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2019

  • April

    SA Debate Competes at NDCA National Championship

    Varsity debaters Gibran Hassan '19 and Hannah Nabavi '20 had an exciting weekend in Chicago, IL, where they competed at the National Debate Coaches Association National Championship against 100 of the best teams in the country. Hannah and Gibran are the the second team from SA Debate to ever represent Sonoma Academy at this prestigious national tournament. They competed against teams from Massachusetts, Texas, and Illinois, and won several of their debates. Gibran has much to be proud of after four years of competing in national circuit debate, and Hannah is gearing up for another successful year on the circuit. 

    Next up, SA Debate heads to the California State Championship with the speech team, which will be held at CSU Long Beach in May. Congrats Hannah and Gibran! 
    Read More
  • March

    SA Speech Competes at National Qualifier

    This past weekend at Lowell High School in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Speech Association held its district qualifier for the National Tournament. Elannah De La O '20 and Emma Hartley '20, who both recently qualified for the California State Tournament, showed up to compete for a spot at nationals. Our league, which comprises San Francisco, the East Bay and the Greater Bay Area, is one of the most successful in both the state and the country, making the district qualifier a difficult tournament at par with some of the most competitive tournaments on the speech circuit. 

    Both Elannah and Emma impressed the judges in their preliminary rounds and broke to semi-finals, which is an incredible feat at a tournament of this caliber. Elannah  competed in Program Oral Interpretation, in which she weaves together six different pieces about the immigrant experience, including the song "One Time, One Night" by Los Lobos. Emma qualified to State in Original Advocacy, but at this tournament, she entered her piece about black lung disease in Original Oratory. In a large pool of experienced Oratory competitors, it is especially impressive that Emma advanced to semi-finals. Though neither of them ultimately qualified, Elannah and Emma had a great day of competition. These top competitors have much to be proud of, and will represent Sonoma Academy and the Bay Area well at the State Tournament. 

    Read More
  • Elannah De La O '20 Competes in Lion's Club Youth Speaker Contest

    Last night at the Windsor Community Center, one of the champions from SA's speech team headed into the Lion's Club Youth Speaker Contest, in which a high school student prepares a ten-minute speech on a different topic each year. This year's topic was "Freedom of the Press: What does it mean?" To compete at the community level, Elannah had already won at the club level at the Lions Club of Montgomery Village. Her speech was a powerful contemplation of the different narratives (both liberal and conservative) that threaten to control media and obscure the truth. Elannah ended her speech with a personal statement in which she views the press as playing the role of a fourth power in our constitutional system of checks and balances. 
     
    While Elannah did not advance to the district level, there is much for her to be proud of. She has been a champion in the Golden Gate Speech Association, and she will be representing the Bay Area at the State Tournament this year at Long Beach in her event, which is Thematic Interpretation. In addition to her league competition, she has been adding community events such as this Lions Club competition. You might recall, last fall, Elannah also attended a Tellabration! event held at the Sebastopol Public Library, where she told a beautiful story of gratitude about the life of her beloved uncle. 
     
    Read More
  • SA Debate Competes at JV/Novice National Championship

    SA Debate had a successful weekend at the Western JV/Novice National Championship held at San Francisco State from March 9-10. We competed against the top first and second year teams from all over the West Coast; Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 competed in novice, and Zoe Price '21 and Adri Kornfein '21 debated in the JV division. Both teams won multiple debates and had a fantastic end to their season.

    Huge thanks to Gibran Hassan '19 and Claire Stephens '19 for judging, and to Blue Stringer '22 for coaching support! Next up, Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan head to the NDCA National Championship in April.
    Read More
  • Big Squad Heading to State Championship in Speech

    Brandon Spars
    This is the biggest group of qualifiers and alternates we have ever had. We attended the Qualifier Tournament for Speech held at James Logan High School with fifteen students, and eleven of those students broke to the final round, which means they were at the very least an alternate. Five of our students then made the top eight, thereby assuring themselves of one of the coveted bids for the State Championship Tournament, which will be held at CSU Long Beach on May 3-5. Elannah De La O '20 qualed with her Program in Oral Interpretation; Emma Hartley '20, with her Advocacy; Reece Stromberg '19, in National Extemporaneous; Veronica Aranda '21 and Ellie Ramos '21, with their Duo Interpretation.

