Speech and Debate reach for the top 5


NCHS Speech and Debate

Maren Nicolaysen, William Endelman, Traci Reutner Blom and 6 others pose for their team photo in NC’s library. Members have already gone through some more virtual competitions on February 6th of 2021.

Emma Johns, Reporter

With 30 schools from South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming competing to reach the NIETOC (National Individual Events Tournament of Champions), over 509 competitors work towards the state championship. Cheyenne East is the only other school  in Wyoming that holds this event. The tournament of Champions uses a bid system to determine the students that will move onto the National Championships. Bids are given to competitors that place high enough in certain nationally or regionally respected tournaments. 

It’s a requirement for competitors to receive at least two of these bids before they are qualified to move on. Of the 509 students that participate, only 42 students receive this bid. Once students achieve their 2 bids, they move on to the competition held by J. Frank Dobie High School in Houston, Texas. There, five different states judge students virtually through sites such as Zoom and NSDA (National Speech and Debate Association) Campus. Five different states judge the performances with about 197 judges consisting of volunteers from the community, and in Colorado and Pennsylvania. Even staff from NCHS step up to judge these events. 

In February 2021, students competed for a place in this championship. They’ve recently reached halfway through the season, competing for 5 tournaments which were held in Star Valley, Buffalo, Thunder Basin, Cheyenne East, and Cheyenne South. Competitors and NCHS students Ocean Robson(9) and Ian Iselin(12) are both placement holders of the average 4 tournaments. 

Within these mentioned tournaments, students are allowed to choose from varying categories such as drama, comedy, and many more. They prepare speeches or debates for these competitions, practicing for a few weeks before a decided few enter to reach the national finals. Within these weeks, students practice their lines before a group of peers and Ms. Gray, who oversees the activity during after-school hours. During their presentations, students are required to dress within their best suits or dresses. They’re often seen in the themes of black and white and business attire, in exception to the few who include a multitude of colors in their suits/dresses.