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THS students compete in national debate tourney
Trevethan talks his way into top 30
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THS students Jonas Trevethan, Mara Patino and Liam Frolund joined nearly 3,000 participants from across the country at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. this week. - photo by Photo Contributed

Turlock High School junior Jonas Trevethan has lived and breathed debate for years, attending speech competitions across the state to perfect his skills.

His hard work paid off Thursday when he ranked in the top 30 in the National Extemporaneous category at the Forensic League's National Speech and Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Ala.

“Placing in the top 30 wasn’t easy,” said Trevethan. “I started preparing for the competition a month before school ended and also participated in other debates during the year. I did a lot of extensive research by gathering political information through magazines, digital sources and books.”

Turlock High students Liam Frolund and Mara Patino joined Trevethan for a full week at the national competition, along with 3,000 participants from across the country. Students were given a topic and 30 minutes to prepare for their speeches. Participants were also encouraged to use magazines and books as citing sources and then given seven minutes to deliver their speeches.

“I am really proud at what our students did during the competition,” said THS speech and debate coach Michele VanNieuwenhuyzen. “To bring two freshmen students to compete at a national level is already an accomplishment. This is the second year Jonas has participated in this competition and received a similar ranking. Our students keep on doing better every year.”

Trevethan is no stranger when it comes to competitions or winning. He took first place at an invitational event at the University of the Pacific and was a finalist at a Stanford University competition. He is currently ranked number one in the state of California for the most points for speech and debate.

“Winning is great,” said Trevethan. “Not only am I having a blast doing it, but it’s helping me towards my future. Public speaking has helped me understand what is going on in current politics and it also gives me knowledge in a lot of school areas and subjects. I definitely want to continue speech and debate in college and work in law as a career.”