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The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Arcadia High Shines at SCDL Varsity Speech Tournament

Arcadia High school’s (AHS) Speech and Debate team once again went face to face with 15 competitive top-tier Speech and Debate teams at the Southern California Debate League’s Spring Varsity Individual Events tournament, which took place on Jan. 27 at AHS. 

Arcadia’s very own junior Evelyn Tsoi was one of the few automatic qualifiers to the State tournament, which will take place in April. Tsoi placed first in the U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking, where competitors are presented with a choice of three questions related to current United States events. Then after 30 minutes of preparation, speakers are to give a seven-minute speech answering one of the given three questions.  

In addition to Tsoi, all other AHS competitors delivered outstanding performances.

“Honestly it could’ve been worse, since this was a varsity tournament, and I’m pretty proud that I was able to get this far in the tournament,” said junior Rae Manzon, who placed third in Impromptu. 

In Impromptu Speaking, participants are only given a short preparation time—typically ranging from five to seven minutes, depending on the judge–to develop a speech on one of the three topics, which they have drawn from an envelope. Even with this short preparation time, they are expected to articulate their thoughts clearly and persuasively. Since Impromptu topics can cover a wide variety of subjects, participants often have to rely on their improvisation skills and draw on their general knowledge. Regardless of these challenges, Manzon was still able to perform her best!

Similarly, another participant, junior Avani Athavale, expressed contentment with her performance during the event. 

“For me personally it was really fun to break to finals, since it’s my first time breaking,” stated Athavale, who placed 7th in Declamation. 

Arcadia Speech and Debate members with their winning trophies.
(Left to right) Evelyn Tsoi, Avani Athavale, Howie Liang, Rae Manzon, Euan Laru-An, and Michelle Fan.

Declamation involves delivering a speech written or performed by someone else. It brings together the elements of public speaking seen in oratory and the engaging aspects of black book events. Where, competitors will stand in one spot and read from a prepared manuscript. Competitors are expected to speak passionately and project your voice. 

The speeches are performed in 10 minutes with a 30 second grace period in case timing or performances are slightly off. While Declamation is usually earnest, Athavale chooses a more humorous approach. 

“My speech was ‘This is What Happens When You Respond to Spam Emails,’said Athavale. “Unlike the usual speeches, mine was on the funnier side.”

Junior Michelle Fan, who placed fourth and sixth in Impromptu and Informative, respectively, also reflected on her experience during the tournament. 

“When practicing, you can do everything you can to improve your own speech. However, you learn the most from viewing other people’s perspectives when listening to rounds,” stated Fan.

Competitors walk to awards ceremonies.

Speech and Debate Coach Ashley Novak, who commended the seamless execution of the event. Novak noted the exceptional organization, with adults efficiently managing proceedings and students delivering impressive performances. 

“Even when it’s still so dark outside, [the tournament] was so well run. The adults were on top of everything and the kids did really well,” expressed Novak.

It’s safe to say that the Spring Varsity Southern California Debate was a success! As they move forward, may their passion for debate continue to shine! Congratulations and good luck to our AHS Speech and Debate team!


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