Bello, Cohen defeat competition at Debate State Qualifiers

Senior+Ana+Bello+and+junior+Carlos+Cohen+will+be+competing+at+the+Debate+State+Tournament+in+April.+Credit%3A+Carlos+Cohen+Sr.+Used+with+permission.
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Bello, Cohen defeat competition at Debate State Qualifiers

Senior Ana Bello and junior Carlos Cohen will be competing at the Debate State Tournament in April. Credit: Carlos Cohen Sr. Used with permission.

Senior Ana Bello and junior Carlos Cohen will be competing at the Debate State Tournament in April. Credit: Carlos Cohen Sr. Used with permission.

Senior Ana Bello and junior Carlos Cohen will be competing at the Debate State Tournament in April. Credit: Carlos Cohen Sr. Used with permission.

Senior Ana Bello and junior Carlos Cohen will be competing at the Debate State Tournament in April. Credit: Carlos Cohen Sr. Used with permission.

Bella Bobrow

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Senior Ana Bello and junior Carlos Cohen will be competing at the Debate State Tournament in April. Credit: Carlos Cohen Sr. Used with permission.

Senior Ana Bello and junior Carlos Cohen will be competing at the Debate State Tournament in April. Credit: Carlos Cohen Sr. Used with permission.

Senior Ana Bello and junior Carlos Cohen took third place in Public Forum at the Debate State Qualifier last weekend. They competed against 22 other two-person teams from the region, and were one of only five groups to advance to the state competition.

The Tri-County Forensic League Debate State Qualifier took place on Friday and Saturday at Oaks Christian High School in Thousand Oaks.

The competition was held double-elimination style, with Cohen and Bello making it through all five rounds. Officials paired teams to debate based on past records and speaker points.

“They only take the top five teams to compete at the state championship,” Bello said. “It was a smaller tournament, but with a lot of really serious debate teams.”

Bello has been a club member since freshman year. She also debated at the state level last year, making her one of few students to have the chance to go twice.

 

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Last year, six students qualified for State, compared to two this year. Club advisor Anthony Villa said the league has gotten more competitive, with schools sending more teams than in years past.

Teams were comprised of two students, who competed in either Parliament or Public Forum. Foothill sent ten teams to the competition.

Bello and Cohen’s case was in Public Forum. They were given a set topic for the month, and worked together to research and practice for their debates. In Parliament, student’s topics switch every round, leaving them no time to prepare.

Bello and Cohen’s case was whether or not it was constitutional to remove Section 4 of the Voter’s Rights Act.

“It was a really hard topic,” Cohen said. “The competition was really intense.”

The competition wasn’t all serious business though. The Speech and Debate students love to liven up their tournaments. Bello recalls Cohen playing the piano in between rounds to cheer up nervous debaters.

They also have fun team traditions.

“We have a tradition where we all go to dinner and then tell the waitress it’s my birthday, and then they get free desert,” Villa said. “I’m so bad at remembering that they’re going to do it, so it’s always a surprise.”

 

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Cohen and Bello are excited to compete at the state level.

“The next step is to work on our new topic to compete at the State Tournament. We have two months to prepare for it; to write cases, to research evidence, to practice our debates,” Cohen said.

Cohen and Bello will compete at the State competition in Modesto in April.

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