Seniors Flex At Glenbrooks
Before the world came to a stop in 2020, it had been a decade since The Screamin’ Eagles competed in the Glenbrooks National Speech & Debate Tournament. The tournament took place for 40 years at several high schools in Chicago, Illinois. Six of those years, GabSpeech had students entered in the tournament. But no Gabrielino students had made the cross country trip since 2010.
For the second year in a row, The Glenbrooks were held online. And for the second year in a row, Gabrielino competed along with almost 2000 other students from over 260 high schools across America. The seniors knew it was a great opportunity and they jumped at the chance to compete with the best of the best in the country.
Senior Daniel Candia explained, “since the Glenbrooks were online, we were able to send more people because there aren’t any travel expenses for virtual tournaments.”
Each of the speech events held four preliminary rounds on Saturday and then the outrounds on Sunday. Even though the tournament started later than normal to accommodate those on the West Coast, it was still early. Speakers were in their virtual rooms before 7:30am on Saturday. “After a year of competing online at tournaments in earlier time zones, it’s gotten much easier,” senior team Co-Captain Gabriel Frank-McPheter said.
Seven Screamin’ Eagles - all seniors - advanced to the rounds on Sunday. “This is my last year, my last chance to compete in the Glenbrooks,” senior team Co-captain Luccia Yacoub commented. “Making it to Sunday means I get to compete for at least one more day and more round. I get to add to my senior season.”
After seven rounds of competition, the seniors continued to prove the Class of 2022 is one of the best classes in the 28 year history of GabSpeech. Senior Alden Do placed 14th in Humor. Seniors Nick Cao and Joe Lee placed 8th in Duo. Seniors Karyme Pena and Vincent De Marco placed 6th in Duo. Seniors Luccia Yacoub and Gabriel Frank-McPheter placed 8th and 6th, respectively, in Extemporaneous Speaking.
“There were over 100 extempers,” Gabriel explained. “It would be easy to get lost in that number. For Luccia and I to make it out of that pool and then continue to advance throughout the tournament is incredible.”
After successes this weekend, the Screamin’ Eagles added yet another speaker to the 1500 point club. Vincent DeMarco became the 60th student (and third from the class of 2022) in Gabrielino’s 28 year history to achieve the highest level of points from the National Speech & Debate Association. Vincent is 53rd on the all time list. Luccia Yacoub moved into the top 20 and rounding out the trip of seniors is Gabriel Frank-McPheter, now second all time after passing Class of 2013 superstar, Anna Diep. With over 2300 points “Frank”, as his teammates call him, is less than 200 points behind GabSpeech all time point leader Alexandra Singleton, class of 2017.
The team now takes a break for the Thanksgiving holiday and will focus its attention on being in person for the Southern California Debate League’s Fall Varsity Tournament in December.
Way to go Seniors and all the Screamin’ Eagles!
A Leg Up At Fall Debate
The Southern California Debate League’s 2021 Fall Varsity Debate Tournament was held online again this year. It once again allowed former team members from all over the country to judge the tournament.
Twelve Screamin’ Eagles spent their Saturday debating with their partners either from separate locations or together safely at someone’s house.
All Gabrielino’s entries were in the two person debate events, Public Forum or Policy Debate. The team is made up primarily of freshmen and sophomores with a few juniors and seniors to lead the way.
After four preliminary rounds, three of the original six entries made it to the final round. Senior Daniel Candia and his partner, junior Gabriel Sundaramoorthy placed 5th in Policy Debate. Sophomore Sophia Pu and her partner Veena Sundaramoorthy placed 6th in Public Forum. The senior/freshman Public Forum team of Gabriel Frank-McPheter and Aaron Situ won the tournament by going undefeated and winning all their preliminary rounds and all three judge ballots in the final round.
By placing in the top two of their event, Gabriel and Aaron both now have a “leg” toward qualifying for the 2022 California State Championships. If they place in the top two again at the league’s Spring Varsity Debate Tournament in January, they will have both legs and be automatically qualified for State and not need to compete at the League Championships at the end of February.
What may have been the best part of the day may have been the last minute substitution the team had to do when one of the competitors had a family emergency come up. Senior Kelly Hoang quickly suited up, opened her laptop and stepped in to partner with sophomore Garrison Chan.
“Kelly stepping up was awesome,” said debate co-event leader Daniel Candia. “Someone suggested Kelly fill in, so we contacted her and she stepped up big time. We were lucky the tournament was online. If that was at a high school, I doubt Kelly could have found a ride there in time.”
The team wasn’t together physically for this meet, but they certainly were on the same page and acting like amazing teammates regardless of their physical distance.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles. Their next competition is the Glenbrooks (Chicago, IL) National Invitational Speech & Debate Tournament taking place online later this month.
Solar Energy at Fall Novice
First, the Icebreaker tournament was outside casual. Then the Gabrielino Invite had live, in person, final rounds. The next logical move was to do an entire tournament outside, in full speech business attire. Behold, the 24th Southern California Debate League (SCDL) Fall Novice at Gabrielino High School.
The league combined both the Novice (first year) and Junior Varsity (second year) divisions, since neither had competed live in a SCDL Tournament. Over 300 students from 15 high schools performed and judged around benches, outside classrooms and under solar panels. Sophomore Nicole Diep said, “it was great to perform in front of people after being online for a year.”
Typically, speech events are broken up into two patterns. The three A pattern rounds would happen in the morning while the B pattern rounds occurred in the afternoon. This year, to shorten the day and possible exposure time, all events ran at the same time. There was a little more time in between the rounds for competitors and judges to bond, create memories and eat some of the amazing food prepared by the Screamin’ Eagles’ Parent Boosters.
“I had a fun time,” sophomore, Kailey Trinh, said. “I got to watch some really good performances - in person!” One of the team’s competitors in Impromptu said, “I had never been over by the new music building before. All my rounds were outside, under the solar panels. I didn’t even know we had solar panels by the football field. I talked about solar power in one of my speeches. It was funny, because, you know, we were all under solar panels.”
The Screamin’ Eagles had a great home field advantage and won 10 of the 14 events offered. “We do well at Fall Novice every year, but this year was much more lopsided,” one of the coaches commented. “Our kids did the Icebreaker outside and had to have class outside for the first month of school because the air conditioning wasn’t working in the classroom. So they were used to being outside.” All those hot days outside paid off in a weird way.”
The Screamin’ Eagles will compete next at the Southern California Debate League’s Fall Varsity Debate Tournament next weekend.
Good Luck Screamin’ Eagles!
GabGabGab Is Live Live Live
By Katelyn Corona
For the first time in two years, the Gabrielino Invitational returned with a modified in-person tournament! Traditionally GabGabGab, as the team calls it, consists of three preliminary rounds and one final round. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the preliminary rounds and novice final rounds took place online, while the varsity finals took place in person!
The interpretation final rounds were hosted in the Goodson Theatre and the public speaking finalists performed in the new multipurpose room!
The Goodson Theatre has been the home of the famous annual Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles Speech and Debate showcase for the last 17 years, but this year, students from all across Southern California were invited to perform on the stage! The seats of the theater were safely filled with spectators, friends, and family.
The multipurpose room, previously known as the band and orchestra room, hosted speech rounds for the first time. The competitors and the fans who joined them, enjoyed the new set-up.
The morning started off slow with hair and makeup and handing out event goody bags. Throughout the day in between rounds, students ate snacks purchased from the concession stand and spent time bonding over shared experiences! Marco Cisneros-Farber described the tournament to be “a fun learning experience that was great for novices.” For some team members, this was their first GabGabGab and for the seniors, this was their last.
Since only two of the eleven final rounds occurred at the same time, the tournament finals lasted all day long. Much like The Finals at Nationals, students could watch multiple final rounds in one day. Friends and family could come for 90 minutes to watch a specific round. Awards for both varsity and novice divisions were handed out at the end of each round so everyone could immediately learn the results.
The day was wrapped with event photos, packing up the food bar, and congratulating those in the final the 26 varsity students who performed in the final rounds and the 32 novices that performed their final rounds online.
Awesome job Eagles! Keep up the amazing work!
