By Joyce LEE
The Crescenta Valley High School speech and debate team recently reached a milestone when it co-hosted a tournament with the La Cañada team on the CVHS campus for the first time. The 2014 Southern California Debate League (SCDL) Fall Debate is an important competition for both novice and varsity debaters.
The theme for the fall debate was the outback. To create the mood reflecting the theme, members from the CVHS and LCHS speech and debate teams decorated the CVHS campus with colorful directional signs and welcome posters simulating a safari. Student volunteers wore tropical hats and fake binoculars to further promote a wilderness setting.
“Many coaches from other schools scoffed upon hearing that the tournament would be held at CVHS because they thought it was far away in the Wild West,” said CVHS senior and varsity debate member Brett Tyler. “Our coaches took hold of the joke and used it as a badge of honor and themed our tournament.”
Fall debate required over a week’s worth of dedication by the members to prepare. CVHS’s speech and debate participants – regardless whether they planned to compete – signed up for shifts, prepared food for the bake sale, and stayed after school to perfect the event.
“We had to do a lot of planning in order to make sure this event ran smoothly and efficiently,” said CVHS speech and debate co-coach Christina Manukyan. “We spoke with other coaches in our league who hosted tournaments to have an accurate idea of what to expect. We also emailed parents about the tournament and had lots of parent volunteers.”
The tournament would not have been possible without the help of LCHS students who visited CVHS over the weeks to aid in organizing. The cooperation demonstrated between the two schools is not new; CVHS coaches Manukyan and Amber McLeod have grown close to the LCHS coach Susan Moore. In the past, the two schools have held scrimmages and co-hosted Follies’ Night.
“When our coaches, Ms. McLeod and Mrs. Manukyan, announced that CVHS would be hosting fall debate, I initially thought that it would require a lot of work and we were a little over our heads,” said CVHS senior and debate captain Becky Suh. “But all the members of CVHS and LCHS speech and debate teams stepped up, so my job primarily was composed of delegating tasks to different people.”
On Nov. 21, the novice competition was held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Among the 100 participants, Elin Aboolian and Becky Im snagged a first place victory in parliamentary debate. On Nov. 22, the varsity competition saw approximately 400 competitors. Despite the stiff competition, CVHS students were able to snag trophies. Senior Nicholas Mayer placed second in Lincoln Douglas Debate and senior Tyler placed 11th in Congress.
“Mrs. Moore, Ms. McLeod, the students of CVHS and LCHS, and I are proud of successfully hosting fall debate,” Manukyan said. She added that she hoped the hard work of everyone involved was successful in introducing the community to what speech and debate is all about.