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 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.
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  • Speech Team Succeeds at First League Tournament

    The SA Speech Team had an amazing showing at the first Golden Gate Speech Association league tournament of the year, held at James Logan High School in Union City, CA. Our league is one of the most competitive in the state and contains a high concentration of California's heavy-hitting speech schools, so our local tournaments always make for good competition.
    In Varsity Original Prose and Poetry, Zoe Price '21 wowed the judges with her emotional piece, and won 1st place in the division. Christian Hernandez '20 also competed in OPP, and finished in 3rd place. Both Zoe and Christian are already positioned to be strong contenders for the State Tournament this year.
    Meanwhile, seniors Anika McCarthy-Belash and Emma Hartley performed their rendition of Shakespeare's Macbeth in Varsity Duo Interpretation, and broke to finals in a highly competitive field. They ended with a strong 3rd place finish in their division. 
    Bert Garner '21 and Adrian Hanson '20 competed in Varsity Impromptu, an event where competitors are given only 2 minutes to prepare a 5 minute spontaneous speech. Bert and Adrian both advanced to the elimination round and finished as finalists.
    Luna Michelis '21 entered in her first varsity speech tournament following her success in novice at CSU Long Beach. She competed in Varsity Original Advocacy, and judges were impressed with her passionate speech advocating for change to school-based mental health services. Luna advanced to the final elimination round, and ended with an impressive 4th place finish.
    And finally, Talulah Juniper '23 made her speech debut and entered in Novice Humorous Interpretation. She performed an amusing piece about a wedding gone awry, and won the 3rd place trophy at her first tournament.

    Congratulations to all who competed, and huge thanks to Dan Reiter, Jason Elder, and Chris Huynh for judging at the tournament.
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  • Debate Starts League Competition Strong

    SA Debate had an incredible showing at the first league debate tournament of the year. We compete in the Golden Gate Speech Association, a league that comprises Sonoma, Marin, and Napa counties, as well as San Francisco and the East Bay. This tournament kicked off this year's competition in our league about whether the U.S. ought to reduce its arms sales to other countries.

    In varsity debate, every SA team came away from the tournament winning a trophy. The team of Jack Jacobs '22 and Mateo Mijares '22 went undefeated in the varsity division, earning a perfect record throughout the tournament and winning all of their debates. Adri Kornfein '21 and Zoe Price '21 earned a winning record. The freshman/sophomore duo Ivy Brenner and Tabatha Stewart challenged themselves to debate in varsity at their second tournament ever, and also earned an impressive winning record at the tournament, outranking some of the best teams in our league.
    In the novice division, Maddy Jannes '22 and Amelia Packard '22 debated at their first tournament, and finished on a 2-1 winning record. Iris Anderson '23 and Ziggy Meieran '23 also earned a winning record in novice.

    Huge thanks to Kelly Castañeda, Luna Michelis '21, and parents Ana Stewart and Lisa Jacobs for judging at the tournament! Next up, the speech team heads to the first league tournament on October 19th.
    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.

Sonoma Academy Is...

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.