Spartan Achievements

"Excellence can be attained if you . . . care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, expect more than others think is possible."

EHS Debaters Have Good Showing at Shawnee Missions
Dateline Prairie Village KS 11 November 2017
Saturday at the Shawnee Mission East High School Debate Invitational, seniors Payton Harmon and Emma Persinger took 4th place out of 45 teams entered in the varsity division. This gave them their 4th bid to the Debate Coaches Invitational (DCI) to be held at Blue Valley Southwest High on January 5 and 6. The DCI is the tournament for schools of every size to determine an overall state champion. It takes 2 bids to qualify.

At Shawnee Mission West, EHS freshmen debaters Lucas Reynolds and Kat Rosa took 4th out of 28 teams in the championship division, junior Kelin Rodriguez and freshman Leah Rodriguez were 4th of 42 teams in the open division.

At the Rock Creek Invitational Debate Tournament, senior Thompson Phan and sophomore Katie Davis placed 5th overall.

Reynolds & Rosa Take 3rd at Shawnee Heights
Dateline Tecumseh KS 4 November 2017
Emporia High School freshmen Kathryn Rosa and Lucas Reynolds took 3rd place at the Shawnee Heights Invitational Debate Tournament, last weekend. 54 teams from 13 schools participated. The team compiled at 2-day record of 6-1.

Velo & Garcia In Finals at Derby DCI
Dateline Derby KS 28 October 2017
At the Derby Panther Invitational Debate Tournament, seniors Ethan Garcia and Nick Velo finished in second place in the varsity division, dropping a split decision in the final round to first-place Lawrence Free State. The pair concluded the tournament with an 8-1 record. Garcia earned the 2nd place individual speaker award, Velo took 5th place. 34 schools competed. The pair earned their 4th bids to the Debate Coaches Invitational in January.

At the Topeka West Invitational senior Thompson Phan and sophomore Katie Davis took 4th place in the open division, freshmen Murphy Lewis and Eliot Rabas went undefeated and were first, while freshmen Anya Tollakson and Lucas Reynolds tied for 3rd in the novice division. 13 schools competed.

At the Valley Center Invitational debate Tournament, seniors Alexa Houston and Lani Drennan took 2nd place. 18 schools competed.

Emporia Debaters Have Another Strong Weekend
Dateline Buhler KS 24 October 2017
At Buhler Invitational Debate Tournament, seniors Payton Harmon and Emma Persinger were 3rd in the varsity division earning their 3rd bid to the Debate Coaches Invitational. Junior Kelin Rodriguez and freshman Leah Rodriguez tied for 2nd in novice division. 23 schools participated.

At the Manhattan Invitational Debate Tournament, freshman Sam Gillen and sophomore Hunter Halfmann tied for 4th in the open division. 34 entries from 9 schools participated.

EHS Debate Has Outstanding Performance at Hutchinson
Dateline Hutchinson KS 15 October 2017
On Saturday, the Emporia High School debate team took 3rd place overall at the Tom Kelly Invitational at Hutchinson High School. 19 schools from across the state participated in the two-day tournament. The EHS effort was led by seniors Nick Velo and Ethan Garcia, as well as seniors Payton Harmon and Emma Persinger. Velo and Garcia made it to the semifinal round where they lost to champion Shawnee Mission East. Both teams earned qualifications to the Kansas Debate Coaches Invitational, the all school-classifications tournament held each January.

Spartan Debaters Open Season With A Bang

Dateline Olathe KS 3 October 2017

At the Olathe Northwest Debate Invitational, seniors Payton Harmon and Emma Persinger took  4th place, senior Xander Baldwin and junior Lena Mose were 5th, and Nick Velo and Ethan Garcia 6th out of 50 teams in the varsity division. Sophomores Hunter Halfmann and Ian Hayden took 4th out of 51 teams in the junior varsity division. Thirty-four schools participated in the two-day event. EHS finished second in total wins in combined results for the tournament.

At the McPherson High School debate tournament, sophomore Katie Davis and freshman Xavier Ralston placed 5th out of 32 teams.

EHS Takes 3rd at State Debate

Saturday the Emporia High 4-speaker  debate team led by senior  Cole Nuessen along with juniors Xander Baldwin, Payton Harmon, Emma Persinger, and sophomore Abigail Rick took 3rd place at the 2017 Kansas high school debate championship.  This is the 4th state trophy in 6 years for Emporia.  The team compiled a record of 12 wins, 4 losses in the 2-day competition. 

