The area will be sending students to a national speech and debate contest, following a weekend Iroquois District National Forensic League competition at Oneonta High School.
OHS Speech and Debate Club co-coach Kathy Hardison said students from 19 schools participated. In this area, besides Oneonta, that included Laurens, Walton, Delhi, Unatego, Hancock, Worcester and Franklin Central schools. Schools from Vermont and Pennsylvania were also involved. About 70 students participated overall.
Following events that took place Friday and Saturday, top students in each category qualified to compete in the national tournament June 16 to 21 in Birmingham, Ala., she said.
From Oneonta, senior Charlotte McKane won first place in national extemporaneous speech. She will compete in the category in the upcoming event.
Other categories include Lincoln-Douglas Debate, that involves arguing either side of an issue, and public forum that involved two people arguing a position. Students also qualified in categories that included humorous interpretation, dramatic interpretation, duo interpretation and original oratory.
McKane said she has been involved since her freshman year and qualified last year in a different category. This is the first year she can go because, as a senior, it won’t conflict with Regents exams.
The category involved three rounds. McKane said she was given a topic in each and had 30 minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech on an issue. The topics included whether gun control makes people safer and whether the United States invests enough in scientific research.
She was looking forward to the upcoming event. This is the largest debate competition in the world, she said. “There should be some challenging opponents and good speeches,” she said.
It’s a way for her to develop public speaking skills and interact with students from other schools in area, McKane said. She will be doing fundraising, she said, and is working on getting support from local businesses.