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RHS hosts district speech; judges sought

Mar 5, 2013 - Staff

Riverton High School hosts the top speech and debate students from western Wyoming this week for their national qualifying tournaments, and school officials have sounded the calls for judges.

The best competitors from this week's National Forensic League district tournament earn spots in the NFL National Speech and Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., this summer.

Judges are needed for:

humorous interpretation of literature, or humorous "interp," in which students perform 10-minute cuttings from funny plays, books, movies and essays;

dramatic "interp," the more-serious cousin of humorous interp;

duo interp, similar to the two aforementioned events, except that the cuttings are performed by two people;

original oratory, in which speakers deliver a persuasive speech that they have written themselves;

extemporaneous speaking, when students draw a current-events topic at random and have 30 minutes to research, compose and memorize a 5-7-minute speech;

NFL student congress, a mock legislative session;

public-forum debate, a logic-based argument pitting two teams debating a standard topic set at the beginning of each month of the season November through March;

Cross-examination or "policy" debate, similar to public-forum debate but with a greater emphasis on outside evidence and debate strategy according to a strict set of rules;

Lincoln-Douglas debate, which is a one-on-one competition rather than two-on-two, and which stresses persuasiveness based on established values more than recitation of evidence.

Judges are given instruction sheets with event rules and a point-by-point ballot to guide them. A typical competitive round takes about one hour.

In the NFL district format, competitors are eliminated gradually over the course of the tournament. The top two finishers in each event qualify for nationals, although it is not unusual for a third- or fourth-place finisher to receive a spot as well because some speakers qualify in more than one event and must state their preference, sometimes leaving spots open for lower finishers.

The Riverton High School team is coached by Annette Thornton. Among the senior leaders this season are Jace Flanagan, Jaden Brummond, Sean Thornton and Dallin Cooper. Flanagan, Brummond and Thornton all are previous national qualifiers.

A team champion also is named, along with an NFL chapter of the year and an NFL district student of the year.

Judges may serve for one round or several, depending on their interest and availability.

Anyone interested in judging is asked to contact Thornton or activities director Jeremy Hill immediately at 856-9491.

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