[Posted March 1, 2016] In just its first year as a re-formed, on-campus club, Uni’s Speech & Debate Club qualified two individuals and one alternate to the California High School Speech Association all-state tournament in Santa Clara.
Club sponsor Jocelyn Tabata reported on the results from the February 20 Western Bay Forensics League Qualifying Tournament at Torrence High School:
“Four members of the Uni Speech and Debate Club competed in the tournament, and all progressed into semis and then three into finals!
“The qualifying tournament began with three preliminary rounds. A semi-final round followed, concluding with final rounds. At stake were qualifying spots for the 2016 California State High School Speech Association State Tournament. The top four in each of the events would earn a spot in the state tournament.
“Two of Uni’s own, Aaron Rovinsky and Hannah Grace Smith, earned spots in Impromptu and Oratorical Interpretation, respectively.
“Numerous schools competed, entering only their most competitive members. We are especially proud of Uni’s squad, which has experienced much success in its first year of competition and active involvement. While four have competed throughout the year, several others joined weekly club meetings to learn more about the craft. Several new members joined recently, bringing the total of club members to more than 15. Many are freshmen!
“The state tournament is being held in Santa Clara from April 15-17. We look forward to sharing with you the excitement and inspiration of that experience and many others in the months, years to come.
“In the meantime, the squad is interested in learning more about debate, and is preparing for their first debate tournament on April 2-3.
“Thank you so much for making these experiences possible, both for the club’s competitors as well as those members gaining their confidence to compete in the future. We are blessed with the support of a wonderful faculty advisor, Rachel Juarez, and coach extraordinaire, Ethan Keogh. Both have gone above and beyond to help Uni students thrive. And UHEF’s support makes all this possible!”
Coach Keogh added that “[d]epending on the event, there were either three or four who qualify from our league to compete at State.” The individual results:
- Pradeep Muthu competed in Oratorical Interpretation and Impromptu Speaking. He was a semi-finalist in Impromptu Speaking.
- Ari Zapata competed in Dramatic Interpretation and was a finalist. He finished sixth overall and is an alternate for State.
- Aaron Rovinsky also competed in Oratorical Interpretation and Impromptu Speaking. He was a finalist in Impromptu Speaking, ended up fourth overall, and is going to State as a freshman.
- Hannah Grace Smith took seventh overall in Impromptu Speaking and is an alternate for State in that event. She finished fourth overall in Oratorical Interpretation and will be representing Uni at the State Championships.
Added Keogh, “I’m hugely proud of what our team has accomplished in so little time. We look forward to some tough competition at State on the weekend of April 15th. We are very grateful to the school and the Foundation empowering this team to represent Uni at State and beyond.”
Thanks to contributions from alumni and friends, the Uni Hi Educational Foundation provided funding for the Speech & Debate Club’s entry fees and support costs for its 2015-16 season. If you’d like to help the Speech & Debate Club into the future, contact the UHEF right away!