JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Competing at their first all-varsity meet of the season, the Jackson Hole High School Speech and Debate Team earned numerous individual awards and a 2nd place finish in the team sweepstakes at the Kelly Walsh Invitational, held January 11-12 in Casper. Nineteen schools competed in the tournament that saw over 400 individual entries. Londe and Peggy Gagnon coach the team.

Senior and team captain, Leila Sandlin had a triumphant weekend. She placed 2nd in Program Oral Interpretation with her program about rape culture. Sandlin also competed in Poetry Interpretation with selections from Broadway musicals. From an initial field of 50 competitors—the largest event of the tournament—she came home with a 3rd place medal.

Extemporaneous Speaking proved to be a very successful event for the Jackson squad. Junior Maleah Tuttle placed fourth in the event followed closely by junior Darcy Mueller who placed 6th. Junior Warren Levy and sophomore Preston Harmon reached semi-finals as well.

Senior and team captain Samantha Smith found success in Informative Speaking, placing 5th with her presentation on the media. Junior River Gayton followed closely behind in 6th place with her speech on lying.

Several members of the team competed for the first time as varsity at this tournament and did extremely well. Freshman Hannah Higgins finished in 13th in Original Oratory. She went on to reach semi-finals of Program Oral Interpretation. Freshman Virginia Girling placed 8th in Congressional Debate while freshman William Aepli reached the final round of the same event.

Coach Peggy Gagnon said, “I am extremely proud of the successes of the Jackson team. We have seen incredible growth among both the new and returning members already this season and look forward to coming tournaments.”

The team is planning its own invitational tournament on Friday and Saturday, February 8-9, 2019. For the home tournament, the Speech Team is in need of about 300 volunteers to judge for approximately an hour and a half each. Judging guidelines will be provided and several practice judging sessions will be offered. Judging experience is not required.

Events include Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum, Big Questions, Extemporaneous, Congressional, and Cross Examination Debate, Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Humor, Drama, Poetry, Program Oral Interpretation, Informative Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, and Duet. Judging these talented high school competitors is an entertaining and rewarding experience. Refreshments and free babysitting will be provided.

Volunteers are needed 3:00 to 9:00pm Friday evening, or from 7:30am to 3:00pm Saturday. Please email coach Londe Gagnon, or call her at 307-699-0537.