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Mason Moore and Kyran Cates both qualified for nationals at a speech and debate tournament last weekend at Snake River High, and their coach Brent Schindler was named the Idaho Mountain River District Coach of the Year.

Debate team and coach receive regional accolades

The Teton High speech and debate team returned from last weekend’s tournament at Snake River High weighed down with awards not only for its students but also for its coach, Brent Schindler, who was named Coach of the Year Award for the Idaho Mountain River District.

“It was rather exciting, and a surprise,” said Schindler, who was nominated by the coaches from Highland and Rigby High then voted for by the other coaches of eastern Idaho.

“The other teams are great and I’m sure their coaches rock, but Mr.Schindler deserves this more than anyone,” said Teton High junior Kyran Cates. “He’s grown a debate team from nothing and he is constantly doing everything imaginable for us.”

Schindler has coached for three years and seen the team grow from two to 24 members strong. The team has brought home trophies from every tournament it has attended this season.

“The team is doing so well this season,” Schindler said. “It’s nice to get recognition for a small school like ours.”

At Snake River High, Cates and his teammate Mason Moore both qualified for the National Speech & Debate Tournament in Dallas in June. Moore, a team captain, was ranked first among over a hundred students last weekend for Congressional Debate and also qualified in U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking. Cates qualified in World Schools, a team debate event.

Through the season Cates, Julia Miller, Alexia Lopez, and Cameron Butler have excelled in Public Forum Debate. Several team members, including Butler and Nicholas Schindler, have done well in Retold Story, a speech event that involves retelling and acting out children’s stories. Joe Levanger, Christopher Schindler, and Wyatt Reece have done well in Radio Announcing, in which they develop and deliver a radio news program. River Temple, Sage Ashton, Aarika Mangelson and Julia Miller have done very well this year with Panel Discussion in which they conduct a panel discussion with others.

“Speech and debate gives me a safe space where I can step out of my comfort zone and yet still feel so comfortable,” Mangelson said.

The national qualifying tournament will continue this Friday at Snake River High and Schindler hopes to see another student or two qualify. Then on Saturday the state qualifying tournament will commence. State champs will happen on March 8-9 at Century High School.

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