A Second Chance to Compete at Yale
By Katelyn Corona
Aside from being National Cheeseburger Day, Sept 18th, 2021 also serves as the 29th Annual Yale Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament. With the absence of travel costs, Gabrielino was able to compete at the event for the second year in a row! Due to continuous Covid-19 restrictions, the tournament was held virtually; ultimately allowing the Screamin’ Eagles to take part in such a prestigious event.
The highly anticipated meet hosted 279 schools, almost 1400 entries, 2000 competitors, and 900 judges from 33 states all across America. The Screamin Eagle team included Violet Magallanes, Bryanna Quach, Julie Qian, Luccia Yacoub, Celine Ma, Gabriel Frank-McPheter, Marco Cisneros-Farber, Anson Law, Juan Jimenez, Aaron Situ, Daniel Velasquez, Alden Do, Karyme Pena, Ava Doron, and Alex Lai & Geraldine Ly.
Last year, the team only had 6 total entries. This year, it has more than double-doubled to 17! Students from all different grade levels and events were able to compete! Freshman Extemper Marco Cisneros-Farber described the tournament to be “an amazing learning experience because I got to see speeches from some of the best competitors in my event.”
While constructing speeches for the meet, the team resumed weekly in-person after-school practices. Senior Co-Captain Luccia Yacoub described the preparation to be, “hard work and fun practice.”
After weeks of practice and two days of giving and watching performers from all over the country, the tournament came to an end. Congratulations to Luccia Yacoub for progressing past preliminary rounds!
Keep up the awesome work eagles! Stay tuned to hear what the team does next!
Icebreaker Is Back and In Person
By Katelyn Corona
After a year and a half of competing in bedrooms, backyards, and bathrooms, tournaments have finally returned to in-person with the 2021 Icebreaker Speech & Debate Invitational! The struggles of camera angles, internet connections, and lighting have been lifted off competitors’ shoulders!
The annual classic held at Gabrielino every year since 1997, came back after missing 2020/covid. To ease back everyone back into the groove of in-person meets, the meet changed a bit. Students performed improvisational events outside and in casual attire.
Returning Screamin’ Eagles once again paired up with students newest to the program in order to give the novices the lay of the land of how in-person tournaments operate. For some students, this was their first non-virtual meet. Competitors participated in three rounds including Improvisational Duo, Spontaneous Argumentation (Spar), and Character Debate. For the first time in history all Icebreaker rounds took place outdoors to comply with COVID-19 regulations.
Freshman Extemper Marco Farber-Cisneros described the tournament to be, “fun, Energetic, and Collaborative!” Senior Co-captain Megan Chan described it as, “relaxed, a good way to start the new season, and high energy.”
Once again, the tournament was Pirate-themed because the date of the meet is so close to National Talk Like a Pirate Day! Pirate goblets were awarded to the top six duos. All visiting schools got to take home a pack of Icebreakers gum and mini pirate chest filled with Jolly Ranchers for all their team members to enjoy.
Senior Vincent Demarco and Junior Gabriel Sundaramoorthy teamed up with their freshman siblings for a once-in-a-speech career opportunity to perform together at a tournament! It was siblings for the win at Icebreaker! Team Sundaramoorhty placed third and Team Demarco won the tournament!
That Icebreaker number 24 in the books! Great job eagles!
The team now goes back online in order to face tough competition immediately at the Yale University National Invitational Speech & Debate Tournament.
The National Championships With Consistency
The National High School Speech and Debate Championships have been going on for just under 100 years. The 2021 version was the - largest - one - ever!
Last year’s tournament consisted of submitted videos being viewed by judges over 13 rounds of competition. This year, the tournament was online again, but the speeches and debates happened live and to make it more challenging, they added another round.
In a time where there is so much change, so much uncertainty and so much chaos, the Screamin’ Eagles provide an unwavering consistency.
For the fourteenth year in a row, the team was named a National Speech School of Excellence. Other than the 23rd place finish in 2018, the team has been in the top 10 in speech each of the past 14 years at Nationals.
The team’s 3rd place finish in speech this year was their best showing since the 2014 team tied for 2nd.