    This left Elliot Harrison-Lee '19, Jamie Potter '19, Anika McCarthy Belash '20, Christian Hernandez '20, Gavin Patchet '19, and Zoe Price '21 as alternates. With all the shifting that is taking place in the rankings as a result of double entries and preferences, some of these students may very well end up in Long Beach as well.

    Sonoma Academy won the 2018-2019 Sweepstakes Award for Small Schools in Speech. This award was given to us for our performance throughout this year at the Golden Gate Speech Association League Tournaments. I am quite sure in saying that this award was due in large, large part to the incredible leadership by our team captains this year, Casey McKay '19 and Gavin Patchet '19. They led not only by example, remaining competitive all year at every tournament, but also with their dedication to their teammates. They made sure that practice was taken seriously, and that fun energy was always used for productive purposes.

    This was a long day of judging for parents, including Leslie Harrison, Ted Patchet, and Renata Belash. But three faculty members also joined the judging crew: Michele Martin, Drew Gloger (along with daughter, Pam), and Colin McNamara, the students were extra energized by the presence of their teachers. They were very proud that their teachers got to see the high level of competition with Bay Area Schools that they go up against nearly every other weekend.
    Read More
  • SA Debate still #1 Policy Debate Team in the Bay Area, Debaters Qualify for State Championship

    Laila
    For the fourth year in a row, the SA Debate Team won the Sweepstakes Award for Policy Debate in the Golden Gate Speech Association, the governing body for Speech & Debate in the Bay Area. The award is a result of the cumulative success of the entire team over the course of the competition year. The feat is especially impressive in that SA is a much smaller school than most of our competitors; the second and third place Policy schools both have thousands of students!

    Additionally, at this past weekend's State Qualifier Tournament, Isabelle Elder '19 and Olivia Synek '19 qualified to the State Championship Tournament to be held at CSU Long Beach in May. Emily Kassner-Marks '19 and Rachel Gothelf '19 are the 1st Alternates to State, and Gibran Hassan '19 and Hannah Nabavi '20 are 2nd Alternates.

    Congratulations to the whole squad who had an amazing showing, including Adri Kornfein '21, Miron English '21, Jack Jacobs '22, Mateo Mijares '22, Blue Stringer '22, and Jackie Cardiel '22.

    Next up, Coach Lani will be taking several teams to the Western JV/Novice Championship Tournament March 8-9 at SF State.
    Read More
  • February

    SA Debate at Stanford Invitational

    SA Debate had a great showing at the prestigious Stanford Invitational, where we competed against top teams from all over the country. In Varsity debate, Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan '19 earned a 4-2 winning record in prelims, and advanced to the double octofinal elimination round. Miron English '21 and Adri Kornfein '21 competed in their first Varsity invitational on the national circuit, and scored an important win over a team from Los Angeles. In JV debate, Blue Stringer '22 and Kaitlyn Meyer '22 earned an impressive winning record, defeating teams who traveled from Taiwan to compete. Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 also won multiple debates.

    Huge thanks to chaperone Ken English and alums Connor Duncan and Audrey von Raesfeld for helping make this weekend possible.

    Next up, SA Debate heads to the State Qualifier on March 2nd.
    Read More
  • Half the Team Breaks at Stanford

    Brandon Spars
    We went with a squad of twenty, and we had twelve breaks into the elimination rounds, which is a sign of how much depth and breadth our team has this year.

    Stanford is of particular interest to our team because it has a very unique, debate-like event known as "Spar." In this the students are given a topic such as "Kamala Harris vs Corey Booker, who is better?" They are given a side and must come up with impromptu arguments as to why their side wins. On top of this, there is open crossfire, meaning the competitors can ask each other direct questions, and the audience can fire questions at the speakers. Whew! It is very wild, which is why our team excels at it, I suppose. (We are a wild and crazy bunch, and we seem to embrace chaos!) Gavin Patchet '19 and Adrian Hanson '20 each broke in varsity to semis, and in junior varsity we actually had three team members break to finals: Bert Garner '21, Nicholas Fowles '21, and Brian Barcenas '20.

