Six Newton High School Students will compete in the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The tournament runs from June 17 to June 22.

“We’re very, very proud,” Newton High School Debate and Forensics Coach David Williams said. “These kids work incredibly hard.”

Eli Blaufuss is making his second trip to nationals. He will compete in the extemporaneous speaking category after taking second at state. Eli will answer one of three questions with only 30 minutes to write, research and memorize a seven-minute speech. Eli will produce six speeches in prelims and possibly another six in the elimination rounds.

Mariah McDonald will be on the West Kansas World Debate Team. Mariah, as well as other qualifiers from across the state, will be debating together against teams from all over the world.

Two Newton High School teams also qualified for the national tournament in Policy Debate. Members for both of those teams are Kenton Fox, Chase Cassil, Fletcher Hummingbird and Khalil Kumar. The topic will be education policy. These students have been working on and researching this topic since January 2017.

Newton has a history of success in debate. This is Newton High School’s 26th year qualifying students for the national tournament.

“We’ve had some really amazing, talented and bright kids who have come through here,” Williams said. “We’ve had some high expectations for kids in our school district, and parents who are willing to support their kids.”

The National Debate and Speech Tournament has been held across the country since 1931.