SCHOOL NOTEBOOK | MHS forensics, orchestra teams celebrate recent national success

·3 min read

Jul. 3—The Manhattan High Forensics team qualified eight students to the national forensics tournament last month.

The National Speech and Debate Association's National Tournament took place in the third week of June.

MHS freshman Anvesha Sharda placed in Congressional Debate and was recognized as a national semifinalist. She is among the top 50 finishers in the country, and one of only two freshmen to make it to the semi-final round.

Allina Dougherty made the triple octo-final round in World School Debate, placing in the top 64 in the nation.

Seven other MHS students qualified:

— Nicole Savage: Humorous Interpretation

— Sam Delong: Program of Oral Interpretation

— Jonah Dorsett: Dramatic Interpretation

— JB Brock: Lincoln Douglas Debate

— Jordyn West: World School Debate

— Helinna Bontrager: World School Debate

Many of the same students qualified at the Kansas High School Activities Association's state tournament on April 30-May 1:

— JB Brock (Lincoln Douglas Debate and Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking)

— Eszter Chikan (Original Oratory — 3rd place)

— Allie Cloyd (Program of Oral Interpretation — 5th place)

— Sam Delong (Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking — 4th place; and Program of Oral Interpretation — 6th place)

— Jonah Dorsett (Dramatic Interpretation — semifinalist)

— Allina Dougherty (Original Oratory)

— Lasirra Hines (Original Oratory — semifinalist)

— Drew Hutchinson (Humorous Interp)

— KJ Jones (Original Oratory)

— Megan Long (Original Oratory)

— Jack McCornack (Lincoln Douglas Debate)

— Nicole Savage (Impromptu Speaking — semifinalist)

— Anvesha Sharda (International Extemporaneous Speaking)

— Ryan Ward (Humorous Interpretation — semifinalist)

— Kate Ward (Program of Oral Interpretation)

MHS Debate/Forensics head coach Mac Phrommany said the high school's debate and forensics team saw a lot of turnover in the head coaching position, with four different coaches over the past seven years. Phrommany started as the program's head coach three years ago, and he said while the program "has always had standout individuals, I will humbly note, we haven't had success with such a range of students until this year."

"From our first-year competitors to our varsity level students, from our actors to our public speakers and debaters, every niche of Debate and Forensics on this team has found some level of competitive success," Phrommany said.

Manhattan High's first head debate and forensics coach, Roger Brannan, is in the Kansas Speech Communication Association Hall of Fame and ran the program for about 40 years. Phrommany said he is proud to call Brannan his mentor. He said previous coach Shawn Rafferty also was "incredibly successful" at the state and national level.

MHS orchestras win national awards

The Manhattan High School Chamber Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, and Symphonic Orchestra won national awards for virtual performances this spring, USD 383 announced Friday.

In March, the MHS Chamber Orchestra won the Gold 1st Place award at the 2021 WorldStrides Virtual Festival in the string orchestra/in-person recording category. In April, the high school symphonic orchestra took Silver 3rd Place, and the concert orchestra took Silver 2nd Place in the same category.

Retired USD 383 teacher Nate McClendon directed all three ensembles. In a statement, McClendon said it was really important for the orchestra members "to not let the pandemic limit who we are and what we do."

"This virtual festival was the bit of 'normalcy' we needed," McClendon said. "The students, like always, practiced hard and performed at the level we normally do."

WorldStrides hosts performing arts competitions and festivals across the U.S. annually. Due to COVID-19, the organization hosted virtual competitions during the 2020-21 academic year.

McClendon said one of the clinicians who works with youth orchestra around the world complimented the MHS student orchestras, saying "we are on par with the best orchestras not only in the nation, but in the world."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting