Gabrielino High School

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2/19 - CIF GIRLS SOCCER moves on to semi finals!  Here in Eagles Stadium, Sat Feb 22 at 5:00pm vs. Arroyo Valley.  Congrats to CIF WRESTLING champ Donovan Sanin, GHS' 1st ever CIF champion!

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Gabrielino
Speech & Debate
 
Jared Padalecki
2020 National Speech & Debate Association
National Spokesperson
 
 
 
Elizabeth Warren
2019 National Speech & Debate Association
National Spokesperson
 
 
 
 
 
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Spring Varsity Is Simple Math

 

Math scares a lot of people.  But in the speech world, ne plus two equals a leg.  It’s simple math.  Nothing complicated like imaginary numbers or quadratic equations.  No engineering calculus or proving theories needed.  Just simple addition.

 

It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t.  Get 1st or 2nd at the league’s Fall Varsity Tournament and then get a 1st or 2nd at the league’s Spring Varsity tournament.  However, two 2nd places won’t do it.  So, win one and then get 1st or 2nd at the other one and you have earned one of the five or six spots in every event to represent the Southern California Debate League at the State Championships.awards

 

It also sounds pretty easy, but it really isn’t.  Winning in some events means you have to beat 50 or 60 other competitors.  Many of those competitors are some of the top performers in America. 

 

After the league’s Fall Varsity Tournament last December, the Screamin’ Eagles had nine students who won their events and nine who placed second.  Simple math says the team had a total of 18 entries in a position to qualify for the 2020 California State Championships without having to compete at the league’s qualifying tournament.

 

groupSounds easy, but it wasn’t.  After losing several students to illness and fears of the Corona virus, the team took their tissues and cough drops to Arcadia High School to compete in the Southern California Debate League’s Spring Varsity Tournament. 

 

It just so happened to be the highest temperature Southern California has reached so far in 2020.  Heat is great, but no so much when you’re wearing suits and waiting around outside in sun for the next round to be posted.   Once inside the classrooms to perform, the competition was even hotter than the outside air as Santa Ana winds blew into the San Gabriel Valley.

 

After two preliminary rounds of competition, the Screamin’ Eagles had 90 entries advance to the semi-finals and 49 get all the way to Finals.   Nine of the 18 students with chances to qualify for State solved the equation and got their tickets to State group2punched early. 

 

“We did it for Kobe,” proclaimed sophomores Alex Lai and Geraldine Ly, who took first place in Duo Interpretation at the fall tournament second this time around and will be making their second trip to State this April.

 

Senior Co-Captain, Raquel Chavez, also qualified after winning Dramatic Interpretation at both league varsity tournaments.  “It’s really great to make it now and not have to worry for the next month.” 

 

Some students weren’t so fortunate.  Sophomore Gabriel Frank-McPheter didn’t make it to the semi-finals after winning the fall tournament.  “It’s unfortunate, that’s for sure,” Frank-McPheter said.  “I was over time in one of the rounds, and that mistake cost me.  I’ve learned my lesson and I’ll just have to regroup and work that much harder to get better.” 

 

Senior Felicia Tang, the reigning State Champion in Expository Speaking, hadn’t missed a cut for a final round at a tournament in 18 months until she failed to break to finals in any of her three events at the James Logan Invitational last month. She had a day of performances at Spring Varsity only a champion of her caliber could deliver. awards2

 

Tang became the first student in several years to receive first place ranks from all eight of her judges.  She also received a perfect score of 240 in speaker points from those same adjudicators.  “Logan was a wake up call,” commented Tang, who will be making her fourth straight trip to the State Championships where she will defend her title.

 

“I’ve seen a lot of students over the years picket fence a tournament (getting straight 1’s),” said one of the Screamin’ Eagles’ Coaching Staff.  “But I don’t remember the last time someone ended up with perfect speaker points.  She certainly is focused and talented.”

