Laramie High School speech and debate students participated in the Wyoming State High School Forensics Tournament, which was held in Lander on March 8, 9, and 10.

The speech and debate participants left for Lander on Thursday morning. The 13 participants in this year’s state team were Abijah Ahern, Kairi Fahlenkamp, Devin Gerdes, Robin Gloss, Weslan Hansen, Riley Hickman, Alhena Islam, Ryan McManamen, Bel Oiler, Zoe Pearce, Maya Stahl, and Eric Van Wig.

The team competed in the events of memorized duet interpretation, extemporaneous speaking, public forum debate, congressional debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, memorized humorous interpretation and memorized informative speaking.

Seniors Robin Gloss and Abijah Ahern made it to semi finals in extemporaneous speaking, which is an individual event. Ahern, the only member of the LHS team on the podium, took third place.

In extemporaneous speaking the participants are given 30 minutes to draw a topic from a bag and write and memorize a speech with cited sources. The speeches have to be somewhere from 5 to 7 minutes long.

The tournament consisted of pattern “A” events and pattern “B” events. Pattern A events include cross-examination debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, public forum debate, memorized dramatic interpretation, memorized duet interpretation and manuscript program oral interpretation. Pattern “B” events include extemporaneous speaking, memorized humorous interpretation, manuscript poetry interpretation, memorized original oratory, congressional debate and memorized informative speaking.

In debate, each debater was evaluated on speaker points, judged on a 51-100 point scale, and each debate was evaluated on a win-loss basis.


LHS Debaters Robin Gloss (right) and Ryan McManamen (left)

“All together speech and debate is an opportunity to grow speaking skills and confidence is one’s self,” said junior Weslan Hansen. “I joined [the team] because I saw it as an opportunity to have fun, and as an opportunity to help me get scholarships. Not only all of that, I really do love debate, and what better way to celebrate that love than to join the speech and debate team?”

Hansen participated in extemporaneous speaking and in public forum debate (PF) with senior Robin Gloss. For PF debate, they got their topic, did research, created their three main points (called contentions), saved their evidence, and wrote up their two cases (one in affirmation and one in negation of the resolution) for the resolved issue of the month, which was ‘the current Authorization for Use of Military Force gives too much power to the president.’

Gloss and Hansen finished with a record of three wins and three losses at the tournament, but they had another debate competition this last Thursday that was the district qualifier for nationals.

“I participate in [speech and debate] because not only is it a great way to work on my speaking and confidence, but it’s also a great way to meet a ton of new people with similar interests”, Hansen said, “Through speech and debate I have met some incredible people from across the state whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I also love debating and speaking so it’s a perfect fit for me”.