(L-R): Gavin Gould, Sarah Landeros, Mackenzie Sise, Sabrinna Gonzales, Kendra McKinley, Brett Andrade, Victor Lumidao, Austin Castro, Beto Franco.
 (L-R): Alexis Gerardo, Derek Tristao.

(MODESTO, CA)—The Modesto Junior College speech and debate team took the second-place overall sweepstakes award at the Northern California Forensics Association regional championship on February 22-24 at University of the Pacific. MJC competitors racked up their sweepstakes points with impressive personal wins in individual and debate events.

In individual events Alexis Gerardo and Kendra McKinley took second and third place in open informative speaking. Gavin Gould took second place in novice extemporaneous speaking. Austin Castro was a finalist in open extemporaneous speaking. Victor Lumidao and McKinley were finalists in open communication analysis. Beto Franco was a finalist in novice persuasive speaking and Lumidao was a finalist in open persuasive speaking.

In debate events Mackenzie Sise took a finalist award in novice Lincoln-Douglas debate and was the top speaker in her division. In novice Parliamentary debate, the partnership of Derek Tristao and his hybrid partner from City College of San Francisco took a quarterfinalist award. The partnership of Gerardo and Sarah Landeros took a semifinalist award, as did the partnership of Brett Andrade and Sise. In open Parliamentary debate, Gould and his hybrid partner from Solano College took a quarterfinalist award. Tristao, Andrade and Sise were also recognized as the ninth, seventh and second place overall speakers in novice Parliamentary debate.

On March 13-17, the team will travel to the California Community College Forensics Association state championship. For more information about the team, including travel schedule and results, visit www.MJCForensics.org.

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DVC speech & debate team – Northern California Forensics Association 1st place overall champions

Over the last three years the DVC”s speech and debate team (also known as forensics) has become the most dominant team in northern California. This last weekend the 40+ person team won their 3rd consecutive NCFA Championship, crowning DVC the undisputed champions of NorCal.

The DVC community college students defeated students from UC Berkeley, the University of the Pacific and many other universities and community colleges. Not only didDVC win overall as a team by almost double the next closest team’s score, but many individual students were named champions in their specific events.

The forensics team competes in a wide range of events, each emphasizing different communication and critical thinking skills, and displayed excellence across all of them. This northern California championship is also a great opportunity for alumni to come out to support the team. Multiple alumni of the forensics team, across multiple eras of the teams illustrious history, helped serve as judges for the tournament and offer words of wisdom as the students head into competition. 

Below is a list of the team’s accomplishments from the NCFA Championship. Send your support to the team as they head off to State and Nationals, or consider joining the team next fall by enrolling on COMM 163 or emailing rhawkins@dvc.edu for more information.

Robert Hawkins

Director of Forensics

Diablo Valley College: Northern California Forensics Association 1st Place Overall Champions (x3 Peat)

Open Duo Interpretation

1st Chris Pratt and Matt Denny
2nd Sydney Alexander And Nicole Sims
3rd Nicole Sims and Matt Denny 
4th Vegas Darst-Horn And Justin Crawford

Open Dramatic Interpretation

1st Nicole Sims
2nd Chris Pratt
3rd Justin Crawford
4th Miranda Hansen

Open Informative Speaking

1st Cierra White

Open After Dinner Speaking

1st Nicole Sims

Open Persuasive Speaking

5th Cierra White

Open Communication Analysis

3rd Miranda Hansen

Open Prose

3rd Miranda Hansen
5th Vegas Darst-Horn

Open Program Oral Interpretation

2nd Sydney Alexander

Student Fellowship Award Winner

Nicole Sims

Overall Speaker

2nd Place Nicole Sims

Junior Varsity Parliamentary Debate

3rd Place Eric Tubbs and Gabriel Zimmerman

JV Parliamentary Debate Speaker

2nd Place Gabriel Zimmerman
9th Place Eric Tubbs 

Novice Extemporaneous Speaking

1st Gabriel Zimmerman 

Novice Program Oral Interpretation

1st La La Miller
2nd Elva Gonzales

Novice Persuasive Speaking

1st Anastasia Tejada
2nd Ariel Tonessi

Novice Informative Speaking

2nd Sarah Richards 
4th Haley Burr

Novice Prose Interpretation

2nd La La Miller
3rd Layla Keshavarz-Fard
5th Yuya Shimbori

Novice Poetry Interpretation

2nd Paola Lopez

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Butte College Speech and Debate team wins at Chabot

