By Joyce LEE, intern
On Feb. 21, the speech and debate team members at Crescenta Valley High School showcased their polished speeches at the Southern California Debate League (SCDL) Spring Novice Speech Competition. The 400-contestant tournament was held at Long Beach Poly High School from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Spring Novice Competition is crucial for the novice, or first year, members of the team because it serves as a middle checkpoint to survey their skills before the last tournament of the year, the SCDL novice championships.
“We had the largest turn-out to a tournament this season with 41 students from CVHS competing. Although I value the results of the competition because it shows the progress of the students, I was more excited to gather together as a family,” said Christina Manukyan, CVHS speech and debate co-coach.
Junior Jacob Matthews placed first overall for JV impromptu. He also participated in the category of JV duo interpretation with senior Elizabeth Schultz. The pair received a ribbon of excellence, an award given to the top 25% of contestants.
“As great as getting awards are, the most important thing about speech and debate is having the freedom of your own expression and being able to grow in comradeship with such amazing people, not just the kids on our team, but kids from other schools,” said Matthews. “I wouldn’t trade the opportunities given to me by this program for the world.”
Juniors Leo Mandani and Alexis Betty also performed a JV duo interpretation and won a ribbon of superiority because they placed in the top 10% of competitors. Freshmen Justin Kim and Armen Karabekyan received a ribbon of superiority for novice duo interpretation.
“It’s so hard to describe how great it feels to have all your hard work pay off in such a fantastic way,” said Betty. “I’m so grateful to everyone that helped us and I’m so lucky to have found such a great partner in one of my best friends.”
Aside from the many duo interpretation victories, senior Heli Lee received a ribbon of excellence for novice congressional extemporaneous speaking. Freshman Ian Camner was honored with a ribbon of excellence for novice impromptu.
“I’m just in it for the experience. I don’t go for the trophy – I go to have fun. Winning is just an added bonus,” said Camner.
The experience helped to further prepare CVHS speech and debate novice members to successfully compete at the upcoming SCDL novice championships on May 15-16.