Blackfoot debaters qualify for nationals

BLACKFOOT — Come June, three articulate Blackfoot High School (BHS) debaters are heading to Birmingham, Ala., for national competition.
Gentry Carter, Samantha Johnson and Blake Dewvall will compete at the national level of the National Forensic League (NFL). The double elimination qualifying meet took place Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Madison High School in Rexburg.
"We have a really young team," said debate coach Marcy Curr. "I'm really proud of them."
Gentry and Blake are juniors. Samantha is a sophomore.
Gentry and Samantha will compete in Lincoln-Douglas; Blake will compete in International Extemporaneous (Extemp).
Lincoln-Douglas (L-D) debate is always a debate about morality, our core values, said Gentry. L-D competitors research and debate a topic for two months.
The topic for L-D for the months of January-February is "valuing rehabilitation versus retribution in the criminal system.
Competitors research both sides of each debate. They find out which side they are presenting at the competition.
During the fall, the L-D debate topic was "whether universal health care should be implemented in the U.S."
"We learned about differing societal views of universal health care, a little bit about politics, arguments for each side and views of some individuals," said Gentry Carter.
In International Extemp, competitors have 30 minutes to prepare a seven minute speech.
To prepare, Blake Dewvall said, "I read a lot about current events and pay attention to what's happening in the world."
The topic at the NFL qualifier was "Democracy in Egypt."
"We have a really young team," said debate coach Marcy Curr. "I'm really proud of them."
Five more BHS forensic members qualified for the national meet as first alternates. The first alternates are:
° Markie Lawrence in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking and Original Oratory.
° Wyatt Andersen in Humorous Interpretation.
° Sven Poensgen and Wyatt Andersen in Duo Interpretation.
° Connor Slagowski in Student Congress.
° Jeannette Warren is the second alternate in Student Congress.
The BHS forensic team has 75 members. Thirty-five make up the traveling team.
"We have three seniors, all of whom qualified as first alternates," said Curr. "We have four juniors; two of whom qualified for the NFL.
"Freshmen and sophomores make up the rest of our team," she said.
In debate, there are 13 speech and three debate events. The debate events are policy, public forum and Lincoln-Douglas (L-D).
"I'm really looking forward to the district and state events," said Curr.
Students will compete at the district and state meets during February.

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The competition is June 16-21 in Birmingham, Ala.