Speech and Debate members prepare for final tournament

Rancho High School hosts the event


Grinesa Bajrami

As their first inaugural season comes to an end, Speech and Debate members are finishing their novice season before transitioning into junior varsity and varsity after their last tournament at Rancho High School on Dec. 7 and 8. 

“The speech and debate season thus far has been fantastic and productive,” Speech and Debate adviser Henry Castillo said. “We have seen many students in their first year of competition succeed and excel.  At least one member has placed at each competition, which is amazing since this is our first year.”

In preparation for their final novice tournament, members like freshman Ahmed Ahmed met with junior Ignacio Parra Parra and senior Britny Mikhaiel to practice using mock-debates. 

“After winning first place in the last tournament I participated in, I have gained self-confidence and I am certain I will break again this time,” Ahmed said. “I am now certain that I am a strong competitor and I am prepared to win this debate, as well. It was all a learning process.”

After their last tournament, all members will move up to the junior varsity or varsity level. In the spring semester speech members will have to move up to varsity and debate members will be allowed to choose which one they want to compete in.

“I am prepared to enter the junior varsity category in spring because it should be relatively easy since I’ll be debating the same people from the novice category,” Shelley said. “I found out I can compete in varsity my senior year and I’m excited to compete. I know people in [the] varsity public forum [category], so I am most excited to debate people I used to be close to.”

To maintain their status in Speech and Debate, members must participate in the fall and spring semesters or they will be permanently removed from the club. After this fall semester, members will only compete in junior varsity and varsity levels, where they will have approximately five competitions per season.

“[As my first year as adviser] I have learned that I need to place a lot more responsibility and trust into my captains and board members because I can’t do everything,” Castillo said. “That’s one thing I’ve learned is that because then I focus on quantity over quality with my team members. I need put a lot of training into my students so they can help other students.”

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