The San Gabriel High School (SGHS) debate team started off the season with a bang at the Spartan Fall Classic on Oct. 29. The novices were able to go to their first ever public forum debate tournament and got experience from a different realm other than what SGHS provides for its students.
The Spartan Fall Classic was the first invitational debate tournament that was held this year. At Schurr High School, competitors from different schools were able to compete against one another as well as socialize with others. From this event, every competitor was able to learn different ways people structure their debate cases and compete in the variety of debate events.
“Being my first tournament, I did have a lot of fun,” freshman Ivy Luu said. “I was able to learn a lot of different things [about public forum debate] and experience how debates work.”
The Spartan Fall Classic was a nice starter for the novices since it was more festive due to Halloween following close after. Each year, Schurr High School holds the Spartan Fall Classic with a different theme to make tournaments fun and exciting for the competitors.
“[The theme] this year was centered around A Nightmare Before Christmas, so it’s always themed very cool and the kids always have a great time,” Jessica Sandercock, English teacher and speech and debate coach said.
The theme was able to calm the novices’ nerves a bit even though this was their first debate tournament. The novices were able to channel their inner Halloween spirit.
“The theme definitely boosted my mood because I was scared since this was my first tournament,” freshman Jordan Sycip said. “The theme made the whole experience more relaxing and memorable.”
Some varsity members were able to experience how it felt to help out their underclassmen work on their debate case as well as talk them through the day of how they could improve.
“This was the first time I helped the novices and I found out it is a big responsibility to practice with these novices,” senior Joey Nguyen said. “I was actually able to play a part in helping the novices improve and I was able to improve myself from this experience.”
The tournament was very intimidating, but the novices were able to get through their rounds efficiently.
“At first, it was scary because I didn’t know what I was doing, but after the first round, I was able to go through my next rounds more calmly,” Luu said. “As each round passed, I was able to become more confident with my speaking which I felt help[ed] with persuading the judge.”
At the end of each round, the novices were able to chat with beginners from other schools which allowed them to create relations with them.
“I was able to meet different people and it was really cool,” Sycip said. “It was interesting to see how other[s] worked and presented themselves in the rounds which gave me insight of what I could improve on.”
In the end, everyone who attended the tournament was able to have a good time and meet new people from different schools. The competitors were able to interact with one another and even take a few tips from each other.
“Overall, it was fun and they were able to learn new things,” Sandercock said. “The kids really enjoyed [the tournament] and they had fun and that’s all that matters.”