EHS also competed in the state 2-speaker tournament.  The Spartans were led by seniors Will Dyer and Lucas Lord, senior Tommy Phan with sophomore Samantha Le, juniors Katana Dobson  and Naomi Martinez, and sophomores Kaila Chea and Lena Mose.  No 2-speaker team ended with less than a .500 record.  Emporia qualified the maximum allowed state entry of 14 debaters for the 7 the year in a row and the 11th time in 12 years.

DeBauge & Garcia are Second at Novice State                                                                         Saturday at the Sunflower Novice State Debate Championship, Emporia High School debaters Ashley DeBauge and Ethan Garcia took second place out of the 58 teams entered.  The pair won their first 8 rounds on their way to the final before dropping a split-decision to a team from Blue Valley Northwest in the final.  DeBauge and Garcia also tied for second-place among the 116 individual speakers entered in the two-day competition for the top first year debaters from the state of Kansas.  The pair were joined by fellow EHS debaters Kaila Chea, Matthew East, Samantha Le, Brevyn Lyon, Lena Mose, and Angela Palma in producing an overall record of 17-8.

EHS Debaters are Regional Champs                                                                                       On Saturday, the Emporia High School debate team won their regional tournament at Newton.  The team consisting of seniors Brandon Boyce, Alondra Garcia, and Caylie Ratzlaff as well as sophomores Xander Baldwin, Payton Harmon, and Emma Persinger went 8-0, picking up 21 of 24 judges ballots.  The team will now advance to the state tournament at Olathe Northwest High School on January 15 and 16.

Boyce & Ratzlaff Qualify for NSDA Nationals                 Emporia High seniors Brandon Boyce and Caylie Ratzlaff earned a trip to the National Speech and Debate Association national championship in Salt Lake City this June.  31 teams competed for the opportunity.  EHS senior Alondra Garcia and sophomore partner Payton Harmon are the first alternate.

19 State Qualifications for EHS Debate                                                                     The Emporia High School debate team concluded another successful regular season with 19 students qualified for the 5A state tournament.  Qualifiers included Xander Baldwin, Brandon Boyce, Katana Dobson, Will Dyer, Alondra Garcia, Ethan Garcia, Payton Harmon, Daley Keister, Lucas Lord, Naomi Martinez, Kostin Mercer, Cole Nuessen, Emma Persinger, Thompson Phan, Tommy Phan, Caylie Ratzlaff, Nick Velo, Dom Weidner, and Emma Wheeler.  The team has placed top 4 at state for the past 10 years in a row.  They are currently ranked 53rd out of 2954 member schools of the National Association for Speech and Debate.  The state tournament will be held at Olathe Northwest High School on January 15-16.

Another Great Week for EHS Debate                                               Friday and Saturday at the Lawrence Invitational Debate Tournament, Emporia High sophomores Xander Baldwin and Emma Persinger took first place in the open division, Sophomores Nick Velo and Ethan Garcia were first in the jv division, juniors Lucas Lord and Dom Weidner finished fourth in the varsity division.  Thirty-three schools participated in the tournament.   At the Free State Invitational Debate Tournament, senior Ashley DeBauge and freshman Iuma Estabrooks took 5th, freshmen Angela Palma and Abby Rick were 8th.  One hundred eleven teams from 19 schools participated. At the St. George, Rock Creek Invitational Debate Tournament, juniors Cole Nuessen and Kostin Mercer took second place in the open division.  Fifty-six teams from 15 schools participated.

Another Great Weekend for EHS Debate                                   Saturday at the Arkansas City High School Invitational Debate Tournament, Emporia placed first out of 14 schools entered.  Sophomores Xander Baldwin and Emma Persinger took first, while Nick Velo and Tommy Phan were 4th in the open division.  Freshmen Brevyn Lyon and Matthew East tied for first in the novice division.  Fellow freshmen Iuma Estabrooks and Samantha Le also contributed to the win.At the Ottawa High School Debate Invitational, EHS took 1st out of 13 schools competing.  Emporia was led by Senior Ashley DeBauge and freshman Kaila Chea who tied for first with a 5-0 record.  Juniors Kostin Mercer and Cole Nuessen were 4-1, junior Will Dyer and Sophomore Thompson Phan were 4-1, and seniors Emma Wheeler and Daley Keister were 3-2.

EHS Freshmen Outstanding at SMW                                                                                     Emporia High freshmen debaters Lena Mose and Angela Palma went 6-1 and took 4th place out of 66 teams at the Shawnee Mission West Invitational last weekend.  Palma now stands 20-4 on the season, Mose is 14-7.

Alondra Garcia & Payton Harmon undefeated 1st place at Osage City. 

Ashley DeBauge & Iuma Estabrooks tied with Matthew East & Abby Rick for 3rd at Shawnee Heights. 