 

Five other students received automatic spots in the State Championships.  Seniors, Franchesca Pondevida, Co-Captain David Campos, along with sophomores Halina Kwan, Melanie Hsiang, and Thien Le all had the simple math add up correctly for their bids to State.

 

Overall, the team took 1st place at the tournament for the 20th straight year, beating the other 19 schools.  The team now prepares for the next league tournament, a novice and JV meet, at Millikan High School later this month

 

Way to work the simple math Screamin’ Eagles.

 

photos by Katherine Xie

 

 

 

SPRING NOVICE CRITIQUE SHEET
 
you will need 6 critique sheets

 

 

 

lOG TEAM

Sophomore leads Screamin’ Eagles at Logan

 

Most people use the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday as a day to enjoy a nice three-day weekend. No work or school on Monday makes for a nice vacation; a perfectly good time to sleep in or catch up on projects and work.  But, it seems like the best way to celebrate one of the greatest orators and most influential people in history, on his National Holiday, is by competing in a speech and debate tournament in his honor.  The Screamin’ Eagles and 85 other high schools across America did just that. 4 people

 

Over 1,000 students converged in Union City, California, a suburb of Oakland, at James Logan High School, and used the MLK weekend to come together for three days to debate each other and perform their speeches. 

 

In the almost quarter century the MLK Jr. National Invitational Speech & Debate Tournament has existed, it has become one of the premiere tournaments in all of America.  This year’s field featured competitors from 9 of the Nation’s top 30 programs. wall

 

Schools came from Florida, Texas, Nevada, Wyoming, Alabama, and Mississippi to test their skills with fellow powerhouse programs from California.  The Screamin’ Eagles, currently ranked as the fifth largest team in America, had 49 of their best students make the long trip up the 5 freeway to perform against some of the top high school speakers in the United States.   

 

Each of the speech events started with anywhere from 60 to 170 competitors.  After three preliminary rounds, they were trimmed down to the top 24-42 speakers for the quarter-final round.  The top 14 in each of the 12 speech events made it to semis and the top seven advanced to the finals.  The Screamin’ Eagles put 49 entries in quarters, 20 in semis, and 11 in finals. 

 

Sophomore Luccia Yacoub made the very most of her weekend by competing in three different speeLucciach events.  She made it to the semis in International Extemporaneous Speaking and the finals of both National Extemporaneous and Expository.  For her great success, Luccia was recognized as one of the top three students overall at the tournament.  “The only thing you can control in a round is the way you perform and the message you try to leave with your audience” Yacoub said after receiving her medal with Dr. King embossed on it. 

 

Luccia wasn’t the only underclassman who stood out in the elite field of competitors. Fellow sophomores Melanie Hsiang, Trisha Tanaka and Halina Kwan along with Juniors Lauren Hammamoto, Bianca Lua, Eric Zhang all made the final rounds.  Franchesca Pondevida and Lin Knudsen were GHS’ only seniors in the top seven of their events.

 

“Our younger students really showed up and performed exceptionally well”, commented one of the teams’ six coaches who made the trip.  “These kids have a lot of drive and talent.  We are excited to see what they can accomplish over the next year or so.”

 

foodSenior, and defending State Champion in Expository, Felicia Tang saw her 18-month streak of final round appearances come to an end after she failed to advance past semis in any of her three events.  “This tournament was a harsh reminder that nothing is guaranteed for anyone,” Tang said.  “I need to buckle down and work harder.  I’m a senior and I need to set the tone on this team.  I really want to make the trip back here (to James Logan High School) for State.”

 

The tournament is also a great opportunity for Screamin’ Eagle Alumni in the Bay Area to come and judge for their team.  This year, several alumni reconnected over the weekend.  Class of 2014 GHS graduate, Garrett Chan, was excited for the chance to be a part of GabSpeech again.   “Coming back to judge was a very nostalgic and heartwarming experience,” said Chan, who qualified for Nationals his senior year in Extemporaneous Speaking six years ago.  “I had an amazing time judging very talented and passionate speakers.”