    Another highlight this year was the number of students not only double-entered, but triple-entered. Emma Hartley '20 competed in Spar, Duo, and Oratory; Elannah De La O '20 competed in Oratory, Duo, and Program in Oral Interpretation; Ellie Ramos '21 competed in Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, and Duo; Brian Barcenas competed in Spar, Duo, and Dramatic Interpretation. Needless to say, they were very, very tired, but also very content when they returned home on Sunday!

    Another great year at Stanford!

    We want to thank the following parents for judging and driving: Renata Belash, Michelle Boyers, Patience Patchet, Betsy Garner. In addition, SA's Kiska Kosakowski drove a van and judged!
    Read More
  • League 3 at Lowell

    Brandon Spars
    This year has flown by. The third and last regular, league tournament was held last Saturday, February 2, and we showed up with slightly fewer competitors than normal because of the Lenaea Festival, which was the same weekend. That did not stop us from making a strong showing, especially in Impromptu. Brian Barcenas '20 was new to this event, and he made it to the final rounds in novice. Another newcomer, Bert Garner '21, threw himself into varsity, which is a tough, competitive field, and he shocked everyone by placing fifth overall. This promises good things to come for Bert as we head into State Quals and beyond! The seasoned competitor, Gavin Patchet '19, edged past his teammate and placed fourth overall. We sure can talk off the tops of our heads here at SA!
     
    Chloe Cullen '20 made another splash with her Program in Oral Interpretation. For this she is singing, "The Times, They are A'Changing," originally by Bob Dylan. Her beautiful voice stitches together several different pieces including two TED Talks about negative media coverage. Chloe placed first in the novice division. 
     
    Emma Hartley '20 is taking her Advocacy piece farther and farther into competition with each tournament. Having made it to semis two weeks ago at MLK, she now made it to finals, eventually placing fourth overall. She too is in position to earn a spot this year at the State Tournament in Long Beach.

    Perhaps the highlight of the entire tournament was Reece Stromberg '19. A newcomer to speech, he has dived straight into Varsity Expository, which I have often stated is the "electrical engineering" of speech. Competitors get thirty minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech on a topic related to current political news. To compete, Reece listens to several podcasts and reads several news journals in their entirety every single day. I am very pleased to say that Reece earned a third place trophy in this most difficult of events. Reece started his speech career just several months ago, but he is looking to extend it as far as possible... State... and beyond!
     
    The Speech Team wants to thank Michelle Boyers, Robert Duchynski, Leticia Sotelo, and Cheryl Willett for spending their Saturday judging in San Francisco. Without their support, we simply could not compete.
    Read More
  • January

    SA Debate Triumphs at MLK Invitational

    SA Debate had an impressive weekend at the MLK Invitational, held at James Logan High School in Union City, CA. Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan '19 won the semifinal round and moved on to Finals, where they placed 2nd overall in the Varsity division. Hannah earned the rank of the tournament's 3rd place speaker, while Gibran was ranked 4th speaker. Izzy Cohen '20 and Micaela Peavey '20 also had a good run, and they scored an impressive victory in prelims over a team that went all the way to the semifinal round of the tournament. 

    Meanwhile, Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 beat out their competitors in the preliminary rounds and advanced to Finals of the Novice division, where they ultimately won 2nd place overall. SA Debate swept the speaker awards in Novice: Maya Homicz '21 was ranked the division's top speaker, while Jordan Rigney '21 ranked 2nd, Blue Stringer '22 was ranked 4th, and Kaitlyn Meyer '22 was 5th speaker. All three novice teams earned winning records. 

    Next up, the entire SA Debate team heads to the third league debate of the season, which will be held on Saturday, January 26th at San Marin High School. 
    Read More
  • SA Debate Prevails at Third League Debate

    SA Debate had a successful weekend at the third GGSA league debate of the year, held at San Marin High School in Novato, CA. In Varsity debate, Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan '19 went undefeated, and were one of just two teams in the whole division with a 3-0 record. Kenzie Stewart '21 and Miron English '21 earned a 2-1 winning record. Kaitlyn Meyer '22 and Blue Stringer '22 made their Varsity debut and also earned a winning record, defeating some of the top Varsity teams from other schools.

