The Dickinson High School Student Congress team is celebrating its success for having placed second during the NDHSAA-sponsored State Student Congress Nov. 1-2 at the State Capitol in Bismarck.

Team placements out of 18 teams: Fargo North, first;  Dickinson, second, West Fargo Sheyenne, third; Fargo Davies, fourth and  Fargo Shanley, fifth.

In addition, DHS Coach Nathan Amberg was named 2018 “Student Congress Coach of the Year.” His recent team placements include: 2016, third place at state; 2017, fifth place at state, and now in 2018, second at state.

This was the DHS team’s best performance since 1988.  In the 1970s and ’80s, Dickinson won state seven times -- five times in a row from 1983-87. Dickinson coach Donna Fleming was the coach of  the year in 1987 -- the last time a Dickinson coach received the honor.


In addition to the team trophy, DHS Student Congress individual awards are as follows:

State Presiding Officers

House I,  DHS Senior Hillary Moberg

House III,  DHS Junior Bonnie Thompson

House VI, Dickinson Middle School 7th grader, Catelyn Devero.

A presiding officer is a student elected by their peers to be in charge of the House.

“We consider this the equivalent of being a state champion,” Amberg said.


DHS team competitors who also placed were:

House V,  DMS 8th Grader Gus Zettel placed second..

House VI,  DMS 7th Grader Kennedy Kouba placed seventh.

House IV,  DHS Sophomore Caroline Moe placed fifth.

House III,  DHS Freshman Dante Domine placed third.

House II, DHS Sophomore Cassidy Hughes placed sixth.

“This is the first group of middle school students that have made the state team and every one of them did very well,” Amberg said. “Several speakers were a point away from placing or a speech away from placing top 3.”


The Trinity team individual placements included:

House II, Adelyn Emter, Dickinson Trinity, first.

House V, Alexandra Kostelecky, Dickinson Trinity, seventh.

House VI, Ian Dorval, Dickinson Trinity, fifth.


Other regional competitors who placed included:

Presiding Officer,  House II, Eden Bartz, Richardton-Taylor.

Presiding Officer, House V, Robert Bartz, Richardton-Taylor.

House II, Emily Palmer, Richardton-Taylor, sixth.

House III, Jack Johnson, Richardton-Taylor, third.

House IV, Truman Hamburger, Richardton-Taylor, second.


National Qualifier

The North Dakota Roughrider National Speech and Debate Association-Student Congress National Qualifier was held at the Baymont in Mandan, Nov. 2-3.

“Dickinson High School had 10 students competing at the qualifier, and six did well enough to compete in the final sessions,” Amberg said.

When the results were tabulated, Kyler Smith was named an alternate in the Senate, and Madison Barndt is a qualifier in the House. Madison is the first student from Dickinson to ever qualify to nationals in Student Congress.

Barndt credits the team’s success to a lot of hard work and a sense of family.

“We were so successful at community we built together. I was captain this year -- it’s really an honor because I got to lead my team in ways I never had before,” she said.

Student Congress is her favorite activity.

“I like debating relevant topics -- actually political topics,” she said, adding, “My ultimate goal is to be a teacher and participate in local politics.”


National tournament

The national tournament will be held in Dallas, Texas, June 17-21. Madison will be competing that entire week.

“The tournament brings together Student Congress, Speech and Debate competitors from around the world,” Amberg said.

The cost to attend the tournament is about $1,300 per student, including traveland a week of hotel stay. Anyone interested in making a donation to help with Student Congress and the Speech Team attending nationals may contact Nathan Amberg at

“The speech and Congress teams are already working to fundraise money for the national competition,” Amberg said. “Right now, we will likely have two students competing at nationals, but there could very likely be more after the speech qualifier on April 14-16. We have a strong team moving into the speech season and are expecting a strong showing at state and the national qualifier.”



DHS students who competed at state Student Congress:

Senate: Kyler Smith, Madison Barndt, Ethan Haynes.

House I: Natalie Lopez, HIllary Moberg, Anthony Esmenjaud.

House 2: Cassidy Hughes, Ele Penny, Connor Devero.

House 3: Anwyn Robinson, Bonnie Thompson.

House 4: Caroline Moe, Leah Neumann.

House 5: Gus Zettel, Elyse Weber.

House 6: Catelyn Devero, Kennedy Kouba.


Trinity students who competed at state Student Congress:

House 2: Adelyn Emter, Caileigh O’Dwyer.

House 3: Erik Schwindt.

House 4: Hazel Emter, Jack Olsen.

House 5: Abby Linker, Lexi Kostelecky.

House 6:  Hunter Peterson, Ian Dorval.