For the second straight year, Platte County will have a representative in the National Speech and Debate Association national tournament.
John Klingele, a junior, qualified in international extemporaneous speaking for a second straight year during the recent Heart of America District competition, held over two weekends in the Kansas City area. In addition, Park Hill will send at least eight to the national tournament, scheduled for late June in Birmingham, Ala.
A first-time qualifier as a sophomore, Klingele is just the sixth national qualifier for Platte County since 2000. Previous national qualifiers have been limited with Brock Babcock competing in 2000 for dramatic interpretation and Cassandra Reeder going in 2002 for dramatic interpretation and again in 2004 for original oratory.
Sebastian Smith was Platte County’s most recent national qualifier in 2009 for humorous interpretation until Klingele (international extemporaneous speaking) and Madison McBratney (Congressional debate) made the cut in 2016.
In international extemporaneous speaking, students receive a choice of three questions related to international current events and have 30 minutes to prepare a 7-minute speech answering the selected question. They can only consult articles and evidence gathered prior to the contest, generally kept in an “extemp box,” but may not use the Internet during preparation.
Topics range from country-specific issues to regional concerns to foreign policy, and the speech is delivered from memory. While Klingele has already qualified in international extemporaneous speaking, he planned to compete in the Heart of America Congressional debate district competition on Tuesday, April 4 and planned to switch his national event to debate if he qualified.
Qualifiers can only compete in one individual competition at nationals.
Klingele also teamed with senior Hunter Long to qualify for the Missouri State Speech and Debate Championships in public forum debate during the recent state district competition. The duo was seeded fifth but placed second.
Platte County’s Donovan Douglas earned a district championship in radio speaking.
Park Hill’s list of national qualifiers included Jake McFee and Matt Hayes in public forum debate and Ethan Simon in humorous interpretation. The Trojans will also send Maya Krump (informative speaking), Parker Young (domestic extemporaneous speaking) and Jackson Elder (international extemporaneous speaking).
Ben Tuimauga, a junior, qualified in dramatic interpretation, while also teaming with junior Lauren Szala to earn a berth to nationals in duo interpretation. Elder is also a junior, while McFee, Hayes, and Young are all seniors. Simon and Krump are sophomores.
Park Hill currently has 11 students ranked in the Heart of America’s top 100 individual rankings. Students earn points for the rankings by participating in a number of speech and debate activities including interscholastic competition, public speaking events and service activities.
In the team rankings, Park Hill is No. 3 in the top list. Young ranks No. 17 with teammates Mary Lehmann (18th), Gavin Zaerr (19th) and Elder (21st) also in the top 25 for the Trojans.
Klingele ranks No. 14, while Park Hill South’s Madeiline Mueller — one of two in the top 100 for the Panthers — comes in at No. 67. Park Hill South is the No. 6 team.
Young (domestic extemporaneous speaking), Simon (humorous interpretation) and Tuimauga (dramatic interpretation) all won district titles while Mary Kathryn Lehmann (original oratory) and Simon (radio speaking were also state qualifiers. Young is now a two-time state qualifier.