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.