Help at the Hilltalkers tourney

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Los Alamos High School speech and debate teams needs judges for Nov. 12 event

By Special to the Monitor

The Los Alamos High School Hilltalkers Speech and Debate team needs some assistance. They are in search of people who would like to help judge their tournament on
Nov. 12.
“Every year since 1962, we hold a speech and debate tournament,” said Los Alamos High School Teacher and Speech and Debate Assistant Coach Margo Batha. “This year it’s at the middle school because there’s no room for the speakers and debaters here.”
Registration for the tournament will take place from 2:30-5 p.m.
Nov. 12 and the awards will be handed out on Nov. 13.
200 debaters and speakers from across New Mexico will compete in dramatic interpretive and public speaking events.
“We welcome judges,” Batha said. “We need as many as we can get.” She said they have approximately
35 people signed up to judge, but more are needed to fill the 300 judging hours that will take place during the tournament. She also said that there is no minimum number of judging hours required to be a judge, those interested can stay for as long as they want.
The Hilltalkers have been honing their skills for a while now. On
Oct. 12-13, they competed at the East Mountain High School Tournament in Albuquerque and placed second in the Lincoln Douglas debate portion of the tourney.
During the East Mountain tourney, Matthew Schauer placed third in varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate; Andrew Zhao and Horace Zhang placed second in public forum debate; Melindsea Sartor placed first in oral interpretation; Myles Gurule and Miriam Barnum placed first in varsity policy debate and the team finished in fourth place in the overall standings. Batha said 22 students competed in that tournament.
On Oct. 29-30, the team competed at the Eldorado High School Tournament, where Caitlin Haynes placed third in varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate and Barnum and Gurule placed second in varsity Policy Debate. 15 of the 25 students who competed made it to quarterfinal rounds.
“It’s our second year doing policy,” Barnum said, “We’re glad we’re doing as good as we are. We have really great coaching.”
Flanneri Keating said she likes to “get as good as you can and compete against people from across the state. You make yourself better because of them.”
Not only do the Hilltalkers have a way with words, but they also have a strong sense of camaraderie.
LAHS student Victoria Wang said the best part about being a Hilltalker is “being able to fit into a community where we share a like set of goals.”
Toni Batha agreed with Wang when she said, “it’s a huge family. We get together and hang out and it’s (the group) really accepting.”
“I like debate because it allows me to apply organizational skills and strategic thinking to a rhetoric-based competitive environment,” Gurule said.
Those interested in judging the event should send an e-mail to Batha by Nov. 8, at m.batha@laschools.net.
Training sessions will be at
7 p.m. Nov. 10 in Room E7 of the high school; and at 7 p.m. Nov. 11, also in Room E7.


This is a great group of kids, 40 students strong! I have judged at every tournament for 4 years now, come and see what these remarkable kids from all over the State can do! They send many, many hours preparing for these tournaments, come show your support. Even if you only have an hour, come judge, no experience necessary, really ! Free food too!