 

Gabrielino placed 4th overall, out of the 85 schools competing.   The tournament was a great experience for the team, more so this year, because James Logan High School is hosting the 2020 California State Speech & Debate Championships this coming April.  “The MLK Jr. Tournament (at Logan) hascasa always been important for our team,” said senior Co-Captain David Campos.  “This year is even more important because State is here in a couple of months.”

 

The Screamin’ Eagles did a fantastic job honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with their best performances of the year so far.  The team now shifts its attention back to their own backyard as they prepare for the Southern California Debate League’s second varsity tournament of the school year at Arcadia High School in February.

 

Keep at it Screamin’ Eagles.

photos by Katherine Xie

 

 

 

 

SPRING VARSITY CRITIQUES
You will need 4 total critique sheets (2 full pages)
 
 
State Quals Cover Sheets
Spring Varsity Critique Sheets
You will need 4 critiques

 

 

 

 

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Y2K:  No Way

 

“Will the internet crash and the world end next month?” 

 

That question was probably a United States Extemporaneous question drawn by one of the Screamin’ Eagles Extempers at the Southern California Debate League’s Fall Varsity Tournament back in 1999.  With the dawn of a new millennium only a few weeks away, Y2K destroying our society was the prime worry as the New Year approached.  That tournament, held at Alhambra high school, was the final tournament of the century and also the last league speech tournament Gabrielino didn’t win.

 

Fast forward two decades.  The internet didn’t crash, the world is still spinning and the Southern California Debate League still has tournaments.  Pasadena City College played host for the league’s 2019 Fall Varsity Speech Tournament.  Having hosted the league's fall debate tournament just a few weeks earlier, the campus on Colorado Blvd. was set to provide all the accommodations.6

 

The campus was nice, but the weather, was not so great.  Clouds and a consistent light rain made for a cold and gloomy day.  In spite of the inclement weather, the Screamin’ Eagles found the energy to give their best performances of the year thus far.  The competitors performed three times in the preliminary rounds and waited for the final round announcement.  Each of the 12 events had between 20 and 70 entries.  Only the top seven would be chosen for the final rounds.

 

Oh, and let’s not forget, this tournament was, in part, a State Qualifying Tournament.  Students who place first or second in their event at this meet gain a “leg”.   If they follow that up with a first or second at the league’s next speech tournament in early February (a second “leg”),  they receive automatic qualification for the State Championships in April up in Oakland.  Gab Speech took 18 of the 24 available “first legs”.

 

93 total students representing most of the 16 area schools participating advanced to the Final Round.  55 of those competitors were from Gabrielino.    When the individual champions were announced for the 12 different events, Gabrielino’s name was called 9 times. 

 

9Defending Fall Varsity Champion,  State Champion and National Finalist in Expository could not win her third tournament of this season in the event and defend her Fall Varsity title.  Instead she took second place to fellow teammate, sophomore Kayson Tang.  “I’m glad Kayson won,” Tang said as she stood with her team waiting for rides after the awards ceremony.  “He’s really good and really funny.  He’s young, so he better not let this go to his head.  He better keep working.  I got a leg in the event, so it was a win/win for Gab”  Felicia did take home a championship trophy however; she won Original Oratory in only her fourth tournament ever performing in the event.

 

“It was really a fun day, except for the rain,” remarked Co-Captain, Raquel Chavez.  The senior, with her Dramatic Interpretation Champion trophy in hand, stood under a bus-stop awning reflecting on the day.  “It was cold and wet outside, but the competition inside the classrooms was really tough.”  8

 

One team official commented, “this was a cold day and the season is still young.  There is a long way to go and you know the competition from all the schools is going to heat up.  This is one of the toughest leagues in America.  We have a really good senior class and good student leadership.  It’s going to be an exciting season.”

 

20 years ago the world shook in trepidation as we awaited the Y2K crash.  Just like the internet, the Screamin’ Eagles are still going strong.

