Each year the students in the
journalism program at PHS finish the course by writing press releases. The
class partners with the Princeton Herald to publish the stories. These are also
featured on the district website under Latest Headlines. This article is
written by Molly Halupka.
The Princeton High School
debate team is going back to nationals for the 17th consecutive year. The
students will travel to Birmingham, Ala., June 18-23 to compete through the
National Speech and Debate Association, the largest interscholastic speech and
debate organization serving middle, high school and college students in the
“I was excited to find out
we qualified for nationals,” said recent PHS grad Michael J. Roets Jr., who was
also a state champion speech student this year. “It was my senior year, and I
would have been upset if I didn't qualify.”
Roets will be joined at
nationals by incoming junior Chris Malhas and incoming seniors Ron Long and
Khalil Miles, who are all competing in different events.
compete in LD debate, and Malhas will compete in World School debate, with
contestants competing against students from other countries. Both Long and
Miles will be in speaking events – Long in U.S. extemp and Miles in oral
“I was nervous, because it
was my first time competing at this level,” Malhas said of qualifying for
According to the national
qualifiers, the experience the students receive through the speech and debate
program is not just used in the competition but in the classroom, where they
apply their knowledge from competing to benefit their everyday lives.
“It has made me more
confident in interviews and presentations,” Roets said.
The students in debate say
they have worked hard and sacrificed their personal time to study and work
toward this achievement.
The debate kids joined the
program for a variety of reasons, including peer pressure to join.
“I competed in a lot of
academic events, but I always hung out with a lot of the debaters so I decided
to join,” Malhas said.
usually comes with a degree of nervousness, these debaters say they are confident
going into competition.
“I’m not nervous going
into these contests because I have been to a lot of competitions so it's really
become natural,” said Roets, who has earned numerous scholarships for his
speech and debate talents and was recruited by a top liberal arts school,
In addition to the
students, debate coach Jimmy Smith is being recognized by the National Speech
and Debate Association for the fourth time with the Distinguished Service
Award. Since the honor society was created in 1925, Smith is one of only 22
coaches from thousands to earn this remarkable honor.
“Jimmy is a leader in the
speech and debate community in the state of Texas and across the country,” said
J. Scott Wunn, executive director. “His achievement of 170 citations reflects
an outstanding commitment to the service of others.
The founder of the National
Speech and Debate Association, formerly the National Forensic League, initiated
the Distinguished Service Award in 1925 to recognize coaches who serve the
association by sponsoring new chapters, serving as a district or national
officer, hosting or managing tournaments and promoting speech and debate
“Service is one of the
tenets of our Honor Code,” Wunn said. “By choosing to devote his talents to
others, Jimmy truly demonstrates the spirit of our organization at its finest.”