Arguably The Best Team
The Santa Monica College Debate Team spent their weekend at the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association's Spring Champs tournament where they received hard earned success.
The competition itself was held at Los Angeles Valley College from Feb. 27 until March 1.
Over the course of three long days the SMC Debate Team spent 29 hours competing in three out of the seven offered categories.
One category was Parliamentary Debate, in which two person teams argued the pros and cons of a resolution. Students were told the topic for debate only 20 minutes before the beginning of the round, and that is all the time they were given to brainstorm the facts and issues of the topic.
This competition's debate resolutions included "Bi-partisanship is overrated," "Obama needs to bring the troops home," and "Democracy isn't all its cracked up to be."
Impromptu Speaking was another event, during which speakers were tested on their ability to operate quickly as they were given only two minutes to write a speech that had to last for five.
Topics for these speeches tend to be quotations such as this one from Albert Einstein, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I'm not sure about the former."
The Extemporaneous Speaking competitors were given 30 minutes to write a seven-minute persuasive speech that they then delivered. Topics in this competition tended to be questions about current events, were answered and then supported with evidence.
SMC was one of 46 schools that were entered in the event.
Community colleges and universities came from as far as Arizona and all parts of California. Competing schools included institutions such as Vanguard University, Northern Arizona University, California State University at Los Angeles and Pepperdine University.
In the end SMC was awarded second place for limited entry teams, which is a team that has a smaller number of students competing. This means that out of the limited entry teams, SMC won the second most awards; in fact 75 percent of the team won an award.
The awards included silver medals in the Parliamentary Debate Rookie Division for Gary Lampert and Chris Vance, as well as silver medals in the Parliamentary Debate Novice Division for Jonathan Moss, and Ron Bar-Zion. Also, the team was awarded bronze medals in the Parliamentary Debate Junior Division for partners Nick Bronson and Sam Pritchard.
In addition Jonathan Moss was ranked fourteenth out of 60 speakers in his division, and Pritchard placed fourth out of the 76 debaters in his.
Finally, David Kohan and Kennan Heppe were each given the Scholars Award for their exceptional grade point averages and their consistent tournament participation.
What makes these achievements even more impressive is that in comparison to many other schools that SMC participated against, they had very little preparation or class time to hone their skills. Other schools offer course credit for practice, SMC does not.
The debate team is more of an extracurricular activity. The team's coach Nate Brown made an estimate of the situation saying "it's probably five hours of school work they don't get credit for."
When asked about their preparation for the event Brown said, "the speech and debate team has always worked hard, (and for) this particular event we worked very hard."
Brown went on to commend the team and talked about how they had applied themselves selflessly "they sacrifice a lot of time and energy... give up lunch hours and meet outside of school."
This was not the first time that the SMC Debate Team has received commendations in their field, and it is doubtful that Brown would ever consider it being the last time, he said. "Determination and talent that brings them so much success," Brown said.