Great Showing for Emporia High Debaters                                                                                                           

It was a big weekend for the Emporia High School debate team with strong finishes at 3 different tournaments.  On Saturday in Topeka, the team won the team sweepstakes trophy at the Highland Park Invitational Debate Tournament.  The team compiled a 16-4 record against 11 schools in attendance for a 5 win margin over the second place team.  Sophomores Emma Persinger and Nick Velo tied for first in the open division with a 5-0 record, while fellow sophs Xander Baldwin and Payton Harmon tied for third.  Sophomore Ethan Garcia and freshman Samantha Le tied for first in the novice division with a 5-0 record, with Sophomore Juliana Saxton and freshman Iuma Estabrooks tied for third in the novice division.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At Newton, seniors Brandon Boyce and Caylie Ratzlaff picked up their third Debate Coaches' Invitational bid for the season.  The pair had previously qualified for the January all-classifications debate invitational to determine the top team regardless of school size in the state.  Each bid beyond qualification elevates a team's seeding for the opening round.  Juniors Kostin Mercer and Cole Nuessen went 6-1 for third place in the Newton open division.  Ratzlaff won an individual speaker award as one of the top 8 speakers in the varsity division, Nuessen did the same in the open division.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               At Manhattan, EHS was second out of 7 schools overall.  Juniors Lucas Lord and Dominik Weidner took second in the varsity division, junior Will Dyer and sophomore Naomi Martinez were third.  Senior Daley Keister was recognized as 3rd place individual speaker, Dyer was 8th, Martinez 9th.  Freshman Abby Rick was 7th in novice.

Wells & Palma take First                                                                                                                                                                         

On Saturday at the Topeka West Invitational Debate Tournament EHS freshmen Katie Wells and Angela Palma took first place 

with a 7-1 record.  The pair bested a field of 43 teams representing 15 schools.  This was the second straight trophy for the pair. Also last weekend at the Iowa Caucuses Debate Tournament held at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Emporia freshman Kaila Chea was recognized as the 5thplace individual debater among a national field of top debate schools.

Boyce & Ratzlaff Get DCI Qualification                                                                     EHS senior debaters Caylie Ratzlaff and Brandon Boyce were 3rd out of 61 teams in the varsity division at the Blue Valley North High School on Saturday.  The pair went 6-1 on route to a 2016 Debate Coaches Invitational qualification.  The January tournament is the 1A-6A all schools championship.  Freshmen debaters Katie Wells and Angela Palma were 4-1, good for a second place tie at Olathe South.

Saxton & DeBauge are Undefeated                                                                     EHS Senior debater Ashley DeBauge and sophomore  partner Juliana Saxton took first place and went 3-0 at Washburn Rural on Tuesday.  DeBauge now stands 9-0 on the season.

Garcia & Velo Take Second at Shawnee Mission North                                              Emporia High senior debater Alondra Garcia and sophomore partner Nick Velo took second place at the Shanee Mission North Invitational on Saturday.  The pair lost a split decision in the final round.  Sophomores Lani Drennan and Thompson Phan tied for second at the Abilene Invitational.

Lyon & Dix are Perfect at Topeka West                                                                                             Emporia High freshmen debaters Brevyn Lyon and David Dix took first place last night at Topeka West posting a 3-0 record with perfect speaker ranks, senior Ashley DeBauge paired with freshman Emily Maldonado also went 3-0 and placed second.  DeBauge now stands 6-0 on the season, while Lyon is 7-1.

Persinger & Velo are Third                                                                         Emporia High sophomores Nick Velo and Emma Persinger took 3rd place at the Clay Center Invitational debate tournament on Saturday.  The pair faced numerous retuning state medalists from last year on their way to a state qualifying mark.

DeBauge & Chea went undefeated for first place
At the Seaman High School novice debate tournament on September 30, senior Ashley DeBauge and freshman Kaila Chea were undefeated with perfect speaker ranks and placed first out of 36 teams present.  It was DeBauge's first tournament ever, Chea's record went to 7-1 on the year.

Reed & Garcia are 1st Place at Hutchinson                                       On Saturday, September 26 at the Tom Kelly Invitational Debate Tournament held at Hutchinson High School, Emporia High sophomores Ethan Garcia and Hayley Reed took first place with a 5-0 record. The pair had nearly perfect speaker ranks, falling just one shy of the ideal. Thirty-five teams representing 22 schools took part in the contest.

