Walk the talk

  • Parker School’s speech and debate team won the sweepstakes trophy for the first time at the Speech and Debate Qualifying Neighbor Island Tournament on Jan. 19-20. (Photo courtesy Parker School

KAMUELA – It feels good to be champs.

Parker School hosted the Speech and Debate Qualifying Neighbor Island Tournament Jan. 19-20 and, for the first time, took home the tournament’s top sweepstakes trophy on their home campus.


The annual tournament, the NIT, pitted a number of schools vying for the crown, including Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Hilo High School along with eight Oahu schools. It consisted of six debate and 10 speech events over two days. Parker School took the sweepstakes trophy, which is awarded based on all speech and debate events combined.

Perhaps the biggest win for Parker came from speech greenhorns, senior Erica Yost and junior Stacee Firestone, who placed first in duo interpretation.

“This is their first year competing in speech, however, they have been involved in drama since middle school,” said Carl Sturges, Parker School headmaster and debate coach. “Their first-place finish gave us the unexpected points needed to beat Kamehameha Schools.”

Kamehameha had won the trophy the previous 10 years in a row.

Awards include first place in Varsity Policy Debate by junior Katie Carey and senior Emily Fetsch; first and second places in JV Policy Debate by sophomores Noelani Sulla and sophomore Zoe Spikerman and freshman Ellie Carey and sophomore Eloise Robertson; and a first-place finish by senior Zoe Vann in Championship Lincoln Douglas Debate.

Additional notable performances include a second-place finish in Advanced Public Forum Debate by senior Anna Gaglione and junior Grace Bollinger; a first and second place finish in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate by junior Braydon Byron and sophomore Mele Rickards, and second place in Program Oral Interpretation by junior Hunter Kalahiki- Arnbrister.


The win is the most recent trophy captured by Parker’s speech and debate team as they continue their unprecedented season, having won four Oahu tournaments and already qualifying 20 students to the state tournament in April.

Next, the team will travel to Spokane, Washington, for the Thomas Foley Memorial Tournament, thanks to a grant from the Julia Burke Foundation.

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