The Student News Site of Ripon High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Ripon High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Ripon High School

The Smoke Signal

Speech & Debate Heads to Nat Quals


The Speech and Debate team has soared into various opportunities this year and have carried them out successfully. On Feb. 10, members of the new team competed at the Yosemite Forensic League (YFL) 6 tournament in Mountain House. 

This was the first tournament for sophomores Nicholas Martinez and Brodie Alcala-Alves, and they tied for second place in open parliamentary, which is a partnered debate consisting of both novice and varsity competitors who have 20 minutes to prepare for a new topic each round.

Junior Valerie Chun tied for first in novice impromptu, where each competitor has two minutes to prepare a five minute speech. She also tied for fifth in varsity informative, in which she presented a 10-minute speech about fast fashion. To say the least, it was successful.

Chun is very passionate about being a huge part of this and her opinion is, “I really love it a lot. It’s probably my favorite extracurricular activity right now because it’s something new, exciting, and motivating.”

To have the capability to compete in the 2024 National Qualifiers at Bear Creek, a minimum of 25 speaking points are needed for National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) members, and four students have achieved that so far and have earned a Merit degree. 

On Friday, March 8, Martinez will participate in the Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate, a one-on-one debate arguing the March/April topic: “The primary objective of the United States criminal justice system ought to be rehabilitation.”

The next day, juniors Chun, Elias Ramirez and Sean Wallace will participate with speeches. Ramirez and Chun will present their duo interpretation of “500 Days of Summer,” a 10-minute performance without any props, touching or eye contact, and Wallace will present an informative speech on bad eating habits.

Wallace’s thoughts on the upcoming competition are, “I think it will go well since we have had the time to prepare.”

Let’s all wish them the best of luck for their upcoming competitions, and if you are interested in competing yourself, consider taking the Speech and Debate class next year!

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Sienna Pimentel
Sienna Pimentel, Entertainment Editor
Sienna Pimentel is currently a Ripon High junior. One of her proudest achievements as a student is maintaining a 4.0+ GPA for her two years of high school so far. After high school, her goal is to be devoted to college to have a successful career as a forensic psychiatrist. During her free time, she plays golf with her family, listens to music, and reads in the comfort of her bedroom.

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