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Utah students who didn't know much about energy production and consumption were experts by the time they had debated the issue in a competition sponsored by the Utah Department of Natural Resources and its Energy Office.

"Now I understand the importance of energy and the role it has in our future," said Jennifer Lapsley, who, with her partner, Michelle Hunter, won first place in the middle school division. They argued in the affirmative on the topic, "Be it resolved that the state of Utah should convert from predominant use of non-renewable energy to predominant use of renewable energy."The pair represented West High School's Extended Learning Program.

Other first-place winners were Kathryn Paxman and Erica Ryberg of Clayton Intermediate School; Cory Ellis and Helen Michael of Lowell Elementary School; and Dustin Matsumori and Jimmy Nielson of Parkside Elementary School. They had earlier been winners in preliminary competitions in local school districts.

Debate sponsors besides the state energy agencies were Mountain Fuel, National Energy Foundation, Murray City Power and the Salt Lake, Granite and Jordan school districts.