The Butte College Speech and Debate team had their first tournament of the semester this Friday at Chabot College in Hayward. Returning competitors Ashley Sutton and Patrick Mullholland took home 4 awards! Patrick took 1st in Impromptu Speaking and 3rd in After Dinner Speaking. Ashley (far right) took 2nd in Informative Speaking and was a finalist in Impromptu. New teammates Jenine Vandor (far left) and Lilliana Diego (middle) we’re able to get events tournament ready a mere two weeks into the semester, which is a major feat, and had a great first experience. We’re looking forward to several tournament travel opportunities coming up!

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Butte College Speech and Debate Team Has Wins at Reno

This past weekend the Butte College Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team headed to Reno, Nevada for the Biggest Little City Classic tournament.  This tournament was a swing, meaning there are two separate tournaments folded into the same weekend.  Sixteen colleges and universities competed in a variety of events.  Our four students – Kathryn Eppley, Claire McAlister, Ashley Sutton, and Patrick Mulholland – are all in their first semester and all came away with wins!

On the first day of competition, Ashley Sutton placed 2nd in Informative speaking with her speech uncovering new uses for artificial intelligence in fighting poverty.  This was a collapsed round, meaning student of novice and advanced levels of experience competed together.  On day two, she placed 3rd in Informative speaking and was a finalist in Impromptu speaking.  A great showing for her very first tournament!

Patrick Mulholland advanced to final rounds on the first day in Impromptu Speaking, which was the largest event at the tournament.  Then, he took second place in After Dinner Speaking with his humorous persuasive speech on the feral pig population plaguing the nation.  This was also a highly competitive collapsed event.

Claire McAlister placed 2nd in collapsed After Dinner Speaking with her dark humor persuading for action addressing the maternal mortality rate in the US.  She also placed second in Impromptu speaking.  This is her second tournament in a row winning in these categories.

Kathryn Eppley took 3rd in Persuasive Speaking with her speech addressing the lack of programs for formerly incarcerated youth.  Audiences are continuously moved by her passion for this topic and her personal work in that same area.

We face competition from large powerhouse schools like San Francisco State and University of the Pacific on a regular basis – to come away with wins like this speaks to just how hard these students have been working.  As a team, we are excited for our next competition at the start of November in Stockton!


Shannan Troxel-Andreas

Instructor, Communication Studies

Director of Forensics (Speech and Debate)

LRC 270

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Sac State Debate team has success on both coasts!

SacStateDebateLogoSacramento State’s Hornet Debate Team has returned home from a long and successful weekend of debate competitions on both the East and West Coast.

On Saturday, October 6th, six debaters traveled to the campus of Santa Rosa Junior College for its 50th annual Invitational debate tournament. Sac State had three students competing in the novice division and three in the varsity division.

Ayyah Al-jibouri, in her first ever varsity competition, finished the preliminary rounds with an undefeated record of 4-0, racking up wins against Chabot College, City College of San Francisco, and two wins against the University of the Pacific. Ayyah advanced to the elimination rounds where she finished the tournament in the semi-final round with a close loss to the eventual tournament champion from Chabot College.

In the novice division, both Zia Landis (4-0) and Avneet Uppal (3-1) finished the preliminary rounds with winning records and advanced to the elimination rounds. Zia’s undefeated record earned her a bye through the first round of elminations where Avneet won a quarter final round against Diablo Valley College. Unfortunately, due to the bracket, Avneet met Zia in the semi-finals and was eliminated. This set up a final round for Zia where she narrowly lost to Modesto Junior College, bringing home 2nd place.

