Speech State Quals Tournament


Sophia Li, Staff Writer

The Arcadia Speech and Debate competition team recently competed in their first of two State Qualifier Tournaments. Competitors in these two tournaments are all vying for a spot to compete in the State Championship Tournament, held completely online on Apr. 30.

The first tournament was a two-day tournament on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26. Overall, the competition was a success, as Arcadia placed 2nd overall and gave their long-time competitor, Gabrielino High School, a run for their money. 

The Arcadia High School Speech and Debate Team is a part of the Southern California Debate League (SCDL), with their head coach, Ms. Ashley Novak being the SCDL president. On the first day, Arcadia competed at Arroyo High School in the events of Lincoln Douglas (LD) and Policy. The following day, on Feb. 26, competitors competed at Montebello High School for all speech events. 

In each event, only the very top performances advance to state, as the competition is very tough. However, several Arcadia students were able to achieve this task. Let’s congratulate those who moved on to qualify for state! 

US Extemp

Evelyn Tsoi–5th place

Original Prose and Poetry

Swarit Srivastava–7th place

Amanda Le–6th place

Oishika Chattopadhyay–4th place

Original Oratory

Rebecca Tao–4th

Oratorical Interpretation

Zachary Sakti–6th

Yana Verma–3rd

Minnoli Shukla–2nd

Rachel Wang--1st

Original Advocacy

Rachel Wang--1st 


Michelle Fan–2nd

Anvitha Marlapati–3rd


Rebecca Tao–7th

Oishika Chattopadhyay– 5th

Yana Verma– 3rd

Michelle Fan–1st

Humorous Interp

Andy Li–1st

Dramatic Interp

Sarah Chao –2nd

Kaylee Wong--1st

Lincoln Douglas Debate

Ariana Hernandez–6th

“It felt really cool to represent Arcadia and take first place in HI. The community and people are Arcadia, especially the Speech and Debate Team, is really fun. We have a lot of great freshmen, sophomores, and JV people who are going to take care of Arcadia next year, so it’s really exciting to be able to compete with them and compete alongside them. Overall, the experience of the competition was pretty fun, and I love the food place that we usually get every single time we go there. I particularly like HI because I like making people laugh, as it’s been a part of who I am for the past 5 years, and I’ve always enjoyed doing the event,” Senior, Andy Li, said. 

Sophomore Euan Kelsey Laru-An was another competitor at the state quals tournament but unfortunately wasn’t able to break and qualify for state. However, he has some insight into his experience and how he will come back stronger next year! 

“This is my second time competing at State Quals, but my first time competing at it in person, and my experience this year was certainly lively! Although the tournament was a competition, State Quals also felt like a celebration, because it was really nice seeing people appreciate everyone’s hard work throughout the year on their respective events. I competed in Oratorical Interpretation (OI), and it’s basically where you re-perform an already given speech with your own interpretation of the piece, so the performances can be very creative! Overall, I feel like everyone on the team did a good job this year, seeing that we did really really well, winning second in sweepstakes for Division 1. I personally can’t wait for next year’s State Qualifiers for speech!” Laru-An said. 

Freshman Ellie Gladson-Pang was also one of the competitors who was still getting the jist of competing, and was able to watch the speeches and debates given by her fellow competitors! Even though Gladson-Pang didn’t compete, it was refreshing to be able to see her competitors and see specific skills and techniques that she can improve on. She is trying out Congress, a form of debate, and hopes that she can qualify next year!

Overall, in this first tournament, Arcadia had a total of 15 students advancing to the state competition, but that number is expected to increase. On Mar. 5, there is a debate tournament that allows for students to qualify for state, at Schurr High School in Montebello, California. The events include public forum (PF), Parli, and/or Congress events. Congratulations to the Speech and Debate team for an outstanding performance! The upcoming year for the Arcadia Speech and Debate Team looks bright, as this year presents a very strong and diverse team.


Photo courtesy of AHS Speech and Debate