Forensics teams from Lawrence High School and Free State High School are competing in a mock congressional debate tournament, vying for the chance to advance to the national tournament this summer.
The National Forensics League East Kansas District tournament for congressional debate is being held at Bishop Miege High School in Johnson County. The winner will advance to compete at the NFL High School National Tournament June 16-21 in Birmingham, Ala.
Congressional debate is one of several sanctioned events at forensics tournaments. The format simulates legislative activity in Congress, and students are judged on individual debating skills in a large group setting.
Before the tournament, each school drafts legislation and submits bills to the tournament organizers. The bills are then distributed to participants before the tournament so students can research the issues and prepare arguments.
The competition is a form of individual debate that takes place in a large group setting that simulates a legislative body. Before the tournament, students draft legislation and submit it to tournament organizers, then research issues and prepare speeches either for or against all the bills that come up for debate.
Competitors often have to use both prepared and extemporaneous speaking skills as they make their cases and engage in cross questioning. They also have to use parliamentary procedure and Roberts Rules of Order in efforts to advance or defeat legislation.
Lawrence High School sent 13 students to the district tournament: Frances Berghout (senior); Lauren Pauls (senior); Vincent Barker (junior); Katie Gaches (junior); Eric Martinez (junior); Kavyn Poettker (junior); Jacob DiVilbiss (sophomore); Hayley Luna (sophomore); Ellis Springe (sophomore); Bradlea Padgett (freshman); Stefan Petrovic (freshman); Kaitlyn Preut (freshman); and Matt Ramaley (freshman).
Free State is sending 12 students: Katie Conard (senior); Grace Phillips (senior); Carl X. Palmquist (junior); Hannah Smith (junior); Kayla M. Goldman (junior); Hannah K. Moran (junior); Isaac J. March (sophomore); Ashley K. Dunn (sophomore); Parker E. Hopkins (sophomore); Linda Liu (freshman); Samantha J. Farb (freshman); and Genevieve L. Prescher (freshman).