Meanwhile, on the east coast, four Sac State debaters competed in the varsity division at Lafayette College in Easton Pennsylvania. This is the fourth consecutive year that Sac State has traveled to this tournament and we have had students advance to the semi-finals each year. This season was a bit different. Miranda Konoplisky, in her second tournament with Sac State after transferring from Diablo Valley College, completed the six preliminary debates with a record of 4 wins and 2 losses, racking up wins against St. Anselms College, Penn State, and the host Lafayette along the way. This record earned her the 5th seed in the tournament and a bye in the first round of eliminations. In the quarter finals, Miranda defeated Capital University, avenging one of her losses in the preliminary rounds. In the semi-finals, Miranda defeated the top seed from Penn State University, setting up a final round debate against Central Michigan University. This is the first time a Sacramento State debater has advanced passed semi-finals in this tournament, and Miranda didn’t stop there. In a very tough debate, Miranda won a split decision (2-1) to take home the championship!

Although the debaters compete one on one, every tournament is a team effort. The Sacramento State debate team is having tremendous success this early in the season due to cooperation and team work. We are looking forward to another great opportunity to prove ourselves at the Biggest Little City Classic on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno in a couple of weeks. Stingers up!

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Pacific Forensics starts season off strong on its way to 5th Place Ranking Nationally

By Steven Kalani Farias, Director of Forensics

With three tournaments in three weekends, Pacific Forensics is off to a fast start as it finds itself 5th overall in the National Parliamentary Debate Association rankings with its top team of Senior Kayla Gerdes and Junior Dominic Lesaca ranked 8th in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence rankings. These rankings cap off a strong start to the season that saw the team with multiple elimination round appearances, first place finishes in individual events, and three top 3 overall finishes as a university.

Golden Gate Opener

First was the Northern California Forensics Association’s season opener—The Golden Gate Opener hosted by San Francisco State University from Sept. 21-23. On their way to a second overall finish in tournament sweepstakes (the 4th straight year the team has finished in the top five at the season opener), the team received contributions from both returning and new competitors. First was parliamentary debate on Friday and Saturday where 10 students (including 5 new students) competed in partnerships of 2 against schools such as UC Berkeley, St. Mary’s, and University of Nevada, Reno. Gerdes and Lesaca and transfer Junior’s Alan Fishman and Robert Torralva finished prelims with a 5-1 record while Junior Ravi Prasad and Freshman Arshita Sandhiparthi (in her first collegiate tournament ever!) finished with a 4-2 record.  All three teams would make it to the quarterfinal round of the tournament.

Senior Joslynn Howard and Sophomore Cassidy Johnson celebrate multiple victories at Season Opener

1: Senior Joslynn Howard and Sophomore Cassidy Johnson celebrate multiple victories at Season Opener

Next up were the Individual Events where two tournaments happened across Saturday and Sunday. Across the two tournaments Pacific competitors would win a total of 16 awards across six events. Highlighting these placings were: Senior Joslynn Howard who had three first place finishes (including TWO in Programmed Oral Interpretation) and another placing; Senior George Cruz took 1st in Poetry on day one and 3rd on day two; Sophomore Cassidy Johnson who took 1st place TWICE in After Dinner Speaking; and Junior Ravi Prasad who took 1st place in Impromptu Speaking and 3rd place in Extemporaneous speaking. Freshman Cassandra Ribeiro and Arshita Sandhiparthi, along with Junior Ariella Aung would each place multiple times across multiple events as well

Finally, there was Lincoln Douglas Debate where Pacific debaters Fishman, Torralva, Lesaca, and Gerdes would finish in quarterfinals, quarterfinals, semi-finals, and in 2nd place. respectively, in Open division. Sophomore Connor Lemmon would be the Tournament Champion in Junior Division!

