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Proceeds from the evening of speeches will send two seniors to the national competition.

COURTESY PHOTO: SANDY HIGH SPEECH AND DEBATE - Proceeds of the speech and debate showcase will go to help Jolene Crane and Sydney Sparr attend the national tournament in Kentucky. From 5-7 p.m. Sunday, May 1, Sandy High speech and debate team members will host a showcase of their skills in the school auditorium, 34700 Bell Street, in an effort to raise funds and send two members to nationals.

There is no cost to attend, but donations will be accepted and refreshments will be provided at intermission.

Proceeds will go to help Jolene Crane and Sydney Sparr cover the costs of attending the National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, in June and to help support the Speech and Debate team into the future.

"This program is something we started right before COVID, and it went extremely well. During the year, parents and friends never get to see the speeches that these kids spend so much time on, and this is a way for them to come see just how talented they really are," said coach Chris Meyers.

"We want the community to come and see how talented these kids are. There is so much that comes from this activity and, as I said, these guys put in hours and hours to perfect what they do," he said. "These students performing this year are some of the most talented we have ever had."

Crane, 18, who has participated in speech and debate for four years, said competing in the Public Forum debate in Kentucky has been something she and Sparr have worked toward for the entirety of the three years they've debated together.

"My partner and I couldn't be more excited for the opportunity to grow our skills and be able to finish off our senior year strong," Crane said. "I can't even begin to articulate how proud I am of how far Sydney and I have come, and all the help we can get financially will go a long way toward allowing us to go to Kentucky and debate our hearts out."

"Competing in Kentucky means so much to me because at the start, we were admittedly not good debaters," Sparr added. "Being able to see our progress over the year culminate into competing on the national level brings me so much joy.

"The other thing that makes this experience so memorable for me is that this will be the last competition of our senior year. Ending our high school speech and debate career at the national level is an amazing thing."

Both teens said they have enjoyed the community they've found through participating in speech and debate, and that the skills they've gained from the activity will benefit the two seniors even after they've graduated.

"Speech and debate has helped me immensely with my public speaking and critical thinking skills, which is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life" Crane said. "I am forever grateful to speech and debate for providing me with these skills, and I can't imagine how I could've acquired these otherwise."

"Participating in speech and debate has vastly improved my public speaking skills and ability to research and present information," Sparr added. "Learning how to structure a solid argument is one of the fundamental skills of debate and is something I have worked on over the last three years. This, and being able to speak to a crowd and maintain engagement, is something that will be useful to me in any future endeavors.

"Speech and debate is a community that is unlike any other. The people involved in it are some of the best people I have ever met," she said. "Everyone has something valuable to say and speech and debate is the best place to have an audience to say them."

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