Overall (speech and debate combined), the team placed 7th in America. In 12 of the past 14 National Championships, Gabrielino has placed in the top 15 in the entire country. Eight times, including this year, they’ve been in the top 10.
As long as we’re talking about streaks, in 13 of the last 14 years, The Screamin’ Eagles have had at least one student advance all the way to the National Semi-Finals, the top 14 students in the nation.
This year, three GabSpeech members made it to the elite level. Senior Kelli Ong, qualifying for her first ever Nationals, made the most of it by placing 14th in Informative Speaking. Junior Melanie Hsiang followed up her final round performance last year with a 10th place showing in Program Oral Interp. Junior Gabriel Frank-McPheter became Gabrielino’s 20th National Finalist and placed 2nd overall in United States Extemporaneous Speaking.
All those stats sound easy. It has to be if they do it each and every year. Right? Wrong. This year was tougher than ever. Most events started with over 300 students who had already defeated thousands of other students across the nation just to qualify for Nationals.
Students were given six preliminary rounds. Then, the top 100 were announced in each event. Gabrielino advanced 13 of its 17 speech qualifiers to the top 100. After two more live rounds, the top 60 were announced. All but 1 made it to the top 60.
Let’s do that math. Over two thirds of Gab’s speech qualifiers made it to the top 20% at the tournament. That’s impressive. But it is the Gab standard they have set over the past almost two decades.
Two more rounds used to whittle down the field to 30. Kelli, Melanie and Gabriel “Frank” were joined in the National Quarterfinals by teammates Karyme Pena and Vincent DeMarco in Duo Karyme and Vincent ended up 21st place in their event, just seven spots short of being in the Semi-Finals with their other three teammates. .
“It may be online, but it’s still just as stressful of a competition,” said a member of Screamin’ Eagles’ coaching staff.
When Melane and Gabriel made semis, they automatically qualified for the 2022 National Championships which are scheduled to be held in Louisville, Kentucky next June. They will also be the team’s 5th and 6th Gab students to qualify for Nationals all four years of their high school careers.
A lot of numbers, a lot of stats and a lot of success. Way to go Screamin’ Eagles!!!!
Frank Rocks The Finals
In his first two years as a member of The Screamin’ Eagles, Gabriel Frank-McPheter, of “Frank” as the team calls him, enjoyed great success. He qualified for the National Championships both years.
Given only 6% of the students in America who participate in Speech & Debate qualify for Nationals, Frank was already in elite standing. However, he never ranked well enough to make it past the guaranteed, preliminary rounds at the premiere tournament.
This year, his junior year, he qualified for the National Championships for a third time. And after placing second in his event at the California State Speech & Debate Championships this past April, Frank was laser focused on advancing to the out rounds at Nationals.
And advance he did. Frank marched through the first six prelims and next eight rounds to get all the way to the National Final Round in United State Extemporaneous Speaking. In one of his Semi-Final rounds, four of the five judges awarded Frank with the first place in the round. Indeed Frank learned from his previous experiences at Nationals and was rewarded with the opportunity to compete with five other students in the final round for a chance at being crowned National Champion.
Frank certainly isn’t the first Gabrielino finalist. He was the 20th to be in the finals. He wasn’t even the first in Extemp. Four other students have been on the same stage (although the “stage” this year was virtual since the whole tournament was online because...you know by now...Covid). But, Frank’s claim to fame is that he was the first Extemper to ever make finals as a junior. The legends, Little Richie, Kevin and Alex Ye and Timmy Chunga were seniors when they made it to the premiere round.
The pressure didn’t distract Frank. He gave an incredible speech on what he believed President Biden’s administration will do in regards to police reform. After his seven minute speech, he was cross examined by the previous speaker. Frank then cross examined the competitor who spoke after him about the content of her speech.
As great as he performed his speech, his questions and answers were even better. One judge commented, “I literally wrote ‘ROCK STAR’ in my notes next to my section on questions.”
After 15 rounds of competition and 43 (forty three) different judges ranked the speakers in Frank’s rounds, Frank and a student from South Carolina tied for the National Championship. Sadly, the tie-breaker was the rank in the final round and the other student had slightly better scores in the Finals. As a result, Frank placed 2nd in all of America.
