Ben Gruenbaum, a Lee’s Summit North High School student, won a national championship title for humorous interpretation at the Speech and Debate National Tournament this past June.

Gruenbaum performed a piece entitled “Black Fedora,” competing against 245 other students entered in the humorous interpretation. He earned the national championship by winning 13 rounds of competition.

To qualify for the tournament, students must place in the top four in their event at the district tournament. The LSNHS chapter of the National Speech and Debate Association competed in the “Show Me District” tournament in March. At that tournament, Gruenbaum advanced through seven rounds of competition to take second place.

LSNHS had a total of seven students qualify for the national tournament in 2014. Vance Kelley and Sam Stockman qualified in extemporaneous speaking. Jasmine Jeffries qualified and was the district champion in original oratory. Jaden Powell qualified in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Kyle Barrett and Justin Moore qualified in student congress.

At the national tournament, LSNHS had two other students place in the top 50 in addition to Gruenbaum. Kelley placed in the top 40 in extemporaneous debate and Moore placed in the top 50 in student congress.

– Brandon Dumskey