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2 Shawnee Mission South students won the biggest debate competition in the country

Two girls pose inside an office. They are smiling and looking at the camera.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Clare Bradley, left, and Brooklynn Hato (right) just graduated from Shawnee Mission South High School, and they won the 2023 Policy Debate competition at the National Speech and Debate Tournament.

Recent graduates Brooklynn Hato and Clare Bradley took home the title of "High School National Champions" at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Mesa, Arizona, last month.

Recent Shawnee Mission South High School graduates Clare Bradley and Brooklynn Hato are national debate champions.

They came away from the National Speech & Debate Association’s 2023 tournament in Mesa, Arizona, as "High School Champions" in the Policy Debate category. Theirs was the first debate national title in Shawnee Mission South's history.

Their debate category focused on the United States’ security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“Being in front of thousands of people, it's a very big deal," Hato said. "Not only to be able to show why you're able to be on that stage, but also to have people partake in that moment with you."

Hato and Bradley plan to continue their debate careers on the collegiate level — Hato at the University of Kansas and Bradley at the University of Southern California.

  • Brooklynn Hato, class of 2023 at Shawnee Mission South High School
  • Clare Bradley, class of 2023 at Shawnee Mission South High School
  • Carolyn Cook, director of speech and debate at Shawnee Mission South High School
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