Roosevelt debate student earns national award

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Roosevelt High School Senior Jazmyn Luckett is the winner of a national award. She is one of four from around the country to be nominated.

Roosevelt High School Seniors Jazmyn Luckett and Rylie Torguson have been in debate for four years, and there’s no arguing that they’ve grown a strong bond.

The debating duo: Luckett (left) & Torguson (right).

“We’ve been debating together during the school year and summers building a friendship and working on arguments together,” Luckett said.

The one thing that kept them apart was the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, this season has been virtual.

“Rylie debates at her house and I debate at my house which was difficult to adapt to at first because we usually debate side-by-side like this,” Luckett said.

Despite that, Torguson says this gives them the chance to perform at more national tournaments – like the Tournament of Champions. Roosevelt Debate Teacher Luke Cumbee says It’s the biggest national tournament for high school debaters. It was there where Luckett received the Julia Burke award.

“It’s a huge honor to receive this national recognition, but, at the same time, I’m not surprised they achieved it because they’ve surprised me so many times it’s not a surprise anymore,” Cumbee said.

“I honestly couldn’t be more proud. I’ve always kind of looked up to Jazmine in our partnership because of the amount of intellectual labor her arguments produce and how much work she puts into this activity,” Torguson said.

The award recognizes her for more than just hard work it also sees the influence she’s had on those around her.

A pandemic presentation.

“I definitely thought she was more deserving of this award when I found out. I was very excited,” Torguson said.

With this, she earns a $2,000-dollar scholarship for college and an extra $2,000 to be donated to a charity of her choosing. She’s donating to the Cheyenne River Youth Project.

“It’s the reservation where my family is from and they’re part of the reason I’ve been able to go to camp in the summers to get better at debate,” Luckett said.

​Both students plan to attend Wake Forest University in the fall on debate scholarships.

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