By Marissa GOULD, intern
It was a mild morning in front of Crescenta Valley High School when about 20 students, all dressed in suits and other formal wear, gathered for the debate state qualifier at Schurr High School in Montebello. The CVHS Speech and Debate Team had traveled to Cal State Long Beach for the speech state qualifier where two members, Chelsea Lee and Jacob Wisda, gave their best speeches to earn their way to Modesto to compete.
The debate state qualifier began on Friday afternoon with two events, public forum and parliamentary debate. Friday’s qualifier events reduced the number of rounds on Saturday. On Saturday, two parliamentary teams, one public forum team, and two congressional debaters were ready to debate with 14 other schools from around Southern California.
Parliamentary debate is an event when teams of two get their topics 20 minutes before their round, have 20 minutes to prepare for their debate, and then are sent to their rounds to give their speeches (speeches last between five and seven minutes) to prove to a judge why their side is “right.”
For public forum debate, teams of two are given one topic per month, must research for both sides of the debate, and then use that evidence for their speeches and crossfires (crossfires are when a member from each side engage in rapid question and answer with each other for three minutes). These debaters must use their evidence and logic to prove that their side is right.
Congressional debate is when a room of typically between 20 and 40 debaters (in this competition’s case it was only 14) have to debate a topic that was given to the “senators” a week prior. Each person must have prepped for both sides of the topic and then choose which side they will represent once they reach the round. Each debater will give a three-minute speech and then a one-minute questioning period when the other debaters can ask questions pertaining to the topic. Congressional debaters end up getting in the top percentage by speaking as often as possible and by who gave the most logical speech.
Not only was there a competition to see who would advance to state, but there were non-qualifying rounds for congressional debate and parliamentary debate for novices or other team members who did not feel they were ready for the state level. There were four parliamentary teams who were undefeated – and three of those were from CVHS. Two congressional debaters also received medals for being in the top percent of congressional debate.
After five grueling rounds of parliamentary debate, Natalie Boyd and Jacob Wisda managed to place fourth over all at the competition. They will be representing CVHS at state this year having been under the direction of their coaches Christina Manukyan and Amber McLeod.
McLeod said, “This was all done by hours of hard work and it all finally paid off.”