Compton College Speech and Debate Team Wins Top Honors

Compton College Speech and Debate Team Wins Top HonorsEight Compton College speech and debate students recently competed at the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association Championship tournament held at Mount San Antonio College where 39 community colleges and universities were represented at the competition. Debate topics included the United States Federal Government ceasing all ties with Saudi Arabia, a thriving economy versus a thriving environment, and corrupt government versus no government at all.

Prior to four of Compton College's parliamentary debate teams advancing to the final round, all teams debated in four rounds each covering a different social issue. In the final rankings, two teams earned gold—Harry Huh/Keenan Owens, and Stephanie Silva/Fabian Martinez-Cruz. Two additional teams achieved silver—Kayla Vaughn/Dwight Kaufman, and Karina Vazquez/Lucia Rivas took silver.

"Being able to speak cohesively and deliberately is a necessity in almost every profession today, and debate class helped me to be a better speaker and critical thinker," said Compton College student Harry Huh, who transferred to Biola University this spring. "I'm sure in the future my experience will come in handy during job interviews or debates with coworkers."

Compton College Speech and Debate Team Wins Top HonorsIn addition to the team debate awards, all of the rookie debaters at the tournament were selected in rank order for the top 10 Eloquent Speakers competition. Compton College earned six out of the 10 Eloquent Speaker awards: Harry Huh placed first, Keenan Owens placed second, Stephanie Silva placed third, Kayla Vaughn placed fourth, Dwight Kaufman placed fifth, and Karina Vazquez placed ninth.

"This class and competition made me feel like I actually had a place where my voice and opinion was valued not just because I can speak well, but because I'm speaking on topics that are relevant not only to me, but to our nation as a whole and in some cases the world as a whole," said Compton College student Keenan Owens, a communications studies major who transferred to San Francisco State University in spring 2019.

Due to their tremendous performance at the tournament both in teams and as individuals, Compton College won the First Place Sweepstakes award in the "limited or small school" category.

"I knew early on in the semester that these students were going to be quite successful at the tournament," says Liza Rios, Compton College speech and debate team coach and communication studies instructor. "Over time, the speech and debate students have blossomed and discovered that they indeed have the skills to compete and succeed in an activity they understand can be intimidating."

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