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US Speech And Debate Squad Ranked 15th In Country
Andrew Mouzin

The upper school speech and debate team is now ranked 15th in the country–its highest ranking ever! 

"Our ranking is a reflection of the incredible focus on development that goes into our program every day from a dedicated staff of coaches: Bryson Kenworthy in charge of our forensics program; Kathryn Lipka who assists with our national circuit policy debaters; and Phillip Laddin ’13 who coaches our Mock Trial team," speech and debate team head coach Justin Smith said. "We have students beginning their careers and giving every effort at every tournament, and those approaching the end of their careers focusing on excellence and reflecting on the tradition of PHS speech and debate. I am enormously proud of all of them and grateful to lead this squad!"

The team recently assisted Raytown South High School in hosting of a tournament, and competed in tournaments at Rockhurst and Ray-Pec High Schools. Great job!

Raytown South/Pembroke Hill Novice Six Round Debate Tournament

Policy Debate

  • First Place: Ava Pluard and Kiki Wood
  • Second Place: Theodore Casey and Yelisey Romanov 
  • Fourth Place: Nala Chandramohan and Luke Ryan 
  • Fifth Place: Jayden Ghuman and Lela Pereira 
  • Eighth Place: Sean Hong and Finnegan Terrill 

Lincoln Douglas Debate

  • Fifth Place: Elsa Wright 
  • Sixth Place: Atticus Brown
  • Ninth Place: Johnny Honnold 

Public Forum Debate

  • Fifth Place: Anna McDonald and Ellesmere Torrance
  • Seventh Place: Graham Henry and Ben Wolf
  • Eighth Place: Grace Falk and Eliza Wysong
  • Ninth Place: Anisha Priya and Anjali Priya 

Rockhurst (Novice) and Ray-Pec JV/Varsity Tournament

  • First Place - Overall Sweepstakes Rockhurst Novice Tournament
  • First Place - Debate Sweepstakes Rockhurst Novice Tournament
  • Third Place - Individual Events Sweepstakes Rockhurst Novice Tournament

Tournament Champion

  • Policy Debate (Novice): Jayden Ghuman, Skalav Halili, Sean Hong, Ben Palmet, Lela Pereira, Finnegan Terrill
  • Public Forum Debate (Novice): Graham Henry and Ben Wolf 
  • Oratory: Anna McDonald (Novice), Selina Tahirkheli (Varsity)
  • Informative: Graham Henry (Novice), Rita Abou Jawde (Varsity)

Tournament Runner-Up

  • Informative Speaking (Novice): Eliza Wysong


  • Public Forum Debate (Novice): Ellesmere Torrance and Anna McDonald - third place
  • Lincoln Douglas Debate (Novice): Johnny Honnold and Elsa Wright - third place
  • United States Extemporaneous Speaking (Varsity): Eli Toney - seventh place
  • Oratory (Novice): Jayden Ghuman - fourth place, Adam Shaw - fifth place 
  • Congress (Varsity): Cathy Martin- sixth place, Piper Toney - seventh place   
  • Informative Speaking: Ellesmere Torrance - third place (Novice), Nura Henok - fourth place (Varsity)
  • Humorous Interpretation (Novice): Zayne Anderson - fourth place


  • United States Extemporaneous Speaking (Novice): Sean Hong and Ben Wolf 
  • International Extemporaneous Speaking (Novice): Atticus Brown and Finnegan Terrill
  • Informative Speaking (Novice): Skalav Halili,  Ben Palmet, Isabella Rivera and Yelisey Romanov
  • Storytelling (Novice): Ben Wolf