Douglas has success at forensics league opener |

Douglas has success at forensics league opener

Thirteen members of the Douglas High School speech and debate team competed last weekend at their Northern Nevada Forensics League tournament in Elko.
Courtesy Douglas High School speech and debate |


The Douglas High School speech and debate team is in the process of raising funds through sponsorships to pay for the costs of competing at one or possibly two invitational tournament in the spring of 2017. Coach Karen Heine said the main target is to compete at the Cal Invitational on Feb. 18-20, 2017 on the University of California campus in Berkeley. “We want to go to Berkeley and maybe Santa Clara (University),” she said. “When we go to these invitationals, we’re competing against kids outside our league, kids from Northern California and even Southern California. That gives us more variety and it’s pretty exciting.” Heine explained that sponsorships of individual team members are being offered to community members and businesses. Contact Heine at for information.

2016-2017 Northern Nevada Forensics League schedule

Sept. 23- 24 Elko High School

Oct. 14-15 Reno High School

Nov. 18-19 Wooster High School

Dec. 9-10 McQueen High School

Jan. 27-28 Bishop Manogue Catholic High School

Feb. 24-25 Carson High School

March 10-11 Spring Valley High School, Las Vegas

April 6-8 District Tournament, TBA

Nine Douglas High School students returned home with awards — four with first-place trophies — from the Northern Nevada Forensics League’s 2016-17 season-opening tournament Friday and Saturday in Elko.

Coach Karen Heine described it as a long two days that included speech events from 3-10 p.m. on Friday then continued with the debate events Saturday at 8 a.m.

“Some of it is stamina, too,” Heine said. “It takes a lot of energy and focus to just keep going on Saturday. How much can these kids keep their head in the game and keep focused for a long time. They have to debate twice on the affirmative side and twice on the negative side, so they have to be prepared to talk on either side (of a subject).”

Overall, the Douglas award recipients included:

Connor Brown, first-place senior Lincoln-Douglas Debate speaker award. Brown is one of the team’s captains.

Lea Gifford, first-place senior Storytelling.

Ann Keasling, fourth-place senior Storytelling.

Corie Nalder, fifth-place Lincoln-Douglas senior speaker points.

Isabelle Maalouf, sixth-place senior Storytelling.

Courtney Brothers, first-place Lincoln-Douglas novice speaker award; third-place Lincoln-Douglas novice debate.

Wesley Alexander, first-place Lincoln-Douglas novice debate; eighth-place Lincoln-Douglas novice speaker points in just his first speech and debate competition.

Autumn Lowen and Kaley Housman, third-place novice Public Forum.

Housman, first-place novice Public Forum speaker award; and Lowen, seventh-place speaker points.

Gifford told Hans Christien Andersen’s fairytale “The Snow Queen,” for her Storytelling presentation.

“It’s actually the fairytale that (Disney’s) Frozen was based off of, but I always loved the fairytale,” she said. “I really enjoyed telling the story.”

Heine was elated to see Douglas win three of the four speaker awards on Friday. The awards are based on an accumulation of points awarded for a speaker’s performance throughout the competition.

“That just means those kids have got it together, they’re solid and they’re the best speakers,” Heine said. “Of the four speaker awards of the whole league, Douglas got three of them.”

The team features a mix of veteran competitors — Brown, Gifford and Maalouf qualified for the the National Speech and Debate Championships this past June in Salt Lake City — as well as newcomers. Douglas also made the trip without Breanna Ross-Dee, one of its veterans and captains.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Gifford, who competed in Storytelling at the national tournament. “We’ve got some new members on the team, so we’ve been working a lot with them. We’re really excited just to go into this new year as a team.”

Gifford competed in Storytelling as well as Duo Interpretation along with Maalouf at the national tournament in Salt Lake City. She advanced past the preliminary round in Storytelling.

“We definitely learned a lot,” Gifford said of the experience at nationals. “We were able to see how Duo is done all around the country and how it differentiates from how we do it in our league.

Gifford went on to express her gratitude for donations and support from the community that made the trip possible.

“Overall, it was a wonderful learning experience and I wouldn’t trade my time there for the world,” she said.