 

photos by Katherine XIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Novices Pour Their Souls Into Their Performances

 

SoCal weather is awesome, except when it’s not.  No one ever expects rain, especially when the sky is blue.  Just after the first round of Fall Novice began, a rogue cloud moved over the Gabrielino campus and for just a few minutes, it unloaded all the rain it was carrying.

 

The brief shower was labeled by Californians as “pouring”; while the rest of the world would call it a good rain.  It only rained enough to get everyone to move all the goodie bags and expos boards under some sort of shelter.2

 

2019 marked the 23rd straight year Gabrielino has hosted the Southern California Debate League’s Fall Novice Tournament.  It was only the second time any rain had fallen on the meet.

 

This year also saw Fall Novice start out with below average temperatures.  Students were “warming up” their speeches while their bodies were shivering.  “I can’t feel my fingers,” freshman Morgan Ogata proclaimed. 

 

3Before the third round of the day was complete, the sun was out and it was back to a typical 80 degree SoCal day.

 

Regardless of all the different types of weather, the young Screamin’ Eagles team won 21 trophies.  The other 14 schools combined won 17.  In total, 65 awards in the form of trophies and ribbons were awarded to the GHS students.

 

The Screamin’ Eagles had a very large and powerful freshman class last year.  They continued their dominance in the Junior Varsity Category.  This year’s freshman class is the smallest in the past 23 years, yet they still managed to perform exceptionally well.4

 

“Our freshmen did great,” commented team Co-Captain Jaden Raymundo.  “They are small in number, but they showed they are pretty mighty.”

 

The Screamin’ Eagles got to perform each of their speeches three times and used each opportunity to make their performances better. 

 

The tournament may have started cold and rainy, but the weather, and the Screamin’ Eagles ended the day shining brightly!

 

The team now begins getting ready for the all important first league varsity tournament next month.

 

Way to go Screamin’ Eagles.   

 

photos by Katherine Xie

 

 

Gab Gab Gab

 

Gab Gab Gab '19 Was Big Big Big

 

It started out three years ago as a simple meet for the Screamin’ Eagles to not have to deal with the registration and logistical nightmare the Cal. State Long Beach tournament had become for the team.

 

In two short years, the Screamin’ Eagles Invitational Speech Tournament has grown so much the campus is busting at the seams.  The third edition of Gab Gab Gab, as it’s affectionately known, featured teams from LA, Orange, San Diego and Riverside Counties.   The meet also featured the top three teams in the entire southern half of California and National School of Excellence Award winners.

 

Because of the large number of entries, several areas on campus were used including the science rooms, theater lobby and a hallway leading to the television production room.  “The popularity of this tournament has certainly forced us to be creative in competition areas,” commented one of the team officials.team

 

Just to add to the challenge, the powerful Lady Eagle Volleyball Team was hosting a large tournament at the same time.  Well before the speakers went to their first round at 8am, the parking lot was completely full.  GHS Assistant Principal, Vince Lopez, summed up the moment, “this is chaos”.   Ah, but organized chaos.

 

The tournament is the only known competition in California where all preliminary ballots are pre-assigned, sorted into individual judge packets and presented to the adjudicators when they arrive in the morning.  “We knew everything we were judging and had all our materials given to us before 8am,” remarked one judge.  “It was very refreshing and one of the most organized tournaments I’ve ever been to.”

 

After three preliminary rounds, the competitors were narrowed down to the top six in each of the 21 different events.  The Screamin’ Eagles put 67 students in the final round, and GHS won 13 first place trophies.   team 2

 

While most invitationals in California last into the wee hours of the night, or even require students, coaches and judges to give up their entire weekends for two days of competition, The Screamin’ Eagles ran three prelims, finals and awards before 5pm.  “We know you don’t have to give up a whole day to reap the benefits of performing,” said team Co-Captain, Jaden Raymundo.   “We know it takes a lot of organizing during the week, but we want to show everyone it can be done.”

