Above: Devon Mann and Gunnar Sandwith.

Orcas debaters take first and second place

Orcas Island High School debaters took first and second place during a Nov. 11 and 12 tournament in Snohomish.

“It’s particularly sweet for me that they got first and second place together,” said debate coach Joan Pedrick. “We’ve kind of been on this road together.”

In what is known as a Lincoln-Douglas debate, Devon Mann and Gunnar Sandwith debated against each other in the final round of the tournament, with Mann overtaking Sandwith for first place. Mann’s win earned her a place in the state tournament in March.

Mann and Sandwith, both seniors, developed the high school’s debate team formed two years ago, asking Pedrick to be coach. The team is not funded in any way by the school and relies heavily on volunteers and donations.

“I’m hoping the program has become self-sustaining by next year,” said Pedrick. “I’m going to do what I can to keep the program going.”

Pedrick said that the Orcas Island Community Foundation and Orcas Island Education Foundation have both been integral to the success of the team.

“I would like to say thanking you to everyone who contributed to the grant proposals,” said Pedrick. “That’s the only way we can travel is by private donation.”