Debate Team Wins Six Awards at First Tournament

The newly formed Tartar Debate Team at ECC Compton Center took home six awards in its first competition at the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association (PSCFA) Cool-Off Tournament in April. Fourteen students from ECC Compton Center’s Communications 4 – Argumentation and Debate class participated in the rookie category competing with students from 23 community colleges.

Four ECC Compton Center students were honored with Eloquent Speaker awards among a total of 10 such awards granted during the tournament. Brittany Carranza received first place in the Eloquent Speaker competition, which is a cumulative ranking of the students’ debate skills during the entire tournament. Other Eloquent Speaker honorees from Compton Center include Jamilah Bazille (3rd), Christian Heard (4th), and Matthew Morris (7th).

“I thought I might have a chance to win an award, but I did not think I would win first place,” said Carranza who is a resident of Lynnwood. “In the first round, I was so nervous and I felt my voice was cracking,” said Carranza. “I tried to use that to my benefit by injecting passion to bring my speech alive and become more convincing in my argument. After that, I was not nervous and it was smooth sailing.”

In the Team Debate finals, ECC Compton Center took the top two spots. Christian Heard and Jamilah Bazille won gold in Team Debate, while Brittany Carranza and Emanuel Cabrera won silver in the fifth and final debate elimination round. Other Tartar Debate Team members who participated in the tournament include: Aryona Conway, Brandon Gardner, Samantha Perez, Sherry Rogers, Porchia Shallowhorn, Alyshia Stribling, Amanda Tisdale, Chambray Williams, and Jasmine Zambrano.

The team is coached by Argumentation and Debate class instructor Liza Rios, who worked with ECC Compton Center’s Associated Student Body to obtain sponsorship for the students’ participation in this tournament. Rios is working with ECC Compton Center’s dean of student success to establish an official forensics program. The next step would be to form a debate club, and then at some point add a forensics course under Communication Studies where students would earn credits for participation in debate tournaments.

“These students absolutely exceeded my expectations,” said Rios. “Our team’s winning combination was the strength in their debate structure and eloquent speaking style. My class curriculum is designed so each student has about ten debates under his or her belt before the end of the semester. That coupled with their experience analyzing and judging debates by their peers helped increase the students’ critical thinking skills.”

All 14 members of the Tartar Debate Team are first-year-students at ECC Compton Center. Rios plans to have the same team compete again, possibly with the addition of new students from the Argumentation and Debate class this fall. When a future debate club is established, all students are invited to participate to hone their public speaking and critical thinking skills.

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