Speech and Debate hosts Districts for the first time

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By McKenna Cooley

During Saturday’s award ceremony, Austin Smith, 12, received first seat in Program Oral Interpretation advancing him to Nationals. Photo Courtesy of Shelby Burdo
During Saturday’s award ceremony, Austin Smith, 12, received first seat in Program Oral Interpretation advancing him to Nationals. Photo Courtesy of Shelby Burdo

The speech and debate team hosted Districts for the first time on Thursday, March 31 through Saturday, April 2 in the 200 and 800 hallways. Students from local schools, such as Green Valley, Foothill, Arbor View, Silverado, Liberty and Coronado competed.

Districts is one of the last tournaments that helps students qualify for Nationals, and each event sends only two to four people from each District event. Congress qualifiers happens next weekend, where more students can qualify for Nationals.

During the award ceremony, seniors  Andrew Turner, Felicia Kalkman, Zil Joyce Dixon Romero, Austin Smith and freshman Claire Shamiya all placed high enough to qualify for Nationals and were commemorated with plaques.

“It means the world to me [that Districts was held at Coronado]. I have invested countless hours and almost three years of my high school career in this program, and this is the first opportunity that we’ve had to hold a tournament under our fantastic coach Mr. Miles,” Romero said. “While being a senior to qualify to the national tournament is amazing, doing it at home just made it all the sweeter.”

Because Coronado hosted, they had to organize the tournament and split up tasks between different people. Those who were not competing were helping run the competition. Throughout the entire tournament they had a concession stand open in the cafeteria where students relaxed between events.

Judges for the competition were selected by students, and every team member was required to bring a judge to the competition as part of their grade. Competitions always need qualified judges, which are crucial to the activity’s success.

“As a whole, [I am proud of] the hard work everyone put in because we were hosting, so we had to do a lot more, and everyone pitched in and helped,” Mr. Miles, Speech and Debate coach, said. “Everyone went above and beyond expectations, which was great.”

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McKenna Cooley is a senior this year as well as co-editor-in-chief with Karen Pegueros. This is her third year on staff. She enjoys writing news and feature stories. She is very excited about the upcoming year and the future of the website. Her favorite quote, which relates to her sport archery, is “An arrow can only be shot by being pulled back. When life is pulling you back with difficulties, it is about to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.”