Speech and Debate Team Wins West Coast, National Championships

The Hornet Speech and Debate Team finished their nationals season strong by bringing home the Community College National Championship at the National Speech Tournament hosted in Detroit and finishing Novice Champions at the West Coast Novice Nationals hosted in Fresno. Collectively, the Hornet program was awarded the Bulldog Award for a team meaningfully contributing leaders and friends to the forensics community, while maintaining competitive excellence. It was a picturesque ending to a speech and debate season.

The debate season began in August when this year’s topic, “restrictions on executive power,” was officially announced and the research phase started. Students debated at tournaments from September until the national championship tournaments in March and April. During that time period, students researched, practiced and competed. Additional students chose to participate in individual events, where they crafted, revised, and delivered the same speech until it was ready for tournament competition and eventually competed at the national level.

This year, six debaters took a run at the West Coast Novice National Championship. The novice policy debate teams of Germaine Baltazar/Mike Becerra and Leon Chan/Edgar Hernandez closed out the final round bringing back to Fullerton the title of West Coast National Champion and second place with wins over Southwestern College and San Francisco State University. Meanwhile, the junior varsity team of Harut Kejejyan and Evan Jensen finished second-place bringing home the silver medal in their division. Kejejyan and Baltazar stood atop their colleagues as the best individual speakers competing at the tournament.

On the other side of the country, in Detroit, Maceo Coleman and Roshellee Picado advanced to quarterfinal rounds in the individual events of Communication Analysis and Program of Oral Interpretation respectively. Their success combined with the work of teammates, Katherin Marroquin and Lynzie Hinman, resulted in a championship finish among community colleges. These successful Hornets showed the country Fullerton College is a place where the next generation of passionate, crafted ideas are delivered.

Roshellee Picado, a communication studies major, who has been accepted into California State University, Fullerton for the fall 2019 semester, delivered a performance centered on warning the nation about the world of incels, a group of men on the internet who engage in acts of misogyny and violence because of a sense of aggrieved sexual entitlement among the rise of gender equality movements. Picado joined the speech team two years ago after being offered extra credit by her communication studies instructor Doug Kresse. Since then she has become an active competitor on the team while maintaining two jobs in addition to her class load.

“The opportunity to go to national has always been a goal of mine,” Picado said. “You get to travel to a place you might never have gone on your own and meet people from around the country with similar goals. We didn’t know how many competitors we would face, and it turned out many were from private universities. Everyone takes the competition seriously and the level of respect you have for one another rises when we see each other’s work.”

Coleman, a second-year student communication studies major, who will be transferring to a four-year university in the fall, centered his analysis of the Academy Award-winning film Black Panther and the theory of Afrofuturism.

“To attend my second national tournament was a blessing. It was great to prove that community college students are just as talented as students attending four-year universities on scholarships,” Coleman said.

Both Coleman and Picado bested speakers from the University of Utah, George Mason University, and several other colleges and universities.

The team resumes competition again on April 13 at the Hornet Invitational, a tournament held at Fullerton College that allows rookie and novice competitors a chance to compete. Students interested in joining the team can attend club practice on Fridays from 12:30 – 2 p.m. in Building 500, Room 525. There is still regional competition in April and May available for new members. The Fullerton College Speech and Debate team is coached by Toni Nielson, and Jeanette Rodriguez, and Jeff Samano.

Author: Fullerton College

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