Speech and Debate State Qualifier Tournament


Courtesy of West High Speech and Debate

Ashley Kim, Editor-in-Chief

 On March 1st and 2nd, the West High Speech and Debate team competed in the Individual Event state qualifiers.  If qualified, the tournament winners have the opportunity to compete at the state level, offering new opportunities and a more intense level of competition.  West’s team got ten students to the state level with ten alternates, also winning the sweepstakes award.

  The qualifier started on Friday, March 1st, where students assembled at Narbonne High School after school. The competition continued the next morning and the rest of Saturday. Some of the results were disappointing and others were pleasantly surprising.

  Lindsey Kim (11), a Speech and Debate student who competed and became third alternate, commented, “I’ve been in Speech and Debate for three years, and this is one of the years where I think I can realistically try to qualify for state. So it goes without saying that I’m disappointed that I didn’t qualify in the Individual Event.  But at the same time, I have to concentrate fully on Congress.”

  Congress is another type of event for speech and debate, in which members debate bills.  This weekend’s qualifier was an I.E, in which competitors perform speech-type events, such as interpretations, original pieces, and impromptu speeches.  Students prepare throughout the entire year, dedicated to perfecting their speeches before the state qualifiers, where year long dedication and hard work culminates.

   Lastly, Debate is another type of event that the team competes in.  Some popular formats are Lincoln Douglas, a one-on-one debate, as well as Parliamentary, a team debate event.Other formats include Policy and Public Forum.

  Shruti Penumarti (9), a participant who ended as a second alternate, said, “You don’t know what kind of judge you’re going to get. My mom didn’t know what she was doing, so it is very opinionated.  If you [the judge] go in there and you already have the mindset that someone’s going to win, it’s not fair.”

  Despite disappointment, the team is determined to push through.  Throughout the next month, they will attend other qualifiers for different events.