school expressed interest in debate and will be participating.”
The team’s success in recent years even led one anonymous donor to fund two $12,500 scholarships for the senior year of Parker students who have been successful debate team members for several years.
The recipients for the 2014-15 school year awards will be announced in late May.
For more information, visit www.parkerschoolhawaii.org.