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LOJ sweeps debate tournament

Sailors pocket scads of awards at competition between five middle schools at Cleveland High

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Students and coaches of the LOJ Debate Team are (bottom row from left) Ryan Zhang, Lena Wehn, Lance Pancoast, Andrew Johnson and Noah Slobodin; (middle row from left) Ben Weber, Dan Michtom, Julia Lininger-White, Doris Yang, Amy Wang, Scott Gevurtz and coach and state Rep. Ann Lininger; (top row from left) Makenna Markman, Michael Murray, Amy Park, Chris Sun, Jeffrey Sun, Grace Goverman, Sonja Bergstrom, Niki Monsef and Head Coach and teacher Aletia Cochran.More than a dozen Lake Oswego Junior High students made it to the semifinals or placed during a debate tournament featuring five middle schools on Nov. 10 in Portland.

The student-run Super Grooviest Middle School Tournament Ever at Cleveland High School included 70 students from Oregon and Washington, included 19 LOJ Sailors. Topics at the event included whether physical education should be a required course in Oregon high schools, whether the state should enact stricter gun safety rules in response to violence at Roseburg’s Umpqua Community College and whether childhood or adulthood are more important.

The LOJ team, now in its fourth year, “demonstrated skill, courage, and class,” said state Rep. Ann Lininger, whose daughter competed in the event. Lininger and LOJ teacher Aletia Cochran created the team and LOJ’s own tournament, which this school year will be in spring/late winter 2016. Lakeridge Junior High does not have a debate club and so did not compete.

Patrick Gonzales, Speech and Debate coach of the Cleveland Cannibals, organized the tournament. His team and members of Lincoln High School's Speech and Debate team judged the middle schoolers.

The LOJ winners are:

• Public Forum Debate: Amy Wang, Doris Yang and Julia Lininger-White, first place; Jeffrey Sun, Andrew Johnson and Michael Murray, second place.

• Impromptu: Ben Weber, first place; Lance Pancoast, second place; Michael Murray, third place; Niki Monsef and Amy Park, semifinalists.

• Prose Reading: Lena Wehn, first place; Sonja Bergstrom, second place; Amy Park, third place; Grace Goverman, semifinalist.

• Editorial Commentary: Julia Lininger-White, second place; Grace Goverman, third place.

• Parliamentary Debate: semi-finalists, Niki Monsef and Sonja Bergstrom and Lance Pancoast and Noah Slobodin, semifinalists.

Contact Jillian Daley at 503-636-1281 ext. 109 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..