    Huge thanks to judges Kathleen von Raesfeld, Amy Price, Claire Stephens, and Emily Kassner-Marks for making this tournament possible.

    Next up, SA Debate heads to the Stanford Invitational, which will be held from February 9-11.
    Read More
  • SA Debate Shows Well at MLK Invitational

    SA Debate had an impressive weekend at the MLK Invitational, held at James Logan High School in Union City, CA. Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan '19 won the semifinal round and moved on to Finals, where they placed 2nd overall in the Varsity division. Hannah earned the rank of the tournament's 3rd place speaker, while Gibran was ranked 4th speaker. Izzy Cohen '20 and Micaela Peavey '20 also had a good run, and they scored an impressive victory in prelims over a team that went all the way to the semifinal round of the tournament. 

    Meanwhile, Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 beat out their competitors in the preliminary rounds and advanced to Finals of the Novice division, where they ultimately won 2nd place overall. SA Debate swept the speaker awards in Novice: Maya Homicz '21 was ranked the division's top speaker, while Jordan Rigney '21 ranked 2nd, Blue Stringer '22 was ranked 4th, and Kaitlyn Meyer '22 was 5th speaker. All three novice teams earned winning records. 

    Next up, the entire SA Debate team heads to the third league debate of the season, which will be held on Saturday, January 26th at San Marin High School. 
    Read More
  • Speech Team at MLK Invitational

    Brandon Spars
    SA Speech headed down to Union City for two full days of competition starting early Saturday morning. At this point in the season, many of our team members have two pieces that are competition-ready, so we had fifteen competitors, but many, many more entries than that. This tournament is varsity only, and it brings teams from all over the United States, including a group of national champions from Louisiana.

    Our new star, a long-time debater turned into a speech competitor, Reece Stromberg '19 went deep into this one in Extemporaneous, even though it was his first invitational as a member of the speech team. Reece broke through quarters into semis where he was finally eliminated. Reece definitely has his sights on State this year, down in Long Beach.

    Gavin Patchet '19, who was double-entered in both Oratory and Impromptu, made it to quarter finals in Impromptu, which is made all the more amazing by the fact that there were over one hundred entries in his field. Gavin keeps on rolling!

    Emma Hartley '20, who has been competing in Duo all year, made the debut of her second piece, an Advocacy speech about black lung disease. She broke through quarters into semis, where she finally dropped, but this promises well for Stanford and the State Qualifying tournaments ahead.

    Everyone who went deserves to be congratulated on their efforts and accomplishments, but I cannot conclude without mentioning the Duo performance by Ellie Ramos '21 and Veronica Aranda '21. They have performed this piece at SA's Community Meeting as well as for the Do Tell Story Swap, a community event held monthly in Santa Rosa. This added experience was probably useful because these sophomores found themselves performing in front of the entire tournament at the Awards Ceremony, which features the final round of Duo Interpretation just before the trophies are handed out. They wowed over five hundred people as they shared the stage with teams from Wyoming, Arizona, Louisiana, not to mention the very best team from James Logan High School. These two are on fire, and there seems to be no stopping them.

    While I share these highlights, I want to also mention that there are other things about attending a tournament such as this. The team has bonded at this point. They help one another. They encourage each other. They share in each other's accomplishments... And... at the end of a weekend like this, they can feel satisfied that two days spent listening to other young folk from all over the country was a weekend well spent.

    I want to thank the following parents for helping with the driving and the judging: Jane Fowles, Betsy Garner, Chris Huynh, and a father who really knows how to whoop with pride for his daughter, Sergio Aranda. Without the dedication of their time, we could not have competed at this tournament. Thank you.
    Read More
< 2019

Blog Archive

2019

  • April

    SA Debate Competes at NDCA National Championship

    Varsity debaters Gibran Hassan '19 and Hannah Nabavi '20 had an exciting weekend in Chicago, IL, where they competed at the National Debate Coaches Association National Championship against 100 of the best teams in the country. Hannah and Gibran are the the second team from SA Debate to ever represent Sonoma Academy at this prestigious national tournament. They competed against teams from Massachusetts, Texas, and Illinois, and won several of their debates. Gibran has much to be proud of after four years of competing in national circuit debate, and Hannah is gearing up for another successful year on the circuit. 