Debaters Open Season with Strong Performances    

The opening weekend of Kansas high school debate was fruitful for the Emporia High School debate team as members competed at 3 separate tournaments last weekend.   Seniors Brandon Boyce and Caylie Ratzlaff took 4th place at the 65 team Washburn Rural High School Invitational.  The pair also earned their first of 2 required bids to qualify for the Debate Coaches Invitational this January.  Freshmen Samantha Le and Brevyn Lyon went 4-1 and took 6th place in the novice division. At the Blue Valley Southwest Invitational, juniors Lucas Lord and Dominik Weidner went 4-1 good for 8th place in the open division, while freshmen Tristan Philavong and Kaila Chea finished 4-1 and were 8th in a 51 team novice division.  Freshmen Lena Mose and Angela Palma took 3rd out of 41novice teams with a 4-1 record at the St James Academy Invitational in Lenexa.

EHS Seniors Martin & Wood Take 9th at Debate National                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Over the Memorial Day weekend,  Emporia High School seniors Parker Wood and Clay Martin took 9th place in the national high school policy debate tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida sponsored by the National Catholic Forensic League.   The pair compiled a 6 wins, 1 loss record against competitors from across the nation.  The earned 14 out 15 ballots in preliminary competition giving them the third seed in elimination rounds.  This was the 6th time in 9 years EHS has placed top 20 at the NCFL tournament.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The NCFL is one of two governing bodies for national speech and debate competition. Its membership is dominated by top private and prep schools.  The tournament attracted over 2000 entries.  Kansas high school debaters were dominant with all six teams representing the Kansas City region placing in the top 32 in the nation.  The team of Henry Walter and Ali Dastjerdi from Shawnee Mission East won the NCFL championship.  David Khalif and Vijay Ramasamy from Blue Valley North took 4th, Jacob Hegna and Chris Fry from Blue Valley Southwest were 5th, Andie Divelbiss and Alex Ghekas from Blue Valley Southwest took 10th giving the state 5 of the top 10 teams in the nation.

EHS Debate- 3rd place at 5A State 2015

From left to right: Daley Keister, Parker Wood, Caylie Ratzlaff, Clay Martin, Hernan Hernandez, Dominik Weidner

EHS Debate Team Places Second at State

district news release Jan 20, 2014 
Release date: 2014-01-20T15:44:37-05:00

Seniors Jhon Huachaca, Jessica Parks, Andy Renteria and Ray Winans along with junior alternates Shaun Hruza and Ali Nasrazadani finished with 12 wins against 4 losses in the nine-school round-robin competition.  The team collected 38 of a potential 48 judges’ ballots; first place Blue Valley Southwest won 39, according to debate coach Scott Bonnet.

EHS seniors Rob Lara and Drew Stapp tied with senior Jon Ralston and junior Clay Martin for fifth place out of 58 entries in the state 2-Speaker Debate Championship.  They were joined by senior Cameron Crouch and juniors Christian Smith, Hernan Hernandez, and Bryan Sandoval in rounding out a very strong Emporia entry.

EHS Has Strong Showing at DCI & Novice State Debate Competitions

District news release January 13, 2014 
Release date: 2014-01-13T15:30:36-05:00


Emporia High freshman Addie Doudican was recognized as the state’s top freshman novice debater at the Sunflower Novice State Debate Championship Saturday at Washburn Rural High School. Doudican and freshman partner Beth Wright compiled a 7-1 record and took third place in the ninth grade team competition.

Junior Parker Wood who was honored as the second best novice debater in the open division.  He and sophomore partner Alondra Garcia placed fifth, according to Scott Bonnet, director of debate.

EHS placed second  in the school sweepstakes competition.  Other debaters that contributed to the outstanding showing included freshmen Dylan Brown and Lucas Lord, Katy Stapp and Sidney Ulrich, Bonnet said.

EHS was one of 120 teams from 39 schools participating in the competition.

Competing at the Kansas Debate Coaches Invitational, seniors Andy Renteria and Jhon Huachaca finished with a strong 4-3 record against top teams from all classifications 1A through 6A.

Bonnet also was elected to the Debate Coaches Hall of Fame and he will be inducted in January 2015.

EHS Debaters Recognized for Excellence at National Tournament

District news release May 28, 2013 
Release date: 2013-05-28T06:47:28-05:00

The Emporia High School Debate Team was recognized as one of the top five debate schools in the nation by the National Catholic Forensic League during the Memorial Day weekend.

Debate coach Scott Bonnet announced that five EHS debaters received the Eleanor E. Wright Award of Excellence in Debate. The sweepstakes trophy is presented to the top five debate schools in the nation based on the points earned by the school's top three entries in Team Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate and Student Congress at the NCFL Grand National Tournament.

