SM South Team Wins National Debate Title

Debate Champions South
Shawnee Mission School District

A team of students from Shawnee Mission South earned first place in Policy Debate at this year’s National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) tournament.

Brooklynn Hato and Clare Bradley, both juniors, earned the top trophy at the competition in Washington D.C.

The team won the final round in a 4-1 decision on the debate topic: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States.

Prior to nationals, the team spent an extensive amount of time researching, reading, and learning about the topic, strategizing with coaches, and practicing execution of their argumentation, Carolyn Cook, director of speech and debate at Shawnee Mission South High School shared.

“Brooklynn and Clare are passionate about the arguments they read and choose to focus their positions around identifying and advocating for the improvement of inequities that exist in the United States today,” Cook shared. “The fact that they care deeply about the arguments they make inspires them to work constantly toward evolving their strategy, fine-tuning their positions, and growing as communicators and speakers.”

The team is impressive when they work together to articulate their arguments, Cook expressed.

“It makes them a lot of fun to watch,” she added.

Their national win comes after being named top speakers at the Glenbrooks Speech and Debate national tournament, earned three bids to the Tournament of Champions, having been named Kansas City Kansas NCFL and East Kansas NSDA tournament champions.

This year, 90 percent of the Shawnee Mission South team qualified for state debate, Cook noted. In addition to Cook, Azja Butler and Jackson Hoffman served as team assistants. Butler was the top speaker in the nation at the college national championship and coaches for the University of Kansas.

Hato and Bradley are also headed to their next Nationals tournament this week. The National Speech and Debate Association Tournament is being held in Louisville, Kentucky. Shawnee Mission East, Shawnee Mission North, and Shawnee Mission South all have students competing in this national tournament.

Debate Champions South