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Speech & Debate

Speech & Debate News

List of 5 news stories.

  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Big Squad Heading to State Championship in Speech

    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.
  • SA Debate still #1 Policy Debate Team in the Bay Area, Debaters Qualify for State Championship

    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.
  • 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.
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Sonoma Academy Speech & Debate Team

Sonoma Academy began its Speech & Debate program seven years ago with a generous donation by two families, which allowed the school to join the Golden Gate Speech Association. Here we compete with over forty schools from around the Bay Area, and, over our short history we have begun to make a name for ourselves, not only in the Bay Area, but also in the state of California and the nation. Speech and debate teach our students how to think critically and how to express themselves in powerful, meaningful ways. SA students learn to bounce back from defeat and rise to a very high level of academic and artistic competition. It is in speech and debate that we truly engage academically and emotionally with the diversity of the Bay Area and beyond. We have nearly a thousand opponents, but, at the same time, in the spirit of forensics, we have also forged nearly a thousand friendships with schools from around the nation.

Sonoma Academy’s parliamentary debate team is currently tied for 3rd in the nation. SA teams were:
  • triple-octafinalists at the 2014 Stanford Invitational, partial-octafinalists at the 2014 National Parliamentary Debate Invitational, octafinalists at the 2013 Jon Schamber Invitational and the 2014 Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational
  • quarterfinalists at the 2014 Dempsey-Cronin Invitational, 2014 Stanford Invitational, 2014 National Parliamentary Debate Invitational, and 2014 Jon Schamber Invitational
  • semifinalists at the 2013 Stanford Invitational
  • finalists at the 2014 National Parliamentary Debate Invitational
  • champions of the 2014 Jon Schamber Invitational
  • one SA team qualified to the Tournament of Champions in 2014
  • 2 teams qualified to the 2014 state championships
  • two teams from Sonoma Academy had qualified to the 2015 Tournament of Champions as of mid-November.
All in all, our debate program has expanded dramatically over the past few years, with currently over 25 team members, and our results both quantifiably and qualifiably have reflected this!

Three years after the debate team got started, a small group of students, who had always wondered why students in suits were talking to walls at some of our tournament, decided to give it a try. They loved it, and there was no looking back. 
Initially, Sonoma Academy specialized in slam poetry. Millie Williams and Jemal Williams (not related), turned many heads with their electric poetry, which they brought to Youthspeaks competitions as well. Millie was the first member of the Forensics Team to qualify to the State Tournament, which she did in 2010. 
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Santa Rosa, CA 95404

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.