Rice University Classic

Seniors Kayla Gerdes and Joslynn Howard excited to start their fourth and final year on the team with multiple victories

2: Seniors Kayla Gerdes and Joslynn Howard excited to start their fourth and final year on the team with multiple victories

Next the team would travel to Houston, Tx to compete at the Rice University Classic from Sept. 28-Sept. 30 where Gerdes and Lesaca would debate against 3 of the top 10 teams in the nation; also, Howard and Prasad would compete against some of the fiercest Individual Events competition Texas can offer. With a 4-1 record, Gerdes and Lesaca would advance to quarterfinals once again and both would find themselves as top 10 overall debaters at the tournament. Not to be outdone, Howard would place three times once again with a 1st place finish in Prose and a 1st and 2nd place finishes in Programmed Oral Interpretation. Prasad would place in Extemporaneous speaking as well.

Santa Rosa Junior College Invitational

Because the veteran members of the team travelled to Houston immediately after the season opener, they would sit out the next tournament while newer members got another opportunity to showcase their abilities. Traveling to Santa Rosa Junior College Oct. 5-6, Pacific would once again use an entire team effort to take 2nd Overall in Individual Events Sweepstakes and claim Tournament Champions in University Sweepstakes.

On day one, new comers Junior Marlu Reyes and Freshman Cassandra Ribeiro would advance to the quarterfinal round in Open NPDA debate at their first tournament debating together! On day two, Connor Lemmon would prove that his success at the Golden Gate Opener in Lincoln Douglas was no fluke making it to Semi-Finals in Open Lincoln Douglas debate. Finally, Cassidy Johnson would win 1st place in After Dinner Speaking and Prose interpretation, Arshita Sandhiparthi would win 1st place in Novice Impromptu Speaking as her freshman counterparts Cassandra Ribeiro and Ta’Niyia Smith would finish 3rd and 4th, respectively. Ta’Niyia would also place 5th in Poetry Interpretation.

With well over 30 awards across three tournaments the team is well on its way to another strong season. We know that the rankings will change and if we do not keep working hard we will fall behind other programs. Still, it feels good to be ranked so high for now and we hope to carry our early success forward.

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Hartnell Speech Team Has Continued Success at Santa Rosa

Hartnell Speech Team Has Continued Success at Santa Rosa

Front row: Keishawn Robinson, Athena Rodriguez, Alessandra Filiti, Valerie Becerra, Coach Jason Hough.
Back row: Victor Nambo, Anthony Fashano, Luke Lundin, Isaac Rodriguez, Victor Marquez

The Hartnell Speech Team continued its season success with several individual competitor awards at the Santa Rosa Junior College Invitational, October 6.

For the second tournament in a row, Anthony Fashano led the team with a 1st place finish in Open Persuasive Speaking. His topic calls for greater legal limits to stop the practice of civil asset forfeiture: the ability for authorities to confiscate personal property of individuals simply suspected of a crime, rather than actually found guilty.

“Anthony is really coming into his own as a speaker,” said Coach Jason Hough. “His topic is engaging and relatable to a broad audience.”

Other awards included:

  • Luke Lundin: 2nd Place, Open Informative Speaking
  • Keishawn Johnson: 3rd Place, Novice Prose Interpretation; 5th Place Open Program of Oral Interpretation;
  • Alessandra Filiti: 3rd Place, Open Persuasive Speaking
  • Valerie Becerra: 4th Place, Open After Dinner Speaking

Also competing for the team were Isaac Rodriguez, Victor Marquez and Victor Nambo.

Assisting the team was student Athena Rodriguez.

The team’s next competition will be November 2 at the Mustang Invitational, sponsored by San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton.

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Modesto Junior College Speech & Debate Starts Off Another Great Season

THe MJC Team at the GGO Season Open 2018

(MODESTO, CA 9/24/18)—The Modesto Junior College Speech & Debate team ushered in the start of fall at the Golden Gate Opener tournament at San Francisco State University from September 22-23. Over two days, six MJC students competed against sixteen other colleges and universities in speech and debate events.  In the end, MJC earned the fourth-place sweepstakes award.

The competition was a “swing,” meaning there are two full tournaments over the course of the weekend and competitors have the chance to win in their events twice. MJC students held their own against two-year and four-year institutions, including schools from Nevada and Oregon. At the end of the weekend, MJC students collected 13 awards.

The results from the first day of the tournament are as follows: In Open Informative Speaking, Kendra McKinley took third place. Alexis Gerardo was awarded fourth place and recognized as Top Novice. In Open Poetry, McKinley took home a finalist award. In Novice Persuasive speaking, Cindy Cuaraque took home third place. In Novice Prose, Jacqueline In earned first place.

The results from the second day of the tournament are as follows: In Open Informative speaking, McKinley took second place. In Open Poetry, McKinley took home a finalist award. In Novice Prose, In earned a finalist award. In Novice Persuasive, Cuaraque earned a finalist award.

MJC students also tested their wit and critical thinking in debate. In Novice Lincoln-Douglas debate, Daylon Hawn broke into out-rounds and debated in semi-finals, taking home an award. He was also recognized as the first place Novice speaker in Lincoln-Douglas debate. In the Junior division, Gavin Gould was recognized as the fifth-place speaker.

Collectively, MJC students performed well enough that the team earned the fourth-place community college sweepstakes award.

“This is an exciting start to the season,” says MJC Communication Studies Instructor and Assistant Director of Forensics, Taure Shimp. “Most of the students who competed are brand-new to the team. They only had four weeks of preparation before heading into competition, but it’s already clear they’ve got the ability to go far.” On October 5-6, MJC Forensics will travel to Santa Rosa, CA for another round of competition. For more information about the team including travel schedule and results, you can visit their website at www.MJCForensics.org

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Hartnell Speech Team Successful at Season Opener

The Hartnell Speech Team kicked off its 2018/2019 season with multiple individual awards at the Golden Gate Opener Day 2 tournament held on the campus of San Francisco State University.

Leading the team was newcomer Anthony Fashano with his persuasive speech concerning the practice of civil asset forfeiture by police. He earned 2nd place in the Novice Division.

“We are very proud of Anthony’s early success,” said coach Jason Hough. “We have a young team with mainly new competitors, so it should be an exciting season.”

Other awards included:

Hartnell Speech team at GGO tournament

Front Row: Alessandra Filiti, Athena Ramirez, Michaela Miller, Valerie Becerra, Coach Daniel Lopez.
Back Row: Coach Jason Hough, Victor Marquez, Isaac Rodriguez, Luke Lundin, Anthony Fashano, Victor Nambo.

  • Keishawn Robinson, 3rd Place, Novice Prose Interpretation
  • Athena Ramirez, 4th place, Open Persuasive Speaking
  • Alessandra Filiti, 4th place, Novice Persuasive Speaking
  • Luke Lundin, 4th place, Open Informative Speaking
  • Isaac Rodriguez and Victor Nambo, 5th place, Open Dramatic Duo Interpretation

Not receiving an award, but recognized as the top novice in Program of Oral Interpretation, was Michaela Miller.

Also competing for the team were Valerie Becerra and Victor Marquez.

The team will compete next at the Santa Rosa Junior College Invitational, October 6.




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Butte College Speech and Debate Wins at San Francisco State

The forensics team traveled to San Francisco for their first competition of the year this past weekend. Patrick Mullholland (pictured far right), Kathryn Eppley (far left), and Claire McAlister (pictured center), all in their first semester on the team, did a fantastic job and competed in two events each!

Day 1 results: Kathryn advanced into novice Persuasive Speaking finals, Claire advanced into finals for Impromptu Speaking and was awarded top novice for her After Dinner Speech (a speech to entertain).

Day 2 results: Kathryn took 3rd place in Novice Persuasive Speaking, Claire took 3rd place in Impromptu Speaking and also advanced to final rounds of After Dinner Speaking. ADS was collapsed both days, meaning, those rounds of competition included novice and experienced speakers together.

We are so proud of these three Butte College representatives and excited for our next tournament this October in Reno!

Shannan Troxel-Andreas

Instructor, Communication Studies

Director of Forensics (Speech and Debate)


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