Speech and Debate stars compete at State Championships


Chloe Hilles

On Friday, April 15, three members of Foothill’s Speech and Debate team departed for San Jose Mission College in Santa Clara for the California High School Speech Association State Championships.

Senior Karina Cole and junior Emma Kolesnik worked together in Duo Interpretation and junior Isaac Goldstein competed in National Extemporaneous Speaking.

“Everyone’s been doing a super good job, so we will see how we match up against everyone,” Kolesnik said, after finishing her round with Cole. “But we’ve been giving it our all every round so hopefully it goes well.”


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All three were ranked in the top 50 in California for their events prior to the state competition, and were qualified to compete in preliminary rounds on Saturday. Unfortunately, none of them moved on to semi-finals.

Senior Karina Cole (left) and junior Emma Kolesnik at the State Championships. Photo Credit: Jim Cole (used with permission).

“I think we were just in really competitive events,” Speech and Debate adviser Jennifer Kindred said. “Even though we didn’t have students advance, they were in highly competitive events and the scores from the judges were generally [good comments], the scores were not awful, [and] nobody came in last.”

Duo Interpretation is a short performance done by two people without touching or looking at each other. Typically, duos are based on a movie, play, or novel. Cole and Kolesnik’s duo was based on the novel Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, a book about teenage girls with eating disorders.

“I think we chose our piece pretty well,” Cole said. “I think our option of doing a dramatic [piece] instead of a funny one was our best choice, but I know we worked on it a lot.”

Cole wishes she had the opportunity to “get into [her] character more” as a teenage girl returning from an eating disorder rehabilitation center.


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National extemporaneous speaking is an event where competitors are given a national topic and 30 minutes to prepare a seven minute speech. Goldstein’s topic was about the Centers for Disease Control changing the classification of the Zika virus.

“From watching Isaac, I feel that he did an incredible job and he really was very informative in his speech. And I did not know that much about the Zika virus and he knew so much and I was very impressed by his presentation,” Cole said regarding Goldstein’s speech. 

Despite none of Foothill’s competitors advancing, Kindred thinks “they still did a really good job” at the state tournament.


Background Photo Credit: Alex Kolesnik (used with permission.)

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