Hornet Speech and Debate Team delivers a Championship Victory at the Spring and Pacific Championship Tournaments

Fullerton College Speech & Debate was outstanding at their second competition of the spring semester as 16 students competed at the Spring and Pacific Championship tournaments hosted by CSU Long Beach. The tournament brought to Southern California some of the best minds from Cal State Fullerton, University of Southern California, Eastern Michigan University, Arizona State University and dozens of other community colleges and universities.

Roshellee Picado was the outstanding Hornet of the weekend, winning the tournament championship in impromptu speaking with an almost perfect score. Impromptu is widely to known to be the most difficult event in public speaking because competitors do not know their topic in advance. The goal of impromptu is to give an organized and persuasive speech on as little as one minute of preparation time.

“I love it. Impromptu challenges you to have all the possible answers to all the questions,” Picado said.

Her humbleness about the victory and talent matches the size of the smile on her face as Picado recalls taking home the gold for the Hornets.

“When I won, I was shocked. As they were announcing the results, the group dwindled down to just me and the speaker from Cal Baptist on stage. When he received second place, it took me a minute because I thought they had made a mistake.”

Picado’s adventure into speech and debate started with a class with Professor Doug Kreese, long-time, successful Hornet head coach. “DK encouraged me to give it a try. I liked debate and then branched out into impromptu,” she said. To hone her skills, she enrolled in the Communications Studies 138 class and attends speech and debate club, in Room 525 on Fridays at 12:30 pm, weekly for additional practice. She is also a communication studies major.

The second big Hornet victory came from the policy debate team of Harut Kejejyan and Natalie Sutka. Kejejyan and Sutka took third place in the Pacific Championship by defeating USC.

When asked what the victory felt like, Kejejyan said, “It was a good feeling. Fullerton College doesn’t have the team funding that USC does, but in that debate, we were better than USC.”

Sutka said this about the victory, “Every day in debate is hard. Policy debate requires us to know a lot of things. Beating USC was like every other day in debate; it was hard.” Sutka would know; she received the top speaker points for an outstanding performance in that round. These two Hornets have big plans for their future. Sutka graduates in May and is pursuing international relations; Kejejyan is a communication studies major who is planning on law school after his undergraduate program.

The tale of the tournament weekend wouldn’t be complete without the heartwarming, underdog story of the newcomers who took home bronze in parliamentary debate. In their first ever parliamentary debate tournament with only two practices completed, Alejandro Roman-Roche and Nick Sakowski demonstrated they are debate naturals.

The rookie pair won rounds debating both sides of the electoral college, Korean relations, and even grabbed a ballot on Puerto Rican independence. At the end of the tournament, Sakowski said to Roman-Roche and the coaching staff, “Thank you so much for this great first tournament. This is an experience I will never forget.” And with talent like this, there will be many more great tournaments in their future.

Additional Fullerton College speech and policy debate awards included: fifth place speaker in policy debate, Danielle Hyslop; third place novice policy debate team, Evan Jensen and Jennifer Perry; fourth place in novice poetry Jon Kim; fourth place in novice persuasion Ronald Shin; third place in novice after-dinner speaking, Maceo Coleman; second place in novice after-dinner speaking, Dominic Craddock; first in novice communication analysis, Maceo Coleman, and finalist in varsity persuasive speaking, Britton Lee.

The entire team resumed competition again on March 2 at the Novice and Junior Varsity Policy Debate National Tournament hosted by CSU Fresno. The Fullerton College Speech and Debate team is coached by Toni Nielson, Jeanette Rodriguez, and Jeff Samano.

Author: Fullerton College

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