Speech and Debate attends National Qualifications

Katelynn Showers, Feature editor

On Thurs. March 31, Fri. April 1, and Sat. April 2, McClintock’s Speech and Debate team attended National Qualifications [Nat Quals] hosted at Mountain View High School. Four Speech and Debate members qualified for Nationals: senior Tess Green, sophomores Michael Bernard and Vincent Gomez, and senior Roman Shemakov.

“Qualifying is a very surreal feeling for me. Michael and I were standing on stage waiting for our awards and I could do nothing but hold my breath. When they announced that we were second place we felt relieved and when we got off the stage we broke down with tears of joy,” said Gomez.

National Qualifcations is a Speech and Debate tournament and all the teams that participate in it belong to the National Speech and Debate Association. The top three in the Tempe Union High School District qualify for nationals and there are districts in all states, as well as Purto Rico and Asia.

“It’s very, very competitive and there’s lots of students that compete,” Speech and Debate coach Tim Cornwell said.

Just like a sport, Speech and Debate takes a lot of hard work, commitment, and practice.

“I’ve been working for about a year on the same two pieces and I’ve made modifications every time.” Green said.

Green was entered in Original Orator, a competitive event where competitors deliver a 10 minute factual speech on a subject of their choosing; and Informative Speech, where students deliver a self-written 10 minute speech on a topic of their choosing using evidence, logic, and option visual aids. Green is competing in Informative Speaking for Nationals.

Bernard and Gomez were entered in Duo Interpretation where two competitors team up to deliver a ten minute performance of a published play or story. They will compete in Duo Interpretation during Nationals.

“[My goals for Nationals are] to definitely be better than last year but to qualify for Nationals with my best friend,” Bernard said.

Shemakov was already qualified for Nationals by being 11th in Nationals from the previous year and competes in International Extemporaneous Speaking, an event where a competitor is presented with a choice of three questions related to international current events and in 30 minutes they must prepare a seven minute speech answering the selected questions.

“Giving multiple speeches in one day is beyond tiring and at the end of each tournament day is I’m almost on the brink of death.” Shemakov said.

Cornwell has watched Green, Bernard, Gomez, and Shemakov grow throughout the year.

“Michael and Vincent have the same sentiment and everyone loves them. They’re positive people and they have a positive attitude. Tess has been a great leader, she helps others and works hard. Roman has only spoken English for six and a half years and he works really hard. All four have helped with other kids on the team. I’ve watched them work hard, become more mature, and they have made me proud,” Cornwell said.

Nationals will be held June 13 through June 17 in Salt Lake City, Utah.