MCHS debate team named elite program

— Moffat County should be proud of its high school speech and debate team, high school principal Jane Harmon said.

Moffat County High School speech and debate received the National Forensic League's highest honor this week. The team was presented with the Leading Chapter Award for the Rocky Mountain North district for its work last school year.

"I heard Monday," speech and debate teacher Eric Hansen said. "It's a pretty big honor. There was a lot of dedication and hard work that went into that and it's nice to show (the students) their hard work paid off."

The award is earned through competition points and student participation. Moffat County High School is one of 104 schools to receive the award nationwide.

Only one school from each Forensic League district can win the award in a given year, and must wait at least five years before being eligible again.

Hansen believes the award can be a stepping-stone toward rebuilding the program to its previous level in the late 1990s under teacher Joe Grimes.

MCHS last won the award in 1994 under Grimes. Last year, the high school sent its first two students to nationals since 2001.

"I hope in the next five years we will put ourselves in a situation we can win again," Hansen said. "We've kind of been in a rebuilding phase recently. Last year, we had a lot of good kids."

This year's team is young - there are two seniors - but shows a lot of potential, Hansen added. Once the younger members get some experience, Hansen believes the team can start sending more students to national competitions.

"That's the goal now," Hansen said. "We're going to focus on sending as many students as possible to nationals."

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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