    Next up, SA Debate heads to the California State Championship with the speech team, which will be held at CSU Long Beach in May. Congrats Hannah and Gibran! 
    Read More
  • March

    SA Speech Competes at National Qualifier

    This past weekend at Lowell High School in San Francisco, the Golden Gate Speech Association held its district qualifier for the National Tournament. Elannah De La O '20 and Emma Hartley '20, who both recently qualified for the California State Tournament, showed up to compete for a spot at nationals. Our league, which comprises San Francisco, the East Bay and the Greater Bay Area, is one of the most successful in both the state and the country, making the district qualifier a difficult tournament at par with some of the most competitive tournaments on the speech circuit. 

    Both Elannah and Emma impressed the judges in their preliminary rounds and broke to semi-finals, which is an incredible feat at a tournament of this caliber. Elannah  competed in Program Oral Interpretation, in which she weaves together six different pieces about the immigrant experience, including the song "One Time, One Night" by Los Lobos. Emma qualified to State in Original Advocacy, but at this tournament, she entered her piece about black lung disease in Original Oratory. In a large pool of experienced Oratory competitors, it is especially impressive that Emma advanced to semi-finals. Though neither of them ultimately qualified, Elannah and Emma had a great day of competition. These top competitors have much to be proud of, and will represent Sonoma Academy and the Bay Area well at the State Tournament. 

    Read More
  • Elannah De La O '20 Competes in Lion's Club Youth Speaker Contest

    Last night at the Windsor Community Center, one of the champions from SA's speech team headed into the Lion's Club Youth Speaker Contest, in which a high school student prepares a ten-minute speech on a different topic each year. This year's topic was "Freedom of the Press: What does it mean?" To compete at the community level, Elannah had already won at the club level at the Lions Club of Montgomery Village. Her speech was a powerful contemplation of the different narratives (both liberal and conservative) that threaten to control media and obscure the truth. Elannah ended her speech with a personal statement in which she views the press as playing the role of a fourth power in our constitutional system of checks and balances. 
     
    While Elannah did not advance to the district level, there is much for her to be proud of. She has been a champion in the Golden Gate Speech Association, and she will be representing the Bay Area at the State Tournament this year at Long Beach in her event, which is Thematic Interpretation. In addition to her league competition, she has been adding community events such as this Lions Club competition. You might recall, last fall, Elannah also attended a Tellabration! event held at the Sebastopol Public Library, where she told a beautiful story of gratitude about the life of her beloved uncle. 
     
    Read More
  • SA Debate Competes at JV/Novice National Championship

    SA Debate had a successful weekend at the Western JV/Novice National Championship held at San Francisco State from March 9-10. We competed against the top first and second year teams from all over the West Coast; Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 competed in novice, and Zoe Price '21 and Adri Kornfein '21 debated in the JV division. Both teams won multiple debates and had a fantastic end to their season.

    Huge thanks to Gibran Hassan '19 and Claire Stephens '19 for judging, and to Blue Stringer '22 for coaching support! Next up, Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan head to the NDCA National Championship in April.
    Read More
  • Big Squad Heading to State Championship in Speech

    Brandon Spars
    This is the biggest group of qualifiers and alternates we have ever had. We attended the Qualifier Tournament for Speech held at James Logan High School with fifteen students, and eleven of those students broke to the final round, which means they were at the very least an alternate. Five of our students then made the top eight, thereby assuring themselves of one of the coveted bids for the State Championship Tournament, which will be held at CSU Long Beach on May 3-5. Elannah De La O '20 qualed with her Program in Oral Interpretation; Emma Hartley '20, with her Advocacy; Reece Stromberg '19, in National Extemporaneous; Veronica Aranda '21 and Ellie Ramos '21, with their Duo Interpretation.