With the success of Gab Gab Gab 3.0, the tournament will be sure continue to grow.  Luckily, the team has a whole year to be even more creative.

 

Way to go Screamin’ Eagles!

 

photos by Katherine Xie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Debaters Are Gaining Experience   

 

For the first time in the history of the Screamin’ Eagles Speech and Debate Program, the team competed in a tournament at Pasadena City College.  Last hosting a meet in the early 1990s, PCC played host to the 2019 Southern California Debate League’s Fall Debate Tournament.  The GHS contingent was made up of mostly juniors and sophomores.  Only two Gab seniors participated in the league’s first debate competition of the year.

 

The debaters may be young, but they are getting much better.  The quickly maturing group competed against the best in the league and managed to still place students in both events Gabrielino entered.  “Over half our debaters made it to the out rounds of their events,” varsity debater Annica Wu stated.  “That’s pretty incredible.” 

 

The Public Forum team of Sharon Liu and Emily Haas was announced at the awards as the Champions of the event.  Unfortunately, because of a scoring error by tournament officials, the league announced the next day the junior debaters actually placed fourth.  “As soon as they posted the ballots, we saw the error and reported it immediately,” Haas explained.  “We wanted to make sure they got it right.”

 

“We are really excited about what these young debaters can become,” said a member of the Screamin’ Eagles coaching staff.  “Everyone did a fantastic job.”  Rookie and Senior, Steven Zhen, competing in his first ever debate tournament after performing at only two speech meets, said, “I didn’t win any debates, but I tried my very best and I learned a lot.  It was a really good experience for me.”

 

The team now turns its attention to the league’s Fall Speech Tournament next month at Pasadena City College. 

 

Keep on Soarin’ Screamin’ Eagles!

 

photo by Frank McFrank

 

 

 

 

 

Icebreaker 23 Was Special

 

The 23rd time is a charm huh?   You’d think they could just sit back and do the same old thing after 22 successful tries.  Nope.  That’s not how to stay on top. 

 

The 2019 Screamin’ Eagles debuted their season in a new sense.  They asked the middle school kids to come perform with them at this year’s Icebreaker Speech & Debate Tournament.

 

Gabrielino’s returning members have been paired up with new Eagles for the past two decades, but this year, several got to perform with students from Jefferson.  The tournament still offers a chance for veterans to show the rookies the ropes of how a high school meet works.

 

Several schools from around the area competed in the actual tournament, but the pairs with middle school students participated in an intersquad practice meet.   “We wanted to make sure the Jefferson kids would still be novice next year without question,” explained one team official.  “So, we just put them in rooms to compete against themselves.”

 

Pairs competed in four different rounds: Improvisational Duo, Spontaneous Debate, Radio Interview and Character Debate. 

 

With the date so close to National Talk Like a Pirate Day, the tournament theme once again was all things Pirates.  In keeping with tradition, the top 12 pairs of two were presented with swashbuckling cups, flags and candy.  12 Gabrielino students were among those honored at the post-competition festivities.

 

As soon as the main awards ceremony was concluded, the Screamin’ Eagles, their middle school partners and some of their parents crammed in the GHS Speech & Debate headquarters to have their own private awards ceremony where all the Jefferson students received awards in a very loud and energized room.

 

22 years were great, but this one, number 23, was special!  Congrats everyone

 

photos by Katherine Xie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screamin' Eagles Win in Dallas

 

Screamin' Eagles Win In Dallas

 

The team’s first trip to the National Championships in Dallas back in 2006 was not quite what the team had hoped.  The Screamin’ Eagles came up one ballot ranking short of their second straight National School of Excellence Award. 

 

Fortunately, the next two trips were much more successful.  The 2011 National Championships produced Jane Liu and Brian Trinh’s legendary performance in the Finals of Duo Interpretation, Kevin Ye’s outstanding Final Round speech in United States Extemporaneous, and the team’s fifth National School of Excellence Award.  The team placed 1st in the Speech Category in all of America (about 2,500 schools).

