Speech and Debate: Illinois


Image by Ms. Sprague

Speech and Debate team at Bradley university

Recently the speech and debate team had traveled to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. A nice, friendly, small university. To compete in the George Armstrong Heart of Illinois HS invitational tournament. During the 2 days that built up to the tournament days, each student went through vigorous coaching lessons working on improving their scripts.

The first tournament day, December 2nd, the events that were competing that day were Dramatic Interpretation (DI) An acting piece, you are given a speech and you have to perform your speech with face, body and hand expressions, and Original Oratory (OO), a persuasive speech delivered talking about problems, causes and solutions.

The students competing that day were the following, Ariannie Avila (10th), Alexandra Davalos (9th), Vanessa Ramos-Garcia (11th), Victoria Romero (9th), Tara Pharornchai (9th), Angel Nunez (9th), Adrian Cordon (11th), Anniko Wotherspoon (10th), Maab Masri (10th), Isabella Quezada (11th), and Lanee Valiente (11th).

After a long day of competing, the team celebrated by going to a restaurant, Osaka Hibachi & Sushi Bar. Although it wasn’t just the West Covina speech and debate team who went, the Santa Ana school district’s speech and debate team had also tagged along.

The speech and debate team celebrating at Osaka Hibachi & Sushi Bar. (Photograph by Ms. Sprague)

The following day, December 3rd, was the day the contestants found out if they placed into the finals! But first the events to compete that day, Informative Speaking (Info), explaining a certain topic to the audience for them to gain knowledge, and Humorous Interpretation (HI), similar to drama interpretation except adding humor, and a switch between multiple characters.

The following students competing were Paola Aldana (11th), Ariana Parra (10th), Joaquin Martinez (11th), and Oliver McDonald (11th); those competitors went through 3 rounds of reciting their speech.

“There were big differences from the first tournament, specifically we were much more prepared as I along with some others were still not completely memorized and had pauses in our speeches but we also got to meet our main competitors and see what good speeches looked like.”, said junior, Joaquin Martinez.

And then finally the moment we have been waiting for… which competitors qualified for the final round! The qualifiers are the following, for (IS) Paola Aldana, Ariana Parra, and Oliver McDonald, for (DI) Ariannie Avila, Tara Pharornchai, and Vanessa Ramos-Garcia, for (HI) Joaquin Martinez, and lastly for (OO) Isabella Quezada, Maab Masri, and Annika Wotherspoon.

The Finalist! (Photograph by Ms. Sprague)

All the hard work the team put in had paid off! After the final round the finalists were now going to find out what they placed in the finals. And thanks to the lovely teacher, Ms. Sprague, we got the ceremony recorded. Awards ceremony link below.


Informative Speaking (Novice):
2nd place, Paola Aldana (11th)
Tournament Champion, Ariana Parra (10th)

Informative Speaking (Varsity):
6th place, Oliver McDonald (11th)

Dramatic Interpretation (Novice):
Finalist, Ariannie Avila (10th)
4th place, Tara Pharornchai (9th)
2nd place, Vanessa Ramos-Garcia (11th)

Humorous Interpretation (Novice):
2nd place, Joaquin Martinez (11th)

Original Oratory (Novice):
6th place, Isabella Quezada (11th)
5th place, Maab Masri (10th)
3rd place, Annika Wotherspoon (10th)

Here is what finalist Joaquin Martinez had to say about placing in the finals.

“Honestly I was more surprised with breaking considering how good everyone was in my rounds most of whom were varsity. [T]hat when I actually competed and was able to compare myself to other novice competitors I felt much more confident in my speech skills and my overall performance comparatively.”

The Team at the Airport. (Photograph by Ms. Sprague)

The following day December 4th the speech and debate team had flown back to LA and finally came home. If you want to see more pictures of this tournament trip click the link below.