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The Foothill Dragon Press

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Speech and Debate team conquers at CalState Fullerton Invitational

speech and debate
(From left to right) Speech and Debate teams Fidelity Ballmer and Khalia Hartung-Dallas, Nick Alexander and Alexia Khodanian, and Angela King and Carson Graves, debated at last weekend’s tournament at CalState Fullerton. Credit: Jennifer Kindred. Used with permission.

Acting out “Mulan” for speech, and debating over the use of military force were only a few of the elements at this past weekend’s speech and debate tournament.

Foothill’s Speech and Debate team traveled to California State University of Fullerton on Friday to compete in the tournament that lasted through Sunday.

 Speech and Debate advisor Jennifer Kindred enjoys starting off every year with this tournament.

 “It’s a great tournament to start the year with. Lots of opportunities to practice speeches and debate and lots of team bonding with new team members,” she said.

 At the tournament there are two main categories: speech events and debate events.

Speech events can be either prepared speeches or speeches that competitors get limited time to prepare. Speeches with little preparation are called extemporaneous events.

In the speech category, junior Susanna Chilton competed for Foothill and received first place in Individual Speaker awards for novice Thematic Interpretation. This is a prepared speech that she had time to memorize.

Seniors Holly Guzman and Caleb Bigler took fourth place in Duo Interpretation. They acted out scenes from the Disney movie “Mulan” together with singing and characterization.

With 30 minutes to prepare a seven minute speech on a national or international topic, senior Ana Bello took second place in extemporaneous speaking.

Lying on opposite sides of the spectrum of events available, debates are set rounds where competitors debate a specific topic. Foothill only participates in debates with partners, leaving Parliamentary and Public Forum as the only categories they can compete in.

In Public Forum the debaters know the topic long before they reach the tournament. They write two cases using research, one in the affirmation and one in the negation of a topic.

 Sophomores Fidelity Ballmer and Khaila Hartung-Dallas competed in that category and placed first out of 55 teams. As individuals, Ballmer placed 3rd and Hartung-Dallas placed 10th out of 110 speakers.

 “My favorite part of the tournament was calling Mr. Villa after Khaila and I took first,” Ballmer said. “It was such a long day, and we were both exhausted and adrenaline high and so excited to have won after 10 rounds. We called him and said, ‘Unfortunately Khaila and I… got first!’ he said, ‘I’m sending you so much love right now!’ ”

 Ballmer said she is thankful for the support from her team mates and coaches.

 “It’s one thing to win, yeah, but it’s so much better to have so many people supporting you,” she said. “One of our team members, Ashley Amaldahas, kept giving us thumbs up during our rounds and it made me so happy as I was yelling and calling people abusive and talking so fast and getting frustrated.”

Ballmer and Hartung-Dallas debated about if the United States is justified in using unilateral military force to stop nuclear proliferation. They won nine of 10 rounds. Senior Ana Bello and her partner Junior Carlos Cohen also debated on this topic, winning three of six rounds.

The debates are about 45 minutes long and consist of questioning each other, giving multiple speeches, and explaining why they won at the end.

Foothill had one novice team in this category, freshmen Isaac Goldstein and Emma Kolesnik.

The second category for debate is Parliamentary Debate, in which the debaters get their topic before the debate and have time to write a case on it. They are only allowed to use prior knowledge, no outside evidence.

Foothill’s novice teams were senior Ami Ballmer and sophomore Ashley Amaldahas, seniors Josh Ward and Tyler Bransfield, seniors Carson Graves and Angela King, and juniors Summer Al-Saleh and Canela Lopez.

Graves and King advanced to quarterfinals being in the top eight teams. Junior Alexia Khodanian and partner senior Nick Alexander made it to octafinals being in the top 16 teams. Graves also won an eighth place Individual Speaker Award for the same event out of about 60 students.

Graves, Foothill’s ASB president, said he enjoyed participating in the tournament and is glad he got to spend time bonding with his peers from school.

“My favorite part of the tournament was just getting to know the people who I go to school with everyday,” he said, “From cheering them on while competing, to congratulating them on their wins, or even to playing card games at 2 in the morning, I have learned so much and become close with some pretty amazing people.”


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Speech and Debate team conquers at CalState Fullerton Invitational