State Champs!

Davis Smith and Joseph McDonald

POLSON’S JOSEPH McDonald, right, and Davis Smith, celebrate their win Saturday in the Public Forum category at the Montana Class A State Speech and Drama Tournament at Whitefish High School. Their question was ‘Should the U.S. end economic sanctions on Venezuela?’ The duo’s win was their seventh straight. McDonald said he will be attending Stanford University and majoring in computer sciences. Davis said he will attend Columbia University in New York City. He will major in classical science. (Chris Peterson/ Hungry Horse News)

McDonald, Smith lead Polson at state speech


Lake County Leader

A year ago, Polson seniors Davis Smith and Joseph McDonald had relatively successful performances at the Montana Class A State Speech, Debate and Drama Championships.

But they weren’t champions.

Saturday in Whitefish, the senior duo performed well enough to be judged the best in Montana in the Public Forum Debate category.

Smith and McDonald didn’t team up until this season. Last year, Smith competed in Lincoln Douglas Debate while McDonald was in Public Forum.

Smith was seventh in the Western Division in Lincoln Douglas in 2019 and second at the state meet.

McDonald was eighth in the West in Public Forum Debate with then teammate Hali Tyler and sixth at state.

Friday, before they began their competition, Davis and McDonald said they certainly wanted to win, but their main goal was to do their best.

The tandem entered state on a six-match winning streak and many had them pegged as the favorite for the Public Forum title.

Their resolution was “Should the U.S. end economic sanctions on Venezuela?”

“The meets are hard and long, but very rewarding,” McDonald said.

Davis, the 2019 Homecoming King at Polson, said he will be attending Columbia University in New York City this fall.

He plans to major in Classical Science.

For McDonald, he is Stanford-bound. He is considering majoring in Computer Science.

Davis, also the Polson student body President, was lauded earlier this fall with the first “Today’s Achievers, Tomorrow’s Leaders” award, presented by Kalispell Regional Healthcare and the Lake County Leader.

Both competitors had family members compete in Speech and Debate.

For Smith, his older brother competed while McDonald’s mother was a past competitor.

McDonald, the son of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes spokesman Rob McDonald, also achieved acclaim for his Veterans of Foreign Wars state-winning essay that he wrote recently.

The essay, “What Makes America Great,” was a winner locally at the Ronan VFW Post 5652, then for District 1.

The win at the state level makes him eligible for a national VFW $30,000 scholarship.

Led by Smith and McDonald, Polson placed fifth as a team with 55 points.

Other top performers for Polson were Violet Anderson, who placed fifth in Impromptu and Hillary Lamphere, who was eighth in Dramatic Interpretation.