Pictured left to right, are San Marcos High School speech and debate team coach C.J. Odam, senior Brooke Morgan, junior Irene Morse, junior Henry Finch and coach Lacye Odam. The team placed third statewide in the 4A conference.
San Marcos High School junior Irene Morse is state champion in persuasive speaking for Conference 4A following University Interscholastic League competition last week.
She was part of a team, including junior Henry Finch and senior Brooke Morgan, who won third place overall in the state. Morgan won fifth place in prose and Finch placed sixth in informative speaking to contribute to the team score.
Morse spoke on two topics at the competition: “Is jusice being achieved in the Sudan War Crimes trials?” and “Does the movement for democratic change have a major voice in the political affairs of Zimbabwe?”
“I think we are still in shock. I can’t even express how big this is. SMHS has a 4A State Champion,” said Layce Odam who coaches the team along with C.J. Odam.
The state championship caps an exciting rise for the speech and debate program this year, the Odams said. The school’s larger academic team won runners-up at district competition in March and included four speech and debate team members who qualified for regional competition. At regions, Morgon won first place in prose.
Finch will represent the school at at the National Forensic League National Championships in Birmingham, Ala. later this month. This is the third consecutive year that a high school team has sent a representative to compete in the national competition.
Also, Morse is one of 48 students chosen nationally as part of the “I Debate” Leadership Team who will attend a five day conference this summer in Oklahoma. She and the others will study issues of American politics, and then present their ideas in a televised, free-style debate.