    This left Elliot Harrison-Lee '19, Jamie Potter '19, Anika McCarthy Belash '20, Christian Hernandez '20, Gavin Patchet '19, and Zoe Price '21 as alternates. With all the shifting that is taking place in the rankings as a result of double entries and preferences, some of these students may very well end up in Long Beach as well.

    Sonoma Academy won the 2018-2019 Sweepstakes Award for Small Schools in Speech. This award was given to us for our performance throughout this year at the Golden Gate Speech Association League Tournaments. I am quite sure in saying that this award was due in large, large part to the incredible leadership by our team captains this year, Casey McKay '19 and Gavin Patchet '19. They led not only by example, remaining competitive all year at every tournament, but also with their dedication to their teammates. They made sure that practice was taken seriously, and that fun energy was always used for productive purposes.

    This was a long day of judging for parents, including Leslie Harrison, Ted Patchet, and Renata Belash. But three faculty members also joined the judging crew: Michele Martin, Drew Gloger (along with daughter, Pam), and Colin McNamara, the students were extra energized by the presence of their teachers. They were very proud that their teachers got to see the high level of competition with Bay Area Schools that they go up against nearly every other weekend.
    Read More
  • SA Debate still #1 Policy Debate Team in the Bay Area, Debaters Qualify for State Championship

    Laila
    For the fourth year in a row, the SA Debate Team won the Sweepstakes Award for Policy Debate in the Golden Gate Speech Association, the governing body for Speech & Debate in the Bay Area. The award is a result of the cumulative success of the entire team over the course of the competition year. The feat is especially impressive in that SA is a much smaller school than most of our competitors; the second and third place Policy schools both have thousands of students!

    Additionally, at this past weekend's State Qualifier Tournament, Isabelle Elder '19 and Olivia Synek '19 qualified to the State Championship Tournament to be held at CSU Long Beach in May. Emily Kassner-Marks '19 and Rachel Gothelf '19 are the 1st Alternates to State, and Gibran Hassan '19 and Hannah Nabavi '20 are 2nd Alternates.

    Congratulations to the whole squad who had an amazing showing, including Adri Kornfein '21, Miron English '21, Jack Jacobs '22, Mateo Mijares '22, Blue Stringer '22, and Jackie Cardiel '22.

    Next up, Coach Lani will be taking several teams to the Western JV/Novice Championship Tournament March 8-9 at SF State.
    Read More
  • February

    SA Debate at Stanford Invitational

    SA Debate had a great showing at the prestigious Stanford Invitational, where we competed against top teams from all over the country. In Varsity debate, Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan '19 earned a 4-2 winning record in prelims, and advanced to the double octofinal elimination round. Miron English '21 and Adri Kornfein '21 competed in their first Varsity invitational on the national circuit, and scored an important win over a team from Los Angeles. In JV debate, Blue Stringer '22 and Kaitlyn Meyer '22 earned an impressive winning record, defeating teams who traveled from Taiwan to compete. Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 also won multiple debates.

    Huge thanks to chaperone Ken English and alums Connor Duncan and Audrey von Raesfeld for helping make this weekend possible.

    Next up, SA Debate heads to the State Qualifier on March 2nd.
    Read More
  • Half the Team Breaks at Stanford

    Brandon Spars
    We went with a squad of twenty, and we had twelve breaks into the elimination rounds, which is a sign of how much depth and breadth our team has this year.

    Stanford is of particular interest to our team because it has a very unique, debate-like event known as "Spar." In this the students are given a topic such as "Kamala Harris vs Corey Booker, who is better?" They are given a side and must come up with impromptu arguments as to why their side wins. On top of this, there is open crossfire, meaning the competitors can ask each other direct questions, and the audience can fire questions at the speakers. Whew! It is very wild, which is why our team excels at it, I suppose. (We are a wild and crazy bunch, and we seem to embrace chaos!) Gavin Patchet '19 and Adrian Hanson '20 each broke in varsity to semis, and in junior varsity we actually had three team members break to finals: Bert Garner '21, Nicholas Fowles '21, and Brian Barcenas '20.

