JACKSON TWP.  more than 30 Jackson High School students in speech and debate have advanced to state and national tournaments. Thirty-one students will compete in the Ohio Speech and Debate Association (OSDA) tournament the first weekend in March in Toledo.

Four students have qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) that takes place in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in June. This isn’t the first time Jackson students have moved on to the state and national level competitions.

Speech and debate coach Todd Michael said Jackson won at the OSDA tournament last year and in 2010 and 2012. The district has also placed nationally.

"We had a runner up in the National competition in the Lincoln-Douglas debate in 2012," Michael said. "It’s difficult to win at the national level because the students debate the top kids from around the country. Each student competes in 12 to 13 rounds that are 45 minutes each. They are exhausted by the time they get finished."

Topics included in competition this year include:

- Lincoln-Douglas Debate – 2018 January/February Topic

Resolved: Plea bargaining ought to be abolished in the United States criminal justice system.

- Public Forum Debate – 2018 February Topic Area: Tax Reform

Resolved: The United States should abolish the capital gains tax.

- Policy Debate – 2017-2018 Topic

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.

- Policy Debate – 2017-2018 Topic

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.

- Lincoln-Douglas Debate – 2018 March/April Topic

Resolved: The United States ought to provide a universal basic income.

- Public Forum Debate – 2018 March Topic Area: Separation of Powers

Resolved: On balance, the current Authorization for Use of Military Force gives too much power to the president.

"Students in the speech and debate competitions routinely amaze me. They are talented and work hard. Anyone who might be worried about today’s youth should see the kids who compete in the debates. I coach them every day and every day they amaze me even more," Michael said.

Along with Jackson Local, there are a number of other schools in the county competing including Central Catholic with eight students and Lake Local with four students competing at the OSDA tournament.