 

Fast forward to 2015.  Kevin Ye’s little brother, Alex, also had the privilege of speaking on stage for the Final Round of Extemporaneous Speaking; this time, in the International Extemporaneous category. The team won their ninth National School of Excellence Award, placed 10th overall and fifth in the Speech Category in all of America.

 

Dallas provided some great successes for the team in recent years, but 2019 proved to be a challenge.  The Screamin’ Eagles qualified a team (and East LA District) record 21 students: tying the record they set just two years ago.  Four vans were used to transport the qualifiers and judges to two different competition venues.  For the first time in team history, the Screamin’ Eagles had a future speaker, little Dakota-having just celebrated her first birthday, as a cheerleader in their 29-person entourage. Dakota joins the group

 

No sooner than having checked into their hotel, the same hotel which had hosted the Screamin’ Eagles for the past two Dallas Nationals, a police SWAT team was in the parking lot with guns drawn on one of the hotel guests.  As team officials assessed the situation with the property managers, it was evident this was not a rare occurrence at the site.  The children and their family members swimming in the nearby pool were unfazed by the incident.  It became clear that the once shining hotel had fallen into a shadow of its former self.

 

Twice more during the night, the police were called to the hotel.  With that, the Screamin’ Eagles needed to quickly find new living accommodations just days before the huge tournament would begin.  However, finding a hotel with enough open rooms in Dallas for the entire week was daunting.  Most properties were already sold out because of the National Championships.

 

Enter The Courtyard by Marriot, in the Dallas suburb of Richardson.  Hotel management was listening to Gabrielino officials’ story and setting them up with rooms way past business hours on a Saturday night.  Like the French coming to the aid of America during the Revolutionary War, Courtyard saved the Screamin’ Eagles from disaster. 

 

With accommodations secure, the team then needed to transport 29 people and their luggage 20 miles north to their new and vastly improved living quarters.  While the students and coaches were moving into their new rooms, two team officials traveled to Downtown Dallas to register the team for the Championships. 

 

No sooner than the materials were picked up at the Sheridan Convention Center, a text came through on one of the official’s phone.  The tornado sirens were going off back at the Courtyard.  Californians have no idea what to do during a tornado, so the team was instructed to go to the bottom floor of the hotel and huddle in the most interior portion away from windows. 

 

Meanwhile, the Screamin’ Eagles officials in downtown Dallas walked out to the parking garage to watch the storm, check weather radar, and monitor police frequencies for information about the tornado.  Instead of the storm tracking North to the hotel, it decided to change direction due East and head for the convention center.  Right after the coaches got to the edge of the parking structure, the tornado sirens went off, the wind started blowing, and a downpour began.   Back inside to safety.  Luckily, no tornados actually touched down close to either location.  The Screamin’ Eagles were saved again.

 

The following day brought the first four rounds of competition.  After the first round had begun, news came through about a major shooting a few blocks from the competition venue at the Dallas Federal Building.  The gunman had been neutralized by police, but the front of the Convention Center would be closed so authorities could find the man’s vehicle and use a controlled detonation to render it safe for the community.

 

After a very stressful 72 hours, the team couldn’t help but wonder what’s next?  Again, enter the Courtyard Hotel.  The gracious management team set the students and coaches up with microwaves and refrigerators in all their rooms and even gave the team a conference room for the week to practice, meet, and have a fantastic complimentary breakfast each morning. 

 

What’s next?  What’s next was eggs, and sausage, and cereal and everything else you could want for breakfast as they began the second day of competition.

 

Tuesday was elimination day.  The time in the tournament when the six guaranteed preliminary rounds conclude and the top 60 inCowboys each event advance to the octo-final rounds.  In the blink of an eye, or the page turn on the big screens, 200-300 competitors in each event are whittled down to five dozen. 

