Three Speech and Debate team members, Taylor Thomas (TT), Tiffany Chiang (TC) and Brandon Chau (BC), qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) tournament. They are qualified for Original Oratory, Congress-Senate and Congress-House, respectively. The competition will be taking place in Salt Lake City from June 12 to 17.
Question: How do you feel about making it to Nationals?
TT: It was absolutely surreal to qualify to the national tournament. After spending three years in Speech and Debate, I was really proud of everything I accomplished in forensics. But, to be honest, there was no better way to end my debate journey than at the national tournament. I’m so grateful to be ending the culmination of years of hard work surrounded by the best in the nation in Salt Lake City.
TC: Speech and Debate plays such a large role in my life, so I’m extremely grateful and happy that I was able to qualify to Nationals my senior year.
BC: I feel very accomplished for making it to nationals especially as a freshman. I feel like I made my captains proud as well as my coach [Mr. Tong]. I’m very excited to go to Nationals because I never really traveled before.
Question: How has making it to nationals impacted you?
TT: Qualifying to the national tournament has truly helped me realize how rewarding Speech and Debate has been for me throughout high school. It reminded me why I spend so much time practicing and why I love doing what I do. Language is so unbelievably powerful and, as kids, we don’t often realize that. The opportunity to have my voice be heard by others who share the same activity is going to be an experience I’ll never forget.
TC: As a captain, I felt discouraged that I missed qualifying to the state tournament by one point because I felt that I wasn’t living up to certain standards or proving my abilities through results. Although I was discouraged, I felt the support and love of my friends and Mr. Tong, and I feel truly honored and humbled to be part of such a wholesome team. Being able to share this experience with two of my closest friends, Taylor and Brandon, is just the icing on the cake!
BC: I’m excited because I get to compete against some of the best in the country. It provides me a chance to learn and meet new people.