Debate Team Wins Top Honors

Debate TeamIn its second year, the El Camino College Compton Center Debate Team recently took home six awards at the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association (PSCFA) Cool-Off Tournament during the spring semester. Thirteen students from ECC Compton Center’s Communications 4 – Argumentation and Debate class participated in the rookie category competing with students from 21 colleges, including both two- and four-year institutions.

Three ECC Compton Center students were honored with Eloquent Speaker awards among a total of 10 such awards granted during the tournament. Jordan Washington received second 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 Andrea Chavez (3rd) and Zenia Lopez (5th).

“Receiving an Eloquent Speaker award was a surprise and an honor,” said Jordan Washington, a social behavior major who is hoping to transfer next fall to Morehouse College in Atlanta. “The team had agreed to approach the competition by having fun and doing our best. I didn’t expect to win because there were so many schools competing and all of the debaters were very good,” said Washington, a Compton resident who also won silver in the team debate with his peer Zenia Lopez. “It was a great experience, and I will be able to apply the skills I’ve learned as I continue my college education.”

In the Team Debate finals, ECC Compton Center took the top three spots. Karen Suna and Canaan White won gold in Team Debate, while two teams - Andrea Chavez and Jerimiah Polk, and Zenia Lopez and Jordan Washington – won silver in the final round. Other Compton Center Debate Team members who participated in the tournament include: David Diaz, Cecilia Garcia, Toure Harris, Felicia Hudson, Eduardo Morales, Natalie Orozco, and Yesnia Uribe.

The team is coached by Liza Rios, communications instructor, who is working with ECC Compton Center’s dean of student success to establish an official forensics program. A new Speech and Debate Club has recently been established for students, which is the first step toward reaching that goal. In the future, the plan is to add a forensics course under Communication Studies where students would earn credits for participation in debate tournaments.

 “Participating in the Speech and Debate Club, as well as the Argumentation and Debate class provides students with a life-changing opportunity of having a voice and using their critical thinking skills to express their arguments in the debate forum,” said Rios. “My class curriculum is designed so each student has about ten debates under his or her belt before the end of the semester.”

All ECC Compton Center students are invited to become members of the Speech and Debate Club to hone their public speaking and critical thinking skills; those interested in joining may contact Liza Rios at or (310) 900-1600, Ext. 2211. ECC Compton Center’s Speech and Debate Club will meet on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters.

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