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​Seniors Rodolfo Dominguez and Elijah Larson will represent New Mexico at the National Speech and Debate Tournament

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FARMINGTON — A pair of Farmington High School students will compete at a national speech and debate tournament this summer after their team won a number of awards at the state tournament earlier this year.

​Seniors Rodolfo Dominguez and Elijah Larson will represent New Mexico at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in June in Salt Lake City, Utah.

They are among 38 students from the state who will participate in the tournament after qualifying at the New Mexico Speech and Debate Association State Tournament on Feb. 25-27 at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces.

Both students won awards at the state tournament. 

Dominguez won the "Outstanding Speaker in Debate" award by scoring the more speaker points than any other debater.

“It leaves me speechless sometimes knowing that I’m finishing really strong for my senior year,” Dominguez said. “Debate has changed my life.”

Larson was awarded the "James Akin Student of the Year" award after he was nominated by speech and debate teacher Melissa Brown.

“When I heard my name (called), I started bawling,” Larson said.

Teachers nominate students who display humility, compassion, leadership and humbleness for the award, Brown said.

“Elijah was a perfect fit,” Brown said. “I couldn’t find anybody else that embodies those qualities.”

At the state tournament, the Farmington High team was also honored as one of five Debate Schools of Honor. The team also received a "Leading Chapter"  award from the National Speech and Debate Association, and Brown received the state "Debate Coach of the Year" award.

Brown said she was happy to see the hard work the students put into preparing for the state tournament recognized.

“It humbled me to know all their hard work was recognized,” she said.

At the national tournament, Dominguez and Larson will compete in the Worlds School debate.

They are part of a team that also includes Chloe Hecht and Jessie Linder from East Mountain High School in Sandia Park and Cade Mallett from Los Alamos High School.

Larson said the team will receive the topic it will debate about two weeks before the tournament and will then work together to research the topic.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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