More than 2,400 competitors representing 543 schools competed at the 2013 NCFL national championship tournament.  EHS qualified nine students to represent the Kansas City region at the Grand National Finals in Philadelphia.

In order to receive this award, the team had a number of outstanding individual performances, Bonnet said. Seniors Barbara Haynes and Talia Smith reached the Elite 8 in policy debate; senior Brandon Schrader made it to the Sweet 16 in Lincoln-Douglas Debate; and juniors Jhon Huachaca and Andy Renteria made the Sweet 16 in Public Forum Debate.

EHS Debaters are State Champions!

Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2013  6pm

The Emporia High School debate team won the 2013 5A State debate Championship on Saturday at Hutchinson High School.  The team was led by seniors Barbara Haynes, Will Kraft, Brandon Schrader and Talia Smith, with alternates senior Elijah Williams and sophomore Shaun Hruza.  Over the two-day competition the team compiled a 15-1 record.  Second place Blue Valley Southwest went 13-3, while third place Topeka Seaman was 9-7.  Haynes and Smith will represent EHS at the national championships later this year.

Friends & Family EHS Debate

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012 10:11 am

Courtesy Photo EHS Debate Champions The Emporia High School Debate Team claimed the Team Sweepstakes Trophy at the Flint Hills District National Forensics League Tournament for the first time Saturday at Topeka West High School. Seniors Talia Smith and Barbara Haynes qualified to represent the district at the NFL national tournament in Birmingham, Ala. in June. All four EHS teams finished in the top seven at the two-day competition as seniors Brandon Schrader and Will Kraft, senior Jacob Wright, and junior Drew Stapp also reached the finals. Juniors Jhon Huachaca and Andy Renteria made it to semi-finals.

Emporia High Debate Wins Honors at 5A State

Emporia Gazette, Monday, January 23, 2012

Scott Bonnet, director of debate at Emporia High School, reports that on Friday and Saturday at the 5A state two-speaker debate tournament, juniors Will Kraft and Brandon Schrader took fourth place with a 7-1 record; juniors Talia Smith and Barbara Haynes were fifth going 5-2; and sophomores Ray Winans and Jessica Parks picked up a fifth place medal at 4-3. Senior Radwan Dayib and sophomore Drew Stapp finished 3-3.

Kraft and Schrader were the only team to complete a 6-0 record in preliminary rounds which earned them the top-seed going into elimination rounds. Haynes and Smith were 5-1 and the second seed.

In the 4-speaker tournament, senior Josh Ralston, junior Jacob Wright, and sophomores Andy Renteria, Jhon Huachaca, and Jonathan Ralston took 5th place with a record of 7-7.

Jackson, Garza Novice debate state champs

Emporia Gazette, Friday, January 20, 2012

The freshmen duo, who are enrolled in Scott Bonnet’s Novice Debate class at EHS, swept the competition finishing with a record of 9-0. The national topic for policy for this year’s debate competition was whether the federal government should expand efforts to explore and/or develop outer space.Since Emporia High School started competing in debate competitions in 1915, it has never crowned a Kansas Novice Debate State Champion. Freshmen Esperanza Garza and Unique Jackson changed that by going undefeated at the state debate competition Jan. 6 at Shawnee Mission East High School.

“It is the national topic that all high school debaters have debated over the course of this season,” EHS Director of Debate Scott Bonnet said. “Everyone at every level nation-wide.”

Seventy-two teams from classes 1 to 6A competed in the statewide competition that includes five preliminary rounds and a 16-team, single elimination tournament that spanned two days. Each round lasted one-and-a-half hours with that time divided equally among the two, two person teams. Each debaters received about 37.5 minutes to argue a point.

Each team was asked to argue all sides of the argument, a rule of high school debate.

“This is what is referred to as switch-sides debate,” Bonnet said. “Half the time you’re on one side saying yes. ... The other half of the time, they have to say no. ... They have to have a thorough understanding of both sides of all of the arguments. It helps them to develop a more objective understanding of the issues.”

Getting to know all sides of the story is only one element first-time debaters learn in EHS’s Novice Debate class. Other critical thinking skills Bonnet’s students learn and develop are fundamentals of debate, communication skills, argumentation theory, a thorough understanding of each year’s topics, new professional vocabulary, different sets of technical, scientific and governmental skills and a better understanding of how the world functions.

Garza and Jackson’s success came from some of the skills they learned in the Novice Debate course.

“They had developed real strong communication skills,” Bonnet said. “Their analytical skills were really outstanding. They had worked really hard to have a really thorough all-around understanding of this topic, of this resolution.”

The next step for the novice state champs is to compete in varsity debates.

“They will go on to compete in varsity competitions in the future,” Bonnet said.