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Pictured is the Gabrielino High School Debate team after competing at National qualifiers. Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate.
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Screamin’ Eagles soar to Nationals

Pictured+is+the+Gabrielino+High+School+Debate+team+after+competing+at+National+qualifiers.+Photo+courtesy+of+Gabrielino+Speech+%26+Debate.+
Pictured is the Gabrielino High School Debate team after competing at National qualifiers. Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate.

   On March 16, the Gabrielino High School Speech and Debate team competed in debate events at Montebello High School to qualify for the 2024 National Speech and Debate Tournament. The Screamin’ Eagles team competed in speech events on March 8 and 9, hosting the tournament at Gabrielino. 

   To advance to the national championship tournament, held in Des Moines, Iowa this year, students had to place third or higher in their event; with an exception for Congress, which sends the top four to Nationals. The Screamin’ Eagles will be sending 14 students in total.

   Students who did not qualify through the league tournaments may compete in the Last-Chance qualifier for a second shot at doing so. It will be held on April 25-27 using a virtual format. 

   Freshman Oliver Li was the only Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debater to qualify from Gabrielino, placing third and becoming the first freshman from Gabrielino to qualify in LD. LD is the only debate event with one-on-one debates, focusing primarily on philosophical and ethical questions for students to argue. 

   “I had seven debates that day so it was really tiring,” said Li. “When they called my name, I was shocked because I didn’t have that confidence then. Now that I made it, I’m looking forward to doing the best I can.”

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate

   Senior Pan Keirtjaroonsiri placed fourth in Congress, an event that mirrors the policymaking of the United States House and Senate. Sophomore Carter Mak, junior Jennifer Quach, and senior Sophia Pu also competed in the event. 

   “I was shaking and I couldn’t stop shaking. I didn’t think I was going to qualify,” stated Keirtjaroonsiri. “I hope I do well since it’s my first time qualifying.” 

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate
Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate

   Public Forum is a partnered event formatted with two to four minute speeches. Debaters introduce their arguments in constructive speeches, ask questions during crossfire, and rebut their opponents. Three duos competed: junior Isaac Chan and senior Garrison Chan, juniors Matt Tafoya and Joaquin Vivar, and sophomore Jayden Phung and senior Anson Law. 

    “I wanted to finish strong and also focus on the community aspect of Speech and Debate,” said Vivar, who placed seventh with Tafoya  

   At the qualifying tournament for speech events on March 8 and 9, Gabrielino qualified 12 people to the national championships.

   Interpretation events present a piece using voices, physical acting, and facial expressions to act out characters and tell a story.

   Four Gabrielino students competed in Humorous Interpretation: freshman Rachel Yip, who placed fourth, sophomore Chase Ong, who placed fifth, junior Veena Sundaramoorthy, and senior Kailey Trinh, who placed sixth. 

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate

   Junior Jojo Scannell placed third for Dramatic Interpretation, which seeks to evoke feelings of grief. Sophomore Kayley Thai, junior Ximena Mercado, and senior Alexa Pedroza also competed in the event. 

   “The way I always looked at it was displaying a message for someone who can’t do it themselves,” said Scannell. “Hearing my name get called had me in a state of disbelief, with everyone there too it was awesome. It was really incredible, and there were a lot of tears.” 

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate

   Duo Interpretation is a partnered event where pairs act out speeches that range from comedic, to whimsical, to dramatic, all without props, physical contact, or eye contact. Gabrielino took two of the three spots for this event, with seniors Bryanna Quach and Lindsay Wong placing first and sophomores Jaslin Situ and Zachary Tang placing third. Seniors Christopher Torres and Kate Hamamoto placed sixth.

   “I was honestly really scared that we weren’t gonna make it because my duo partner and I got our script the week before,” stated Wong. “It was a lot of long practices, we stayed until ten p.m. the day before the qualifiers, but we are very grateful to get to perform.” 

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate

   Program Oral Interpretation (POI) is an event that allows advocacy for societal issues through a script made up of several different sources. Competitors in POI use a black binder for creative visuals. Junior Chenlu Yang placed first. Li, Torres, who placed fourth, and Sundamoorthy, who placed fifth, also competed in POI.   

   “I was really nervous because I wanted my fellow teammates to place with me,” stated Yang. “For Nationals, I just want to see more performances and learn from them.” 

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate

   Unlike interpretation events, public address events do not incorporate acting. They are self-prepared and self-written, focusing on informing and persuading the audience.

   Competitors in Original Oratory (OO) aim to inspire action to change negative societal behaviors. Junior Kara Mak placed first in the event, with senior Ashley Lau placing second. Senior Ava Doron and junior Lilianna Simpson-Castaneda also competed in OO.

   “I convinced myself that this was my last round,” stated Kara. “I didn’t go in specifically to win, but I went to do my best. It was pretty cool that I qualified.” 

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate

   Informative Speaking, also known as Expository, allows speakers to educate their audience on a wide range of topics with the unique addition of visual aids. Sophomore Cedric Hua placed second, with sophomore Victoria Chou and seniors Ashley Lau and Ava Doron also competing in Expos. 

   “I spoke about singing and it was very silly, which is what I think got me so far,” stated Hua. “There were some really strong speeches in the final round, I was really excited because I wasn’t expecting a qualification.” 

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate

   In extemporaneous events, speeches are prepared 30 minutes before the round rather than pre-written. International Extemp (IX) focuses on global events, while National Extemp (NX) centers around domestic issues.

   In IX, junior Marco Cisneros-Farber placed third and senior Garrison Chan placed sixth, with Carter and Isaac also competing.

   “This is my first time qualifying for Nationals,” stated Cisneros-Farber. “I was runner-up three times last year. It was unreal, I still don’t really believe it, like ‘are you sure?’ but I’m excited. I want to do as best as possible and make it to the semis so I can auto-qual for next year.” 

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate

    In NX, juniors Aaron Situ and Sofia Villagra placed second and third respectively, with sophomore Natalia San Lucas placing fifth and Tafoya also competing. 

   “I didn’t really expect to qualify for Nationals,” stated Situ. “It was a big shocker since I never placed in the top three for league tournaments.”

Photo courtesy of Gabrielino Speech & Debate
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Brian Ly, Production Chief
Brian Ly is the Production Chief for the Tongva Times and is entering his fourth year with the paper. In his personal life, Brian has a keen interest in insects, collectible card games, books, and movies. He even aspires to raise his own "Gregor Samsas" when he finds the right environment. Interestingly, Brian initially joined the newspaper in his freshman year, mistaking it for a history class due to the presence of a textbook. Despite the unexpected start, he remained with the Tongva Times, drawn by the strong sense of community and the chance to interact with diverse individuals, from school athletes to the mayor of San Gabriel.
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