HISD middle school seeks third straight national debate title

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Here’s a great story from Jason Spencer earlier this week about HISD’s Lanier Middle School:

The march of shorts-wearing, briefcase-toting students to and from Lanier Middle School this time each year has become an annual rite of summer.

Inside the Montrose-area school that draws some of Houston’s most academically gifted children, 45 students are putting the finishing touches on their speeches and debate arguments in the hopes of winning a third straight National Junior Forensic League title in San Antonio this weekend.

“These guys work so hard in the summer,” debate coach Jim Henley said earlier this week in Lanier’s auditorium. “They haven’t lost since 2002. They’ve beaten every public and private school team.”


In the eight years he’s led Lanier’s speech and debate squad, Henley has turned the team into a powerhouse program that draws some of the best talent in the nation’s seventh-largest school district.

“It is an advantage,” Henley said. “Lanier is such a sought-after school.”

Students will board two San Antonio-bound buses Thursday on their way to compete in debate events such as Lincoln-Douglas, public forum, cross examination and parliamentary debate. Speech competitors will interpret poetry, prose and other forms of literature.

Those are middle school students! That’s terrific.

And on HISD’s website is a story of debating success for a couple of Scarborough High School students:

Scarborough’s team became the only one from an HISD high school ever to have students ranked in the top four in individual forensic events at both the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) Grand Nationals held May 28 and 29 in Milwaukee and the National Forensic League (NFL) Speech Tournament held June 12

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.