Speech and Debate Masters


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The YLHS Speech and Debate program made a great showing in the most recent tournament.

Isaiah Seo, Photojournalist

On October 15 and 16, the YLHS Speech and Debate program sent twenty-one students to compete in a tournament at Cal State Fullerton.  The students participated in both the open and novice tournaments in several different categories, including Congress, Oratorical Interpretation, Humorist Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Persuasion, Dramatic Interpretation, Impromptu, and Presiding Officer of Congress.

Speech and debate is extremely formal.  All participants were required to wear very formal clothes; they dressed in business attire with suits and slacks.  The competition itself is also extremely strict; all the participants had to be politically correct and polite in their speech and manner.  The tournament went on all day Saturday and Sunday, and many of the competitors spent about 24 hours total at the tournament.

The most popular event among YLHS students is Congress.  Nine students from Yorba Linda participated in this event, four in open and five in novice, and several of them performed extremely well.  The Congress portion of the tournament consisted of three preliminary rounds, the semi-finals, and the finals.  Every participant went through the first three rounds, each of which was scored by a single judge.  After the first rounds, each competitor’s scores were compiled and the top ones were sent through to the semifinals.  Finally, the top fourteen students from the semis competed in the finals.

Some of the topics that the students debated in Congress included drought control, global warming, Guantanamo Bay, Mexico-U.S. border wall, and others.  Students from YLHS made excellent arguments as Ryan Lowery made it to the semifinals of novice, AJ Song and Nate Yi placed 8th and 5th in the novice finals, respectively, and Brooke Gagnon made it to the finals of the open level.

Many of the competitors from Yorba Linda had a lot of fun during the tournament.  Ryan Lowery (10) had a great experience, saying that

“over the course of the CSUF Speech and Debate tournament, [his] knowledge of all the different events and competitions expanded greatly and [he] hopes to increase this even further in [his] future competitions.”

AJ Song (10), echoing Ryan’s sentiments, commented,

“After spending 24 hours at Cal State Fullerton, overall I had a great time.  Each and every second of the 86,400 seconds was worth the time and effort that I put into the tournament.”

 Blake Han (10), another YLHS competitor, said,

“The CSUF Speech and Debate tournament was really fun.  I initially felt nervous about speaking in front of so many people, but I soon found it to be really enjoyable.  However, one disappointment was when I didn’t break to the semifinals round.  Turns out one of my speeches was accidentally not scored.  Even so, it was a great experience and would do it again any day.  Many YLHS students did really well representing our school and we are all super proud of them!  I feel that taking the class is really important because it develops important skills necessary for life, including speaking and building confidence.  Looking forward to the next tournament!”

Speech and debate is an excellent extracurricular activity, and the Mustang program is great.  Students really enjoy participating in tournaments and they learn important life skills through the class.  YLHS is breeding a group of speech and debate masters.