Given that the 347 students Frank beat at Nationals had to, themselves, better thousands of other students across the country at all the local qualifying events just to get to the Championships, Frank’s Finals feat is even more impressive.
By virtue of placing in the top 14 of his event, Frank automatically qualified for the 2022 National Championships. As one of the top three extempers, Frank was also invited to the National Great Debate Championships in July being held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
Great job RockStar Frank and good luck!!!!
2021 National Administrator of the Year
The National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) has named Gabrielino Principal, Sharron Heinrich the 2021 National Administrator of the Year. Earlier this year, Mrs Heinrich was named the East Los Angeles County / Orange County District Administrator of the Year.
Mrs. Heinrich was selected from the pool of nominees from the other 100 NSDA Districts across the nation.
Mrs. Heinrich was the founder and first head coach of the Speech & Debate Team during Gabrielino’s first year as a school.
Congratulations, Mrs. Heinrich - our Mother Eagle!!!
Screamin’ Eagles Ready For National Championships
By Jeremy Tai
Although speech this year has drastically changed during the pandemic, Gabrielino’s speech team has remained strong and resilient. Over the last year since the 2020 National Tournament was moved to an online format, the Screamin’ Eagles have been working hard. This year’s Nationals was supposed to be hosted in Des Moines, Iowa, home of the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA). However, it will be live online due to covid-19 safety concerns.
The NSDA website proclaims, “after months of preparation, rigorous qualifying tournaments, and five days of prestigious National competition, the best of the best will be crowned champions in front of a live audience of thousands and tens of thousands more streaming the events online”. The Screamin’ Eagles have 23 students qualified for Nationals this year.
Starting with Duo Interpretation, we have 4 teams entering in the tournament: first Vincent Demarco & Karyme Pena, Chris Torres & Kate Hamamoto, Logan Tan & Ivan Curiel-Mejia, and finally Geraldine Ly & Alex Lai. Entering in Informative we have our seniors Kelly Ong and Lauren Hamamoto, with this being their final tournament, they are sure to put in their all.
Qualifying in Program Oratorical Interp is Melanie Hsiang and two seniors, Bianca Lua and Kailey Wong. This is Melanie’s, or Melmo’s as the team refers to her, third time qualifying for Nationals. She was automatically qualified for this year’s tournament by virtue of advancing all the way to the National Semi-Final Round last year. She ended up fourth place in all of America for 2020. She states, “since we’re performing at home, the familiar environment creates a sense of security. I wouldn’t say I’m stressed yet, because I’m confident I can get my things done. The environment is different and in person you get to meet new people, you can feed off of others energy, more energetic than me alone in my living room, I get to talk to others about where they’re from. I would much rather have an in person tournament.”
Entering in Dramatic Interpretation is junior Trisha Tanaka. This is her second year to qualify for Nationals. Trisha competed in Drama the year before and she is excited to return with a new speech.
Three Gabrielino Extempers are competing this year. Junior Luccia Yacoub qualified in International Extemporaneous. Junior Gabriel Frank McPheter and senior Sharon Liu qualified in United States Extemporaneous. Each of these speakers have been competing in high level tournaments since their freshman year. Between them, they will have been to Nationals seven times.
GabDebate is also well represented. Kelly Hoang & Annica Wu, Gabriel Sundaramoorthy & Daniel Candia and competing in Policy Debate. Junior Celine Ma will be competing at Nationals for the first time in Congressional Debate and Junior Michelle Mimi Li is making her first trip as part of a multi school debate team entered in World School Debate.
The debate team has been setting all kinds of records this year. This year's debate has two National and two State qualifiers in policy debate, and two State qualifiers in Public Forum Debate. In fact! This year, Debate has doubled the number of policy teams who ever qualified to Nationals.
With this being the last tournament the speakers have been working as hard as they can to prepare. The whole team supports each individual by watching and critiquing their speeches. The Screamin’ eagles are a team and those who are not going to Nationals will support those who are all the way.
