NORFOLK, Neb. -- A member of a debate team in Nebraska will be making a trip to Arizona for a national competition.

Tania Vitales Kadlec attends Norfolk High School, and has been on the Panthers debate team since her freshman year. Soon, she’ll be making a trip to Phoenix, Arizona to compete against debaters from across the United States.

She said all it took was one teachers feedback on her abilities to start debating.

“After I got my grade back, she said on the bottom, it was written with a smiley face, that I should go out for debate,” said Vitales Kadlec. “That really inspired me because I never had an adult reach out and say ‘you should do this’. “

Soon, Vitales Kadlec will graduate from high school and move on to Wayne State College. She added that her time with the Norfolk debate program was a special one.

“All of the years I’ve been on it, I’ve always met people regardless where they come from, that I absolutely love like family,” she said.

Twelve people from the state qualified for nationals and Vitales Kadlec was one of them. The moment she found out she qualified was an emotional one.

“I just started crying,” she said. “I didn’t want to cry, but I did. When we were told we could move and go, I just walk up to my coach, who’s been with me for five years, and I gave her a hug. Because I was just so proud that I could do that for her, and qualify for her. Because she means the world to me.”

When she gets down to the Grand Canyon State, Vitales Kadlec wants to show the country what Norfolk is all about.

“Going from Norfolk, Nebraska, this rural city, and going to this national tournament and representing them and our community and showing how amazing the school is, our community is, and the whole state of Nebraska,” she said.