AHS Hosts Speech and Debate Package Deal Tournament

Nathan Chen, Staff Writer

A recent Speech and Debate tournament occurred at Arcadia High School (AHS) on Saturday, Sept. 24. The tournament was hosted by AHS Speech and Debate Varsity members. The tournament featured competitors from Arcadia, Alhambra, Schurr, Long Beach Poly, Mark Keppel, San Gabriel, LA. Wilson, South Pasadena, and Arroyo High School.

The tournament was primarily for Novice students to get their feet wet in Speech and Debate. It consisted of four rounds: three rounds of speech and one round of debate. The first round of speech was Extemporaneous Speaking (Extemp), where competitors had 30 minutes to prepare a five minute memorized speech about an issue or current event. The second round of speech was Interpretation (Interp), where competitors had 10 minutes to prepare a memorized speech based on a script, which was either humorous or dramatic. The third round of speech was Impromptu, where competitors were given a list of three topics and had five minutes to prepare a five minute speech about one of the three topics.

The first round of debate was Congress, where a group of 10-15 competitors were placed into a ‘chamber’, and would debate on a bill, resolution, or otherwise piece of legislation. The bill was given to the competitors at the beginning of the tournament. The chamber is like a mock U.S. Congress, similar to how Model United Nations performs mock United Nations conferences. The presiding officer (PO) opened the floor and speakers went up to either support or negate the proposed bill. Each speaker had a three minute speaking window, where they would give a speech on their main argument; speeches were followed by a one minute cross examination time, where the speaker would answer questions and concerns raised by the other competitors.

Each speaker was ranked against the other competitors, and top competitors received awards of Excellence, Superiority, or Trophy. The score of Excellence in speech required a cumulative rank of seven or eight. The award of Superiority in speech required the cumulative rank of five or six. The award of Trophy in speech required the cumulative rank of three or four. In debate, the awards are given out to the top three speakers in each house respectively. Despite fierce competition, many AHS Students were able to get a ribbon. Let’s congratulate those who did a great job!


Excellence: (7/8)

Arwen Aguba – speech

Derek Chen – speech

Fiona Fan – debate

Zaliya Galeano – debate

Maredith Kim – speech

Chloe Nyguen – speech and debate

William Pan – debate

Khaku Purev – debate

Allison Rinek – debate

Jessica Soehartono – debate

Michelle Wu – speech

Tiffany Zhang – debate


Superiority: (5/6)

Max Cheung – speech

Richard Dai – debate

Darya Derakhshani – speech and debate

Fiona Fan – speech

Natalie Huang – speech and debate

Shirlyn Huang – debate

Ghael Minguez – debate

Minhtam Nguyen – debate

Khaku Purev – speech

Allison Rinek – speech

Kaitlyn Wang – debate

May Wang – debate

Michelle Wu – debate

Angela Zhuang – debate


Trophy: (3/4)

Derek Chen – debate

Max Cheung – debate

Richard Dai – speech

Niyat Haregot – speech and debate

Shirlyn Huang – speech

Minhtam Nyguen – speech

William Pan – speech

Saanvi Sakthivel – speech and debate

Kaitlyn Wang – speech

Tiffany Zhang – speech

Angela Zhuang – speech


Reflecting on the tournament, Speech and Debate coach Ashley Novak said, “Package Deal was our first Novice-only speech tournament featuring four of the actual events students may opt to compete in all year long. It’s a really helpful tournament because it introduces these specific events and gives students a real glimpse into what it is and how it feels during competition. We had a great turnout—almost double the number that we had last year.”

“My experience at Package Deal was one where I felt I got to grow as not only a public speaker but as a teammate and person in general,” sophomore Saanvi Sakthivel, who received a Trophy in both speech and debate, said. 

“I felt I [had] found a sense of community within Speech and Debate as we all supported one another. It was fun to encourage one another as we all stepped out of our comfort zones to cultivate as speakers simultaneously.”

Overall, AHS students did amazing at Package Deal! Congratulations to the Speech and Debate team on their successes; we wish them good luck in the future!


Photos courtesy of Merjan Khwajazada