 

The Screamin’ Eagles came to Dallas confident and very well-prepared.  They had endured some early challenges unrelated to the tournament but they performed their very best.  When the breaks were announced just after lunch, only five Gab entries were listed.  The harsh reality smacked everyone in the face and for a moment, all the air escaped from the balloon. But the team picked themselves up, the newly anointed Fab Five went to their next two rounds and put everything they could into their speeches.

 

GHS tradition stipulates The Screamin’ Eagles would have a post dinner party Tuesday evening at an ice cream place to learn the names of those advancing to the top 30 - the National Quarter-Finals.  If you make it to Quarters, celebrate with ice cream.  If you get eliminated, drown your sorrows with ice cream.  If a tornado hits, hide and hold on to your ice cream. This year, there would be no sorrows, only celebration, because all five Gab entries advanced to the top 30. 

 

The third day of competition is the toughest.  The best 30 are competing in each event and the judges and competitors are worn out after the two previous extremely long days.  After rounds 9 and 10, the team advanced two students to the National Semi-Finals.  Senior Sofia Ramirez and junior Felicia Tran were in the top 14 in all America. 

 

 “We said bstockyardsack in November, Sofia can be in the National Finals,” one of coaches commented.  “And Felicia is the California State Champion, so we are not surprised at all.  Both students work exceptionally hard and are incredibly talented performers.”

 

Rounds 11 and 12 were held in the afternoon and evening to determine the final six students to perform on the big stage in front of over 2,000 people in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheridan Convention Center.  When the announcements came, Felicia learned she would be the 18th student from Gabrielino to make it all the way to the National Final Round.

 

At the National Championships, each of the main event final rounds takes place one at a time so everyone can watch in person at the convention center, or on the livestream feed on the internet.

 

Felicia’s event, Informative Speaking, took place first thing Friday morning.  Felicia woke the crowd up with her energy and information all relating to aviation.  She thrilled and entertained. 

 

At Friday night’s award ceremony, Felicia was awarded 4th place in all of America and the team received their 13th National Speech School of Excellence Award.  The Screamin’ Eagles placed 15th overall and 8th in the Speech category in all of America.

 hotel

Before the team headed home, the students and coaches toured around the Dallas area with stops at the AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys), the Ft. Worth Stockyards, some mini-golf and go-cart racing, and yes, more ice cream.  

 

The morning the team checked out of the hotel, the exceptional Courtyard staff prepared the successful Screamin’ Eagles team a championship breakfast for their trip home.

 

Oh, and just as they were leaving the hotel, all the power went out as a new transformer was put in place.  Again, the team lucked out and adverted tragedy.

 

Welcome home Screamin’ Eagles.  Congratulations on yet another incredible showing at the largest academic competition in the World. 

 

 

 

Felicia Rocks the Final Round

 

After six preliminary rounds and six elimination rounds over four exhausting days, junior Felicia Tang made it all the way to the Final Round of the National Speech and Debate Championships.  Out of over 200 competitors who qualified for the tournament and the thousands of entries who didn’t make it past their local tournaments, Felicia was among the top six in all of America in Informative Speaking.

 

The 2019 California State Champion traveled with 20 of her fellow teammates who qualified to Dallas, Texas for a week at the largest academic competition in the world, hosted by the massive Dallas Sheridan Hotel and Convention Center.

 

“I really like aviation,” said Tang who is making her second trip to Nationals.  “I wanted to represent Gab (Gabrielino High School) and California.”

 

Even though the round was at 8am, almost 2,000 people filled the grand ballroom at the convention center in Downtown Dallas while thousands of spectators from all over the Nation watched online via the Livestream feed.

 

Felicia woke up the morning crowd by throwing a paper airplane into the audience and turned the simple act of blowing up a balloon into a humorous event with her bubbly personality and her incredible energy.  Felicia talked about the history of aviation, how humans have weaponized it and how, because of our ability to fly, her father was able to safely escape war torn Cambodia and immigrate to America.  Laughter, singing, and a few tears shed made her 10 minute performances one of the best in the country. 