    Another highlight this year was the number of students not only double-entered, but triple-entered. Emma Hartley '20 competed in Spar, Duo, and Oratory; Elannah De La O '20 competed in Oratory, Duo, and Program in Oral Interpretation; Ellie Ramos '21 competed in Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, and Duo; Brian Barcenas competed in Spar, Duo, and Dramatic Interpretation. Needless to say, they were very, very tired, but also very content when they returned home on Sunday!

    Another great year at Stanford!

    We want to thank the following parents for judging and driving: Renata Belash, Michelle Boyers, Patience Patchet, Betsy Garner. In addition, SA's Kiska Kosakowski drove a van and judged!
    Read More
  • League 3 at Lowell

    Brandon Spars
    This year has flown by. The third and last regular, league tournament was held last Saturday, February 2, and we showed up with slightly fewer competitors than normal because of the Lenaea Festival, which was the same weekend. That did not stop us from making a strong showing, especially in Impromptu. Brian Barcenas '20 was new to this event, and he made it to the final rounds in novice. Another newcomer, Bert Garner '21, threw himself into varsity, which is a tough, competitive field, and he shocked everyone by placing fifth overall. This promises good things to come for Bert as we head into State Quals and beyond! The seasoned competitor, Gavin Patchet '19, edged past his teammate and placed fourth overall. We sure can talk off the tops of our heads here at SA!
     
    Chloe Cullen '20 made another splash with her Program in Oral Interpretation. For this she is singing, "The Times, They are A'Changing," originally by Bob Dylan. Her beautiful voice stitches together several different pieces including two TED Talks about negative media coverage. Chloe placed first in the novice division. 
     
    Emma Hartley '20 is taking her Advocacy piece farther and farther into competition with each tournament. Having made it to semis two weeks ago at MLK, she now made it to finals, eventually placing fourth overall. She too is in position to earn a spot this year at the State Tournament in Long Beach.

    Perhaps the highlight of the entire tournament was Reece Stromberg '19. A newcomer to speech, he has dived straight into Varsity Expository, which I have often stated is the "electrical engineering" of speech. Competitors get thirty minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech on a topic related to current political news. To compete, Reece listens to several podcasts and reads several news journals in their entirety every single day. I am very pleased to say that Reece earned a third place trophy in this most difficult of events. Reece started his speech career just several months ago, but he is looking to extend it as far as possible... State... and beyond!
     
    The Speech Team wants to thank Michelle Boyers, Robert Duchynski, Leticia Sotelo, and Cheryl Willett for spending their Saturday judging in San Francisco. Without their support, we simply could not compete.
    Read More
  • January

    SA Debate Triumphs at MLK Invitational

    SA Debate had an impressive weekend at the MLK Invitational, held at James Logan High School in Union City, CA. Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan '19 won the semifinal round and moved on to Finals, where they placed 2nd overall in the Varsity division. Hannah earned the rank of the tournament's 3rd place speaker, while Gibran was ranked 4th speaker. Izzy Cohen '20 and Micaela Peavey '20 also had a good run, and they scored an impressive victory in prelims over a team that went all the way to the semifinal round of the tournament. 

    Meanwhile, Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 beat out their competitors in the preliminary rounds and advanced to Finals of the Novice division, where they ultimately won 2nd place overall. SA Debate swept the speaker awards in Novice: Maya Homicz '21 was ranked the division's top speaker, while Jordan Rigney '21 ranked 2nd, Blue Stringer '22 was ranked 4th, and Kaitlyn Meyer '22 was 5th speaker. All three novice teams earned winning records. 

    Next up, the entire SA Debate team heads to the third league debate of the season, which will be held on Saturday, January 26th at San Marin High School. 
    Read More
  • SA Debate Prevails at Third League Debate

    SA Debate had a successful weekend at the third GGSA league debate of the year, held at San Marin High School in Novato, CA. In Varsity debate, Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan '19 went undefeated, and were one of just two teams in the whole division with a 3-0 record. Kenzie Stewart '21 and Miron English '21 earned a 2-1 winning record. Kaitlyn Meyer '22 and Blue Stringer '22 made their Varsity debut and also earned a winning record, defeating some of the top Varsity teams from other schools.

