On May 1, the Cassville High School Speech and Debate team held its annual awards banquet. This year, the Cassville team increased its membership to 46 students and had several competitors who performed well at conference, district and state events.
In the Big 8, Evan Wolfe was the conference champion in rado, Ben Shuman was the conference champion in poetry and humorous interpretation, and Katelyn Lehman topped the debate field in oratory and Lincoln-Douglas debate. Natalie Ward placed second in poetry in the Big 8 as did Tia Baker and Layne Rose in duo interpretation.
At districts, Ashley Webb and Garrett Roney placed third and advanced to state in public forum debate. Shuman also qualified to state this year after placing first in prose and second in poetry at the district tournament. He also qualified for nationals in humorous interpretation.
Kelly Walsh earned the prestigious Academic Scholars Award, which is given to speech and debate team members who reach 750 National Forensic League points and obtain a high grade point average and ACT score.
End-of-year awards, which are voted upon by the students, were also handed out at the banquet. Walsh was named Most Valuable Debator and Most Contribution to the Department. Shuman received the Most Valuable Interpreter award, and Lehman was tapped as Most Promising Novice.
A total of 22 students received letters for participation this season.
First-year letters were awarded to: Candace Reed, Baker, Travis Northern, Kassi Schlessman, Michelle Roberts, Olivia Cline, Molly Hopper, Lehman, Wolfe, Korey Banks, Zach Harris, Lacy Lavergne, Sarah Miller and Amber Johnson.
Second-year letter winners were: Shuman, Jessica Hodges, Chealsey Moore, Roney and Ashley Webb.
Third-year letterwinners were Rose and Ward, and Walsh earned the team's sole four-year letter.
Officers were elected for the 2008-09 school year. They are: Shuman, president; Harris, vice president; Lehman, secretary; and Banks, historian.
"Overall, it has been a very successful year for the speech and debate team," said Coach Derrick Blankenship.