 

“She’s already working on her college applications,” said one of her coaches.  “I think she now has something very special to them.  She’s an amazing young person.  I guess it makes since that she’s doing a speech on aviation.  It started with a dream and the Wright Brothers achieved it.  Felicia is going to be able to achieve anything she can dream of doing.”

 

A few hours later, after all the final rounds had concluded, Felicia returned to the big stage to be awarded an outstanding fourth place in America for her performance.

 

Gabrielino principal, Sharron Heinrich, who watched Felicia’s performance on the Livestream webcast said, “Felicia was amazing.  She had total control of the stage and audience.  I cannot tell you how proud I am of her and how much of a joy it was to watch her speech.”

 

Congratulations Felicia, you certainly flew like an Eagle at Nationals!!!

 

 

 

Gabriel Frank-McPheter

By Zoe Perez

 

Gabriel Frank-McPheter, alongside the other three other freshmen headed to Dallas, will be performing U.S. Extemporaneous speeches. Though he is the only student participating in his event, he carries himself with confidence and works hard.

 

Gabriel has talent beyond his years. In U.S. Extemp, performers are given thirty minutes to develop three points to support their stance on the topic given to them. In thirty minutes Gabriel is able to develop a speech that sounds like he’s been practicing it for months!

 

His fluidity is unreal, especially for a student his age; his hand gestures and mannerisms portray the high maturity level he possesses. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Gabriel will give other U.S. Extempers at Nationals a run for their money.

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

 

Villescas Takes Charge

By Leslie Lim

 

As he and his fellow competitors argue back and forth on various policies that should be put into law, junior Samuel Villescas firmly makes his case. As a junior, Villescas has thrived in Debate and has qualified for Nationals in Congress.

  

“Samuel has always had extraordinary abilities, but this year, his work ethic has improved greatly,” stated Eric Chen, assistant coach. “His academic vocabulary for his speeches has also become much more refined.”

  

Although juggling various AP classes and sports, Villescas has always found a way to make time for Extemp and Debate. Both of which require great amounts of articulation abilities and a deeper understanding of political issues.

  

“The ability to express myself freely was something that eluded me and speech has helped me break my shell and express my ideas whether it be in politics or otherwise,” stated Villescas.

  

Villescas has had a firm belief that Speech and Debate has allowed him to bloom into the great speaker he is today. Qualifying to the National Tournament was a difficult path, but one Villescas embraced wholeheartedly.

  

“I missed my chance of [qualifying to Nationals] in Extemp, so I picked myself up and did the best with the next opportunity,” Villescas stated. “I think I’ve made the most of it in debate.”

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

Gabe & Bianca Have the Duo Magic

By Zoe Perez & Noli Thai

 

As we count down to the 2019 National Championships, we are spotlighting several of our 21 Qualifiers in this on going series.

 

Gabriel Pena and Bianca Lua’s performance is most definitely a sight for sore eyes. After an intense tournament season of ups and downs, the two secured a spot at the National Tournament. They’re bound to stun the audience in Texas and teach them the reality of superstar Selena’s life.  It’s no shock that this dynamic duo qualified for Nationals.

 

Their interpretation is focused along the beautiful but short life of Selena Quintanilla-Perez and her husband Chris Perez. The talented young singer’s life was stripped from her when she was shot by her own agent, Yolanda. In their speech, Chris is overwhelmed with sadness and struggles to retell the story of his wife. With beautiful singing and intense scenes, Gabe and Bianca capture the story of the couple perfectly.

 

This is Bianca's first trip to Nationals so she will rely on the experience of her partner, Gabe, who has qualified for the third year in a row. 

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

An Infinite Duo

By Zoe Perez & Noli Thai

 

As we count down to the 2019 National Championships, we are spotlighting several of our 21 Qualifiers in this on going series.

 

Khin Han and Jaden Raymundo will be competing at Nationals for the first time. Participating in Duo Interpretation, this pair of juniors is bound to leave the audience in tears