There’s no debate… |

There’s no debate…

Qualifying students of Carson High School's Debate team are competing at nationals in Alabama next month, from left, Jocelyn Manzano, Adam Lackey, Shaylin Segura, Alek Henricksen, Sawyer Barnett, and Sophia Peterson.
MOLLY MOSER | Nevada Appeal

For a third year in a row, Carson High School Speech and Debate has qualified six students this year to compete at the national tournament in Birmingham, Ala., June 18-24.

Four of those students will be competing for the first time, while the rest are about to graduate or take over as team captain or mentor. Each student spent the entire school year preparing to compete in a variety of topics, such as storytelling, international politics, nationwide politics, and commentary.

The tournament hosted by the National Speech & Debate Association is the largest academic event in the United States. This will be the 14th time a CHS debate team competes in nationals, said coach Patrick Mobley.

To get to Birmingham on time, the team began fundraising for the trip which will cost around $10,000.

For Adam Lackey and Jocelyn Manzano, it’s their first time competing and both qualified in duo interpretation. They cut a published work called the “Worst Breakups of All Time” to a 10 minute piece, and developed their own characters, voices, and motions.

“I’m proud to be doing this with a partner like Jocelyn,” Lackey said. “We pushed what we had into one piece and made it all of the way to this point.”

Alek Henricksen and Sophia Peterson also are competing for the first time in this prestigious event. Peterson qualified to compete in International Extemporaneous Speaking. She will be given 30 minutes to prepare a speech on current events topics outside the United States, such as the famine in Somalia or the ongoing unrest in Venezuela.

Senior and team captain Henricksen will be joining his classmate, Shaylin Segura — also a senior and team captain — on the World Schools team.

World schools teams include five members of the local league with rounds that mix prepared cases and impromptu speaking on topics such as banning coal or supporting parental leave. For Segura, this year will be her second time competing before she attends Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.

“My debate experience has taught me to communicate with others and had the opportunity to speak at Lions Host Club, Rotary International, and TEDx presentations,” she said. “I’m specializing in business in college but there isn’t a debate team where I’m going. I’m considering starting one.”

Senior and team captain Sawyer Barnett will be competing in his second national tournament in Congressional Debate. He will be in a room with about 25 other competitors who debate submitted legislation in the form of a mock legislature.

In March, Barnett and his classmates competed in state tournaments at Spring Valley High School, and earned top rank debater in all of Northern Nevada.

Both Barnett and Henricksen are attending University of Nevada, Reno, and plan to participate in the school’s debate team.

“It’s something we want to continue,” Henricksen said. “It’s going to be a lot different and it will be a hard transition, but interesting.”

The team will be hosting an open-public event called Sizzles’ & Speech at Mills Park Saturday, May 20 from 3 to 5 p.m. Members of the CHS debate team will perform a wide range of competitive pieces, there will be raffle prizes, and lunch will be served.

Tickets are $10 and can be bought at the day of the event. The team has also set up a gofundme page to accept donations at:

For more information, Mobley can be reached at