Nationals will be from June 13-19. To find the livestreams go to the website https://live.speechanddebate.org
Best of luck to our Eagles, especially our seniors.
Screamin’ Eagles’ Seniors Get Graduation Awards
GabSpeech has hit some pretty incredible milestones over the years. Wins, qualifiers, points, they all are impressive. You can add another one to the list: over 100 Academic All-Americans.
As part of the Class of 2021 graduation highlights, eight senior Screamin’ Eagles have been named to the elite team by the National Speech and Debate Association: Tiffany Truong, Benicio Corona De Flores, Lauren Hamamoto, Noemi Liu, Sharon Liu, Alexis Lay, Kelli Ong, and Joan Tran.
In order to qualify, seniors need to have at least a 3.70 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), have at least 750 points in speech and debate competition and have outstanding character and leadership traits. Seniors who have a GPA between 3.50 and 3.70 (on a 4.0 scale) can also qualify if they got a 27 on on the ACT or 1300 on the new SAT.
Noemi, who will be attending Yale University in the fall, was also named Gabirelino’s Class of 2021 Salutatorian. Lauren, Sharon and Kelli will be competing in the 2021 National Championships this month. Lauren, and fellow GabSpeech senior, Faith Chang were chosen to give the speeches at graduation.
“Our students do amazing things,” a member of the Screamin’ Eagles coaching staff stated. “They have been able to excel in competitions and in the classroom this year, despite both being virtual this year on completely different platforms. They are students who are resilient and do an incredible job adapting to the situations they have been given.”
Congrats to all the Screamin’ Eagles Senior Class of 2021. Best of luck to you all.
Speech & Debate Take Over Eagles Stadium
By Katelyn Corona
For the first time in nearly a year and a half, Gabrielino hosted an in-person Speech and Debate event! The annual Screamin’ Eagles Speech Showcase! Established in 1997, the showcase highlights a few students on the team and allows them to perform their speeches in front of family, friends, teachers and more!
Due to the unfortunate outbreak of COVID-19, the team was unable to host the 2020 showcase. For safety reasons, the 2021 event was transported from its long-lived home, the Gary E. Goodson Theater, to the Eagle Stadium. It was the largest venue the showcase has ever been held! The turnout was excellent and the feeling inside the stadium was electric! Finally, some things are getting back to somewhat normal.
With its rich history and epic performances, getting to deliver a speech on the stage at the Showcase is an honor and a privilege. Some of the most legendary Gabrielino alumni have performed at the event. This year, six special seniors were chosen to perform, Co-captain Bianca Lua, Halle Fukawa, Noemi Liu, Ethan Munsayac, Chloe Nimpoeno, and 2-time National Qualifier Sharon Liu!
On the day of the showcase, the six performers held an Instagram Story Takeover on the team page!
Fukawa told the 192 viewers, “I think what I am most excited about is performing in front of a crowd because I have not done that all year. I am excited, I haven't performed in front of people in a long time so I think it's going to be cool. I am excited to see other people perform because I haven't been able to do that all year. I am most excited to see Sharon’s Extemp performance!”
Nimpoeno said, “My favorite memory from the showcase is seeing everybody in person for the first time in a while. Before the event started, we all got to hangout and catch up!” She continued by adding, “It was an amazing opportunity to be able to perform at the showcase especially after the year we’ve endured! As a senior, I found it incredibly fortunate that my last speech performance was in front of a live audience and that I had a chance to perform for my friends and family.”
At the, end of the night, the team celebrated the success of the event and the seniors said farewell to the stage. The team is now full steam ahead toward the National Tournament in June!
Keep a look out for what the Screamin’ Eagles do next.
The Screamin’ Eagles have consistently placed in the top 13 schools in America and have been THE top program in the southern half of California for 15 of the past 18 years. Only one or two of those schools ahead of us in America are Title 1 schools (low socioeconomic schools). Speech and Debate is an activity greatly favoring rich students and schools.
Donations help us give all 250 students various opportunities throughout the year and not just a select few.
If you would like to support one of the best speech & debate programs in America, please send check or money order to:
Gabrielino High School Speech & Debate Team
1327 S. San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Payable to: Gabrielino HS Speech Team