Speech and Debate State QualifiersShowcase their Skills


Courtesy of Cynthia Ge

Christine Nguyen, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Last month, the West High Speech and Debate team participated in different categories at the Individual Event state qualifiers. As a result, a total of fourteen students qualified for state in all of the events. The debate events consisted of Parliamentary, Policy, Public Forum, and Congress. There were also eleven speech events that were either original or based off of interpretation. For each event, the top three students out of nearly fifty competitors have a chance to compete at the state level, providing them with more opportunities and greater challenges.

  In order to showcase their improvement and hard work, the competitors presented their speeches in front of a large audience during workshop on Wednesday, April 24th and Thursday, April 25th.

  The event was hosted by Krischan Jung (11), who has been on the debate team for three years. He’s greatly enjoyed his time on debate, stating, “Parliamentary Debate [is an event] where you receive a topic twenty minutes beforehand and have to debate it. It’s my personal favorite because of the spontaneity involved.”

  The student speakers addressed pressing issues and voiced inspirational stories in a variety of different ways. For example, they performed impromptus, where a contestant is given two minutes to carry out a five minute speech, and oratorical interpretations, which is a ten minute performance of someone else’s speech using a different approach.

  Inspired by Cleo Wade’s speech and the current message it conveyed, Julia Traub (11) spoke of her initial difficulty with her original interpretation piece, stating, “I… have a very different style of speaking from Cleo Wade so that’s one of the biggest differences…She speaks very slowly throughout the whole speech whereas I tend to have more variance in speed, and this makes the way the speech sounds very different…I’m [also] standing very close to the audience [and] I can make eye contact with specific people, while she doesn’t do that as much because she is on a stage.”

  The qualifiers that performed on Wednesday consisted of: Ulia Zaman (11) with an Original Advocacy piece on organ trafficking, Cynthia Ge (11) and Andrea Lai (11) with a Duo Interpretation piece on bullying and kindness, and Uzair Pasta (11) with an Impromptu piece comparing life to football. Thursday’s presenters consisted of: Jana Abulaban (9) with an Original Prose and Poetry piece on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Julia Traub (11) with an Oratorical Interpretation of Cleo Wade’s “Want to change the world? Start by being brave enough to care”, and Savannah Starr (11) with an Impromptu on comfort.

  Daibik Chakraborty (12) also served as one of the hosts on Thursday. The qualifiers prepared by doing guided practices throughout the year and receiving coaching from Mrs. Hastings and Mr. Ronne. Jana Abulaban (9), who experienced this process, expressed, “It’s incredible and shocking. I with the help of my teammates, captains, and coaches, spent about three months writing and editing this speech. Not that I ever stopped after that, I have kept editing things on speech. For my performance, it’s been getting better and better every time I perform it.  Honestly, I’ve never thought that my performance and my whole speech would ever be as great as it is today. This whole process is definitely trying, but after seeing the results, I say it is worthy.”

  Other schools that have qualified for state include South High, Palos Verdes Peninsula High, Archer High, and Narbonne High. The state tournament will be held at California State University, Long Beach from May 3rd to May 5th.