That's So SA

Speech & Debate

You'll Have a Say

Speech & Debate develops confidence, poise, critical thinking, and self-expression. Speech students perform polished orations and dramatic interpretations, individually or in pairs, at competitions in the Bay Area. The Policy Debate team engages in intensive research and evidence-based argumentation on a nationally selected resolution and competes in the Golden Gate Speech Association. In the last four years, both speech and debate students have qualified for state championship competitions.

Speech & Debate News

List of 3 news stories.

  • SA Debate Wins Big at Arizona State

    SA Debate had an incredibly successful weekend competing at the Arizona State Invitational. The team of Ivy Brenner '23 and Tabatha Stewart '22 flew to Tempe to debate against teams from California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and others from all across the West Coast.

    In their preliminary rounds, Ivy and Tabatha dominated the competition, winning five out of their six debate rounds on U.S. military arms sales. Their impressive 5-1 record put them at the top of the tournament bracket, allowing them to automatically advance through the octofinal elimination round. Ivy and Tabatha ended their run in the quarterfinal round, solidifying their position as rising stars on the national circuit. 

    Next up, the debate team heads to San Marin High School for our third league tournament of the year.
    Read More
  • Speech & Debate wins 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at Santa Clara Invitational

    SA Speech and Debate had an incredible weekend at the Santa Clara University Dempsey Cronin Invitational. Competitors endured three days of competition on the SCU campus and emerged victorious: Sonoma Academy won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies at the tournament, and had semifinalists in multiple events.

    The 1st place trophy went to Adri Kornfein '21, who was recognized as the tournament's best speaker in varsity debate. Adri was given top marks from her judges and outranked all 70 competitors in her division! This incredible honor is a product of Adri's hard work throughout the season. 

    The 2nd place trophy was won by Christian Hernandez '20, who wowed his judges with an emotional piece in varsity Original Prose and Poetry. This unique event allows competitors to craft and perform their original work, and judges were moved by Christian's story and delivery. 

    3rd place was awarded to the team of Iris Anderson '23 and Maddy Jannes '22, who competed in novice debate. After a strong showing in their preliminary rounds, Iris and Maddy were one of just eight teams to advance to elimination rounds. After winning their quarterfinal debate, they advanced to semifinals where they ended their run on a split 2-1 decision from the judging panel. Iris and Maddy were awarded 3rd place trophies in their divison, and also were recognized as 6th and 9th place speakers respectively. 

    Semifinalists in speech included Bert Garner '21 in varsity Impromptu, Veronica Aranda '21 in varsity Dramatic Interpretation, and Anika McCarthy Belash '20/Emma Hartley '20 in varsity Duo Interpretation. For all four competitors, this was an impressive finish in their highly competitive events.
    Christian and Bert also received bids to the Tournament of Champions, the most prestigious national championship in the country! Students must obtain two bids to compete at the TOC. We have multiple bid tournaments left in the season, and given the track record of these two students, it is probable that Sonoma Academy will be present at nationals this year.

    This weekend would not have been possible without Rodney Fierce and Travis Fierce! Next up, debate heads to the Alta Silver and Black Invitational in Sandy, UT.
    Read More
  • SA Debate Competes at Second League Debate

    SA Debate had a successful weekend at the second league debate tournament of the year, hosted at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. Our team squared up against teams from across the Bay Area, and each SA team that participated won at least one of their debates!

    In varsity debate, the team of Adri Kornfein '21 and Miron English '21 earned a 2-1 winning record. The team of Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 impressed their judges and won all of their debates, leaving the tournament with the undefeated trophy. Jack and Mateo were one of just two undefeated teams in their entire division. 

    In novice debate, Sierra Greene '22 and Fiona Smith '22 debated at their first tournament, and earned an impressive 2-1 winning record. 

    Huge thanks to Luna Michelis '21, Micaela Peavey '20, and Izzy Cohen '20 for judging at the tournament! Next up, the speech team heads to the Santa Clara University Invitational.
    Read More

Event Descriptions

Policy Debate
Policy is a fast-paced debate event that tests a student’s research, analysis, and strategic thinking skills. Debaters must understand and defend both sides of a resolution in teams of two, and use high-quality evidence to back up their claims.

Congressional Debate
Congress models the U.S. legislative process, and involves writing, researching, and arguing for or against bills in a group setting. Students are judged based on their poise, research skills, and ability to deliver spontaneous and persuasive speeches.

Duo Interpretation
This highly theatrical speech event involves two students performing scenes from a film, book, play, or other published work. Students must display emotion, range, and precision in their delivery, as well as show chemistry and coordination with their partner.

Dramatic Interpretation
If you have a flair for the dramatic, then DI is the event for you. Competitors use a play, story, or other published work and perform a selection that demonstrates their ability to convey emotion and display character development with the use of a dramatic text.

Humorous Interpretation
This interpretation event tests a student’s ability to interpret texts and deliver a humorous speech with comedic timing. Competitors must choose an excerpt from a published work and perform a speech that showcases their delivery skills and ability to portray multiple characters.

Oratorical Interpretation
This classic speech event involves competitors performing a published speech that has already been delivered in a public forum. This event tests the student’s poise and delivery, as well as their ability to interpret the intent of the original speech and provide context to its contemporary meaning.

Thematic Interpretation
Using selections from Prose, Poetry and Drama students create a performance around a central theme. Program Oral Interpretation is designed to test a student’s ability to intersplice multiple types of literature into a single, cohesive performance. A manuscript is required and may be used as a prop within the performance if the performer maintains control of the manuscript at all times.

Original Oratory
Students deliver a self-written, ten-minute speech on a topic of their choosing. Limited in their ability to quote words directly, competitors craft an argument using evidence, logic, and emotional appeals. Topics range widely, and can be informative or persuasive in nature. The speech is delivered from memory.
2500 Farmers Lane 
Santa Rosa, CA 95404 
(707) 545-1770

Sonoma Academy Is... the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.