Lansing High School debate and forensics students performed well enough during the 2019-2020 school year for their school to be ranked in the top 100 by the National Speech & Debate Association.


"The kids are super excited about it," said Larissa Maranell, speech and debate coach at Lansing High School.


Maranell learned last week that the school’s speech and debate team ranked 97th out of more than 3,000 schools for the 2019-2020 school year.


Maranell said schools across the United States are members of National Speech & Debate Association, which she described as an honor society.


As students compete in debate and forensics activities, they earn points in the National Speech & Debate Association.


"The better they do, the more points they earn," Maranell said.


Lansing students did well enough during the 2019-2020 to make the top 100 ranking.


"This is the most prestigious membership award the Association can bestow upon a school," J. Scott Wunn, executive director of the National Speech & Debate Association, said in a letter to the principal of Lansing High School.


Lansing students achieved this ranking even though in-person instruction was halted during the spring semester due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Maranell said students missed out on several forensics tournaments during the spring semester.


"We didn’t get to have our state tournament at the end of the speech season," she said.


She said Lansing High School generally does well in the state tournament.


She said news of the top 100 ranking is a way to recognize students who may not have been able to achieve some of their goals for the 2019-2020 school year.


The Lansing High School debate and forensics team did well enough during the 2019-2020 school year to also earn membership in the National Speech & Debate Association’s Societe de 300.


In his letter to Lansing High School Principal Rob McKim, Wunn said membership in the Societe de 300 is a remarkable milestone "because it demonstrates outstanding commitment to teaching students essential life skills – including communication, research, listening, writing, and organization."


Maranell said maintaining membership in Societe de 300 is a goal of the debate and forensics team.


She said Lansing High School generally has about 60 students involved in debate and forensics.


The school currently is in its debate season.


"We’re debating online," she said. "It’s a little bit weird."


Despite this change resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Maranell said Lansing students have performed well thus far this semester in debate activities.


Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR