Grossmont College's Student News Media

The Summit

Grossmont College's Student News Media

The Summit

Grossmont College's Student News Media

The Summit

Debate and Travel

The Speech & Debate team represents Grossmont far and wide.
Photo by Pixabay

A class filled with focused and determined students, ready to seize their fine-tuned performances, joined Instructors prepared to help lead the way for success. This year’s Grossmont College Speech and Debate team is one for the ages. 

Over the years, Grossmont College’s Speech and Debate team, also known as “Forensics,” has consistently been active. The team has traveled extensively to present their diligent speeches.

Grossmont has maintained a Forensics team since the school’s opening over 60 years ago. Alongside being a class option, the Speech and Debate team focuses on argumentative discourse and dedicates hours of practice to refine their speeches.

From 12 individual events to choose from, students give speeches that range from informative, persuasive and impromptu speaking, to drama, poetry or program oral interpretation. 

On top of this, there are two styles of debate: Parliamentary Debate (NPDA or National Parliamentary Debate Association) and International Public Debate Association (IPDA). 

This March, Grossmont’s Forensics team made its way to Dublin, Ireland, to perform their prepared speeches. Three students represented the team, showcasing their individual speeches and debating skills for a chance at victory. 

Juliana Bertin, a member of the debate team, expressed excitement about the competition, highlighting the valuable skills gained from public speaking.

“ super-excited, and super excited to see the amazing competition,” Bertin said.

Bertin got to travel to Ireland and put in the work and long hours to get her performance just right. After coming to this class just last semester, Bertin encourages others to join the class, emphasizing its multifaceted benefits beyond public speaking.

“Public speaking is like the number one fear in the U.S., and so I think it’s something everyone can learn really valuable skills from,” Bertin said. 

Van Wheelan, a team member for two years, praised the fantastic experiences gained from traveling with the team, fostering tight bonds and unforgettable memories.

“You are going to someplace that is pretty much free of charge, which is already fantastic, but going there and getting to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience with other people is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Wheelan said. 

Being part of the team allows students to have the opportunity to travel and to be competitive. It’s a way to get your foot in the door of many different types of experiences. 

“It’s also just fantastic to be able to meet other people who are kind of the best of the best, and being able to, like, meet them and learn from them,” Wheelen said. “Just being able to widen your worldview in such a fantastic way.”

The Forensics team has traveled far and wide, traveling internationally to places like Japan, just last year, China in 2007 and 2010, and London in 2008.

Besides international travel, the team has been to plenty of places nationally around the U.S. such as  Portland, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Cleveland, as well as Daytona Beach, Florida, and Bethesda, Maryland.

While you do get to travel and learn new skills, being part of the team is very demanding. You have to compete in many tournaments, at new places, which take up most of your day. Tournaments are usually held at different colleges and sometimes hotels.

Categorized speeches are held in different rooms all throughout the campuses holding the tournament, which makes it a long day of walking and trying to find where the next speech is being held. 

Sierra Yale, Forensics team member, said: “They’re very long days. You’re up until 3 a.m., and then you have to wake up at like 6 a.m. mentally demanding.”

But being part of their team means putting in the work, to become better and achieve goals you might not have ever thought of. While public speaking and learning new speeches can be nerve-wracking, it is also very rewarding.

“It depends on the event,” Yale said. “Debate I don’t get nervous for, because I have that 30-minute prep and I’m confident in myself.”

Sophia Lepari, another Forensics member, disagreed: “I think debate is still kind of nerve-wracking because you really don’t know what they are going to bring up. As much as you can plan to look at counter-arguments, you really don’t know what they are going to say.”

Being part of this team takes people out of their comfort zone and creates knowledge-hungry, hardworking students. 

While these students acknowledge that public speaking and giving their speeches can be nerve-wracking, they said they wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Wheelan said: “For me when I first started it was very nerve-wracking, and even now sometimes It can get very nerve-wracking, but having done it for a while, those nerves turn into excitement, and it becomes a lot easier to handle.”

Every one of these students joined the team for different reasons, whether it be to satisfy unit requirements or to practice public speaking. They end up staying for the community Speech and Debate has provided them, the friends they have made, and the thrill and the excitement they feel when performing their speeches.

In the end, each student hopes to be able to travel more internationally with Bertin wanting to go to Australia, Lepari wanting to go to Greece, and Yale wanting to go to Spain. But if it was up to Wheelan, a second trip to Japan would be a delight.  

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Summit
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Grossmont College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Alana Mullaly
Alana Mullaly, Editor-in-Chief
Journalism major who has a passion for photojournalism that tells meaningful stories. In her spare time, she likes to exercise, read and write.
Donate to The Summit
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Summit Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *