Carson High students reach speech and debate nationals |

Carson High students reach speech and debate nationals

CHS students competed at the national qualifier in Reno.

Sophie Peterson has given her presentation in competition about 40 times. At the national qualifier she had to do her presentation seven times. But every time she gives her presentation it takes an emotional toll. Every time.

“I almost cried every time I performed it,” said Peterson on the Massacre at Lidice. “It was just draining.”

Peterson, a senior at Carson High, is one of six CHS students who have advanced to the National Speech and Debate Association Championships to be held June 17-22 in Dallas. The six students qualified for nationals at the national qualifier held last month in Reno.

Peterson will be joined at nationals by junior Mary Milburn, senior Kate Torres, Rosalind Macy, sophomore Nathan Wetzel and junior Kieran Dazzo.

The topics the students who advanced to nationals have been willing to take on is impressive. Along with the Massacre at Lidice, the topics they cover include gender expectations, sex trafficking and cyber bullying.

“It’s getting more original and more impressive,” said CHS teacher Patrick Mobley, the CHS speech and debate team adviser, about the topics his students have been willing to take on.

The Massacre at Lidice hits close to home to Peterson, who said she had family killed in the incident. In World War II, in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, the Lidice massacre was a complete destruction of the village of Lidice in June 1942 on orders from Adolf Hitler.

A British movie was actually made about the incident and used as a propaganda film for the war effort. “It was a piece of major propaganda during the war,” Peterson said.

Peterson said she doesn’t want the incident to become just a footnote in history or in other words “so it’s not going to be forgotten.”

Peterson, who will attend Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and has a 4.85 GPA, placed first in program oral interpretation at the national qualifier. Her 10-minute presentation takes seven pieces from prose, poetry and the theater, including “Night” by Elie Wiesel. Peterson is going to major in linguistics and political science.

CHS went 1-2 in program oral interpretation as Milburn, who covered gender expectations, placed second. The top two at the national qualifier advanced to nationals.

Milburn, who has a 4.55 GPA, plans to attend Rice University and major in computer science and political science. Milburn said the poems she wanted to recite led her to the topic of gender expectations. Milburn is also the state champion in informative speaking.

Torres took on the difficult subject of sex trafficking and took second in original oratory. She plans to study international affairs, political science and philosophy at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Torres qualified in two categories for nationals as she and her partner, Macy, also took second in duo interpretation where the two performed a play.

Dazzo performed a play solo and took second in dramatic interpretation as she addressed the difficult topic of cyber bullying.

Wetzel placed second in congressional debate in which students participate in a mock U.S. Congress. “It’s very competitive,” Wetzel said.

This is the sixth straight year CHS has had students qualify for nationals. The six students who qualified equals the highest number ever to qualify for nationals from CHS.

Fundraisers will be held to help with the students’ trip to Dallas. Two fundraisers will be held at Flavors of India, 1105 S. Carson St. The first will be held this Saturday and another will be held on May 25.

Both fundraisers will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Cost is $25 and tickets can be purchased at Flavors of India. Each fundraiser will be a performance theater featuring the CHS students and will include a DJ and buffet.

Another fundraiser will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 18 at Rustically Divine, 410 N. Carson St. Participants will be able to participate in a painting class for $45 and beverages will be offered. For tickets for that event, contact Mobley,