    Huge thanks to judges Kathleen von Raesfeld, Amy Price, Claire Stephens, and Emily Kassner-Marks for making this tournament possible.

    Next up, SA Debate heads to the Stanford Invitational, which will be held from February 9-11.
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  • SA Debate Shows Well at MLK Invitational

    SA Debate had an impressive weekend at the MLK Invitational, held at James Logan High School in Union City, CA. Hannah Nabavi '20 and Gibran Hassan '19 won the semifinal round and moved on to Finals, where they placed 2nd overall in the Varsity division. Hannah earned the rank of the tournament's 3rd place speaker, while Gibran was ranked 4th speaker. Izzy Cohen '20 and Micaela Peavey '20 also had a good run, and they scored an impressive victory in prelims over a team that went all the way to the semifinal round of the tournament. 

    Meanwhile, Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 beat out their competitors in the preliminary rounds and advanced to Finals of the Novice division, where they ultimately won 2nd place overall. SA Debate swept the speaker awards in Novice: Maya Homicz '21 was ranked the division's top speaker, while Jordan Rigney '21 ranked 2nd, Blue Stringer '22 was ranked 4th, and Kaitlyn Meyer '22 was 5th speaker. All three novice teams earned winning records. 

    Next up, the entire SA Debate team heads to the third league debate of the season, which will be held on Saturday, January 26th at San Marin High School. 
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  • Speech Team at MLK Invitational

    Brandon Spars
    SA Speech headed down to Union City for two full days of competition starting early Saturday morning. At this point in the season, many of our team members have two pieces that are competition-ready, so we had fifteen competitors, but many, many more entries than that. This tournament is varsity only, and it brings teams from all over the United States, including a group of national champions from Louisiana.

    Our new star, a long-time debater turned into a speech competitor, Reece Stromberg '19 went deep into this one in Extemporaneous, even though it was his first invitational as a member of the speech team. Reece broke through quarters into semis where he was finally eliminated. Reece definitely has his sights on State this year, down in Long Beach.

    Gavin Patchet '19, who was double-entered in both Oratory and Impromptu, made it to quarter finals in Impromptu, which is made all the more amazing by the fact that there were over one hundred entries in his field. Gavin keeps on rolling!

    Emma Hartley '20, who has been competing in Duo all year, made the debut of her second piece, an Advocacy speech about black lung disease. She broke through quarters into semis, where she finally dropped, but this promises well for Stanford and the State Qualifying tournaments ahead.

    Everyone who went deserves to be congratulated on their efforts and accomplishments, but I cannot conclude without mentioning the Duo performance by Ellie Ramos '21 and Veronica Aranda '21. They have performed this piece at SA's Community Meeting as well as for the Do Tell Story Swap, a community event held monthly in Santa Rosa. This added experience was probably useful because these sophomores found themselves performing in front of the entire tournament at the Awards Ceremony, which features the final round of Duo Interpretation just before the trophies are handed out. They wowed over five hundred people as they shared the stage with teams from Wyoming, Arizona, Louisiana, not to mention the very best team from James Logan High School. These two are on fire, and there seems to be no stopping them.

    While I share these highlights, I want to also mention that there are other things about attending a tournament such as this. The team has bonded at this point. They help one another. They encourage each other. They share in each other's accomplishments... And... at the end of a weekend like this, they can feel satisfied that two days spent listening to other young folk from all over the country was a weekend well spent.

    I want to thank the following parents for helping with the driving and the judging: Jane Fowles, Betsy Garner, Chris Huynh, and a father who really knows how to whoop with pride for his daughter, Sergio Aranda. Without the dedication of their time, we could not have competed at this tournament. Thank you.
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Santa Rosa, CA 95404
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Sonoma Academy is...

The only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On its beautiful 34-acre campus nestled at the base of picturesque Taylor Mountain in South Santa Rosa, Sonoma Academy students are able to explore their interests and passions in a challenging environment that prepares them for college and life beyond.