Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Two GRHS students join district team


Two members of the Green River High School Speech and Debate Team have been selected to compete on the Wind River District Team.

Junior Hayley Lauze and senior Savannah Hook will join Anna Savage of Greybull High School, Darren Leonhardt of Hot Springs County High School and Martin Eby of Jackson Hole High School to form the Wind River District Team.

Former GRHS speech and debate team member Christopher Andrews, who will graduate from Notre Dame May 18 with a bachelors degree in chemical engineering and a bachelors degree in theology, was selected to coach the team for the USA World Schools Debate Invitational. The invitational is a debate tournament in a program that is separate from the National Speech and Debate Association’s tournament; however, the goals are similar.

The team will compete in a three-on-three parliamentary style debate that blends the philosophical argumentation of Lincoln-Douglas debate, the policy and research skills of policy debate, and the open, dialogue-centered format of public forum debate, Andrews said. The team will compete against teams from districts around the USA and a number of international teams.

“Hayley and Savannah are both exceptional debaters. They have both become refined researchers and speakers, and their raw debate skills alone are enough to make them a strong asset to the team,” Andrews said. “In addition, they bring the tremendous asset of experience to the team. They both have proven leadership skills, and they will both have to put them to good use for the team to be successful.”

“Green River has a truly exceptional speech and debate team, and that is due primarily to the efforts of the coaching staff. Every one of them has the ability to connect with students in a powerful way, and as a result of that, Green River is now fully immersed in a culture of excellence. Maximum effort, a team-first mentality, and individual personal development are expectations for every student on the team,” Andrews said. “That Hayley and Savannah were both chosen to be on the team is a reflection of their own individual skills as well as the cumulative effort their teammates and coaches have put in to the team over the years that has played a big part in their success.”

According to Andrews, the World Schools Debate is a great opportunity for students to get experience with people from other cultures. They will learn about the experiences of others their age who have grown up in areas that are really different from Wyoming. It will be a great opportunity for the students to grow in their understanding of how the world works.

The USA Invitational usually occurs at the same time and in the same place as nationals, which is in Dallas on June 14-19, but this will be the first Wind River District team to compete, Andrews said.

“The main goal for the Wind River District team is to win the tournament. That is not because winning is especially valuable, but because each student on the team is talented and fully capable of competing with the best in the field,” Andrews said. “There is no reason that Wyoming debaters have to be satisfied with just making it to the tournament. They have a very good chance to steal the show.”

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege for me to coach the team. I am extremely humbled at the opportunity to give back to Wyoming speech and debate,” Andrews said. “Carina Stulken, Dan Parson, and a number of other coaches at GRHS have had a tremendous impact on me through their willingness to be a part of speech and debate; and I am thrilled at the opportunity to pass that along to another group of students. I am excited about the challenge of entering into something new.”

“I would really like to thank the community of Green River for showing such outstanding support of speech and debate at GRHS. It is not an exaggeration to say that the students there are as good as any in the country, as we saw with their performances at the national tournament last year and the year before. It is a big challenge for a team to be as successful as they have been for as long as they have,” Andrews said. “It is exciting to think that they will continue to be successful and open up all kinds of opportunities for the students after they graduate. That’s the really important thing —  speech and debate will enable these students to be successful in a way that no other activity can quite match. Without support from the community, the team would not have been able to do all the things it has done; and I certainly would not be where I am today.”


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