JMHS Celebrates 15 Years Of Success

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By Tom Hanlon

It has been a big year for the Jemez Mountain Home School Speech and Debate Team, which is celebrating its 15th consecutive year of high school speech and debate competition in New Mexico.

With only five Varsity the v on varsity is lowercase members, three JV (middle school), and one 6th spell this out grade apprentice on its current roster, what the team lacks in size.

Since its establishment on Sept. 28, 1998, more than 60 students have passed through the program with several earning State and All-American recognition. This year is no exception. As a member of the New Mexico Speech and Debate Association and the National Forensic League, Jemez Mountain students compete with private, public, no commas before and and charter school students from across the state, as well as at the NFL National Tournament.

Each year for roughly seven months during the regular season, debaters compete in a variety of events at tournaments that are hosted by high schools all over the state. Some of these events are interpretations of either humorous or dramatic stories, in which competitors use voices and physical gestures to bring a story to life.

Other individual events include original oratory, which consists of a ten minute If you recall, I went over the number rule during a couple of our meetings: single digits are spelled out. Double digits are to be numerals. speech written by the competitor and expository speeches, which use props and boards to inform the listener about a topic. There are also a variety of debate events.

The Jemez Mountain team participated in almost every tournament this school year and brought home trophies from each one. At the end of the season the two biggest tournaments of the year are held: the State Championship and the National Qualifying tournaments. . : These are the State Championship and the National Qualifying tournaments. This year Jemez Mountain qualified three delegates to the National tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. I also gave you a handout from the AP style book about state abbreviations.

Sophomore Andre’ Green earned both the title of 2013 NM State Champion and an NFL National Tournament Qualification in Original Oratory, although his favorite event is Public Forum Debate. “Public Forum is like verbal swordplay… when using ellipses, there should be a space in front and behind them. it’s very tactical and involves attacking and defending against your opponents such that you can win the round,” Green said.

Junior Matthew Davenport is a three-time qualifier to Nationals, this year in Foreign Extemporaneous speaking, FX.

FX is an event in which speakers are given a topic on current world events. They are given 30-minutes to prepare for a seven- minute memorized speech. There was also a United States (Domestic Extemporaneous) category. Qualifying in Dramatic Interpretation was junior lowercase junior Connor Shultz.   

Schultz said, “I feel that speech and debate offers a great deal, a great amount of variety. It offers a lot in terms of learning.”

Richard Naffziger advanced to the finals round at the State Championship Tournament and Semi-finaled at the National Qualifier, with his humorous interpretation piece.

His younger brother Robert, was the number one ranked junior varsity competitor in the nation in National Junior Forensic League points for most of the season.  

JV competitor, there’s no need for commas before a name and after a title Annika Davenport, was entered in five different events at one tournament. She placed in all of them.  

Ben Hanlon, also a JV competitor, placed first in his duo interpretation with Robert Naffziger at the Taos High School tournament.  

The team is also mentoring sixth-grade apprentice, Ryan Naffziger, who placed third in a storytelling competition held on the Zuni Pueblo.

Of course, none of this would be possible without a coach.

Dr. Carolyn Connor is celebrating her 10th season coaching the Jemez Mountain “Speechies.” She will be honored at the National Tournament in Alabama in June as an “NFL Diamond Coach” in recognition of her expertise in forensics coaching and teaching.

Coach Connor said,“There are lots of excellent student activities out there, but there isn’t a better activity on the planet than speech and debate. Nothing beats it for challenge, creativity, building friendships, or for life-long return on investment,” Connor said. “Every speechie, whether they participate for a single season or for an entire four-year high school career, is a winner. My job as coach is to help every one of my students to recognize and grow their inherent talents and to find their unique voice."  

Break up the quote by using, Connor said in the middle of the paragraph instead of at the beginning or end. Otherwise, it’s too long.

Every year, the Jemez Mountain speech and debate team hosts an end-of-year banquet in which the members perform their pieces for family and friends.  

This year, the team is extending an invitation to anyone who is interested in attending.  The event is on May 13th at 6:00pm at the White Rock Baptist Church.