Speech and debate team wraps up record-breaking season


Photo credit: Kylie Chryss-Connell

The Speech and Debate team competed in the California Lutheran University invitational on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2019. The team made history, with many students making it to the final rounds of the competition. SPEECH AND DEBATE TEAM. Natalie Grant (’19), Evan Bowman (’22), Isabella Silvers (’20), Jessica Tuchin (’21), Eva Dembo (’21) and Noa Wallock (’22). ROW 2: Lola Wolf (’19), Lena Jones (’20), Grace Carter (’20), Kylie Chryss-Connell (’21), Lily Kerner (’22), Rachael Azrialy (’21), Maddie Fenster (’20), Anna Brodsky (’20).

Whether are qualifying for state championships or taking home first place trophies for Lincoln-Douglas debate, the speech and debate team has been breaking records this year.

For the first time in Archer history at the La Costa Canyon tournament in November, sophomore Jessica Tuchin advanced to the semifinal round of the Lincoln-Douglas style debate. The team also, for the first time, qualified for the final round of an invitational at California Lutheran University. They had four students — the most in Archer history — advance to the California State Championships, which happened on the weekend of Saturday, May 4. For the first time, the team had two girls break to the semi-final rounds, with junior Grace Carter taking 14th place in Original Oratory and freshman Ava Rothenberg taking 16th place in Expository.

Rothenberg said that she is using the state championship as a springboard for next year.

“Speeches are really quite like a scientific process where, once you give your prototype or that first speech that you write in practice, every time you go to a tournament you’re getting feedback so that you can refine it and perfect it, and if you really apply that feedback and really try and work towards a better end… that’s what really makes it easier to do,” Rothenberg said. “[I’m] excited for next year. I mean, we’re always buzzing and thinking about new ideas and… new events and things to do, so I’m excited to see what happens next.”

Tuchin, who won first place in Lincoln-Douglas debate at the California Lutheran Invitational, explained how the wins have impacted the team.

“I’m just really proud of the team,” Tuchin said. “We worked really hard this year and I’m so glad it paid off.”

Sophomore Eva Dembo echoed Tuchin’s pride in the team and explained how they have made significant improvements from last year, specifically the four people going to the state tournaments.

“Last year, we only had one person go to state,” Dembo said. “[It’s] a huge improvement and we’re just really excited for the rest of the season and for next year.”

Sophomore Rachael Azrialy explained that she is also proud of the team, especially because of the dedication they have brought to what she described as a time-consuming activity.

“Everyone worked so hard on their speeches, and I’m so proud of everybody who made it to…state,” Azrialy said. “It takes a lot of courage to do that, and… it’s a big time commitment to write a whole speech by yourself.”

Tuchin explained that, although the season is coming to a close, the team has already planned out and acted upon their goals for next year.

“[We] are already working on starting our speeches for next year,” Tuchin said. “We can hit the ground running in September and hopefully get to tournaments… we’re hoping to start earlier next year.”