• Blue Springs, Blue Springs South students qualify for nationals

  • When Reuben Hoyle learned that he and partner Kody Henning had qualified for the 2013 National Forensics League’s Speech and Debate Tournament, he did not believe it at first.

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  • When Reuben Hoyle learned that he and partner Kody Henning had qualified for the 2013 National Forensics League’s Speech and Debate Tournament, he did not believe it at first.
    “I wasn’t there for the awards ceremony. I had to leave, so I got this text message with a picture of the plaque,” said the senior at Blue Springs South High School this fall. “We found the piece in the library. I think after reading it, we thought we could do the script a lot of justice.”
    The national tournament is June 16 to 21 in Birmingham, Ala. Those who qualified from Blue Springs South are Hoyle and Henning, duo interpretation; Ryan McCrary, original oratory; and Julian Bailey, U.S. extemporaneous speaking. National qualifiers from Blue Springs High School are Anson Long-Seabra, humorous interpretation; Lyric Davis, dramatic interpretation; Sam Moore, dramatic interpretation; Alexandria Poindexter, dramatic interpretation; Curtis Chapin, humorous interpretation; and Donny Richardson and Ashleigh Pearce, policy debate.
    Richardson, Pearce and Bailey were unavailable for comment.
    Chapin said he feels good about qualifying for the national tournament again. He qualified in 2011 in the same event. His piece this year is “The Kid Who Talked to Penguins,” the same piece a Blue Springs High School student competed with at nationals in 2009 - Tyler Dailey.
    “The penguins tell him the future, and it gets him into some trouble,” said Chapin, who plans to attend William Jewell College this fall. “(When I qualified) it felt like I was completing something. It felt good. It felt really good. My goal is to final (get to the finals round).
    Poindexter, who will be a junior this fall, said she is excited to simply be a part of the nationals atmosphere as a first-time qualifier. Her piece is “The Gift of Tongues,” which tells the story of a girl who was born with physical deformities and how she goes about living her life.
    “I had actually ordered a different piece online, and they threw in this piece as an add on. I took it as a sign from God that he wanted me to do this piece,” she said. “It is such a surreal feeling knowing that I am going to the tournament. I have really tried to go in-depth with how the character feels in the piece. I want people to believe I am that character and not look at it as just a performance piece.”
    McCrary said her event is a little different than the others because in original oratory, she has to write her own script. Entitled “Eat, Sleep, Read,” she said she chose a topic that she liked, but that would also be a “judge pleaser.”
    She said that when she found out she had qualified, “I started crying on stage. I was pretty happy,” said the 2013 graduate. “I run through my piece two to three times a week to rehearse. I’m not nervous now, but I probably will be when we get there.”
    Page 2 of 2 - This is Long-Seabra’s second trip to the national tournament. He qualified last year in the same event and finished in the top 30. His piece this year is “The Walking Dead,” which is based on the comic book-turned-television show that follows a disoriented man’s struggle to find his family.
    “I am not sure what to expect this year,” said the 2013 graduate, who is attending Truman State this fall. “I am nervous, but I am more confident in my abilities. I would like to be a finalist this year, top 6. That is my goal.”
    Davis, who will be a senior this fall, did a lot of research to prepare her piece, “Warriors Don’t Cry.” It is about the Little Rock Nine and the desegregation of public schools. This is her second consecutive year to qualify. Last year, she finished 10th in dramatic interpretation.
    “I looked up what they went through and read a lot of interviews. I also had the chance to talk with Melba (Beals) who wrote the book, so that I could study her characteristics and really bring the emotion out,” she said. “I want to make it to the final 6 and get one of those big trophies. I think that is realistic because I am so determined.”
    Henning and Hoyle’s duo interpretation piece is “National Pastime,” which is the story of how Branch Rickey brought Jackie Robinson into major league baseball. This is Henning’s second year to qualify in duo interpretation.
    “I think our success this year is because of our performance chemistry with each other. It is our ability to disagree. Neither one of us will accept anything less than our best,” said Henning, who is attending Truman State this fall. “We always put our best into every performance every time.”
    Moore said his piece took an interesting turn this year after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. “The Velvet Rut” tells the story of a teacher who witnessed his students being killed during a school shooting. He said after the shootings at the Connecticut elementary school, he did research on how those teachers handled the aftermath to bring even more emotion into his piece.
    “I chose it at the beginning of the year before Sandy Hook happened. But that’s when (after Sandy Hook), I started doing better because I think I struck the judges' emotions. It is difficult because my character has so many emotions throughout the piece,” he said. “My goal is to get into the top 30. Semis might be stretching it, but I would like to make it to the to 30. I am excited now, but I feel like my nerves will be there when we get to the tournament.”

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