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Orchestra, band prepare for Spring concert
Orchestra, band prepare for Spring concert
Brian Ly, Production Chief • May 10, 2024
Chenlu Yang, junior, and Cedric Hua, sophomore, on the official Speech & Debate Showcase poster | Photo courtesy of Peyton Ong
Speech Showcases their passion, pride
Sophia Pu, Editor in Chief • May 10, 2024

Speech Showcases their passion, pride

Chenlu Yang, junior, and Cedric Hua, sophomore, on the official Speech & Debate Showcase poster | Photo courtesy of Peyton Ong

   The Gabrielino High School Speech and Debate team hosted its annual Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagle Showcase on May 10 and 11 in the Gary E. Goodson Theater. The Showcase lasted from 7 to 9 p.m. on both nights and featured eight performances each. Admission was free.

   Friday’s setlist featured seniors Zoe Nimpoeno and Christopher Torres, junior Sofia Villagra, and sophomore Cedric Hua before the intermission. After intermission, the team’s seniors, accompanied by parents and other adult supporters, were recognized on stage along with an announcement of their post-graduation plans. There was also a surprise performance from a duo from Roosevelt Elementary School.

“Cedric’s was really funny,” said sophomore Sophia Sanchez. “It was my kind of humor because it was kind of cringe, but at the same time really entertaining. I’m a really big vocals, singing kind of person, so it was a topic I was very interested in.”

   The second half of the show had performances from senior Sherry Shi, juniors Josephine Scannell and Kara Mak, senior Nicole Diep, and freshman Oliver Li. 

“Jojo’s was really, I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Sanchez stated. “She got the emotions for the character and for Judy Garland down perfectly. You could genuinely see the raw emotion of the character she was trying to play, and on top of that, her word choices and the movements she was doing all just made sense to the point where I was just really interested the entire time.”

   In the first half on Saturday, sophomores Jaslin Situ and Zachary Tang, juniors Chenlu Yang and Marco Cisneros-Farber, and senior Kate Hammamoto performed. After Yang’s speech, which is on the lasting effects of mass shootings, there was a special shoutout to Brandon Tsay, the man who stopped the Monterey Park shooter, who was in the audience Saturday night.

   After intermission, 8th grade students on the Jefferson Middle School Speech and Debate team were recognized on stage, along with their coach, Alison Hussar. The second half featured junior Gabriela Sanchez, followed by seniors Emi Naito, Ashley Lau, Bryanna Quach, and Lindsay Wong.

“[Bryanna and Lindsay’s] was very emotional, I even cried,” said junior Kelly Muñoz Rios. “I think it was really impactful because I’m also going through the same situation as well, and it reminded me that I shouldn’t be sad, and I should cherish every moment with my family member that’s going through that.”


   The speeches ranged across genres, from humorous, to dramatic, to informative, to advocacy. Some speakers, such as Hua, Mak, Sanchez, and Naito, write their own speeches. Others make existing scripts their own, while Cisneros-Farber and Villagra have only 30 minutes to prepare their speech beforehand. 

   “It’s a roller coaster of emotions that you get to feel while watching the performances,” described Torres. “It’s a bunch of stories that you get to watch.”

   Showcase was a chance for those not in Speech and Debate – friends, family, faculty, and more – to witness the diversity of Gabrielino Speech and Debate and what it is known for.

   “Everybody on the Gab Speech team is very talented and dedicated,” said Cisneros-Farber. “So to be chosen to do Showcase means that you are representing the team and you have to put your best foot forward for the team.”

   The event’s purpose was to raise team spirit, inspire prospective team members to join, and provide an overall entertaining, celebratory show.

   “Personally, I saw a Showcase and that was a big factor in me staying in speech,” Quach shared. “I think Showcase is a lot more about highlighting all our hard work, not just ourselves, but as a team collective. […] It just shows people that we have stories to tell and to listen to us a little bit.”

   For those performing, Showcase is meaningful because it allows them to show friends and family the product of their hard work. 

   “I practice until, like, eight on Tuesdays and Thursdays, [and now] I could just show my dad what I do in that time,” Mak stated. “I want [middle school spectators] to look at me and be like, ‘Oh, I want to be like her one day’ or like, ‘I want to do the event she does one day.’”

   Showcase was also an opportunity for the speakers to spread the messages of their pieces outside of the competition setting, to a larger audience. Many of the students have personal connections to their topic.

   “It hits closer to home because it’s something that I’m really passionate about, something that’s about my family,” said Torres, whose state championship-winning Program Oral Interpretation pieces together several texts to convey one message about migrant farmworkers. “I hope people will take away much more respect and appreciation for the work that Latino farmworkers do.”

   Many other speakers handle heavy topics like Torres’, including Shi and Yang’s speeches on gun violence and Quach and Wong’s duo on terminal illness. Others are more lighthearted, including Hua’s informative speech on vocals or Naito’s original about a crazy classroom.

   “I definitely did feel a connection to the script, especially seeing as it is about sisters and I have a lot of siblings in my family,” said Nimpoeno, who acts out voices and characters in her Humorous Interpretation of the play “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen. “I hope that [the audience] can see how fun speech can be […] even if you look a little silly doing it.”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Pu
Sophia Pu, Editor in Chief
Sophia Pu is the Editor in Chief for the school newspaper, marking her fourth year with the team. Outside of her editorial duties, Sophia is involved in Speech and Debate and enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time in nature. Her commitment to the newspaper grew from a passion for interviewing a diverse range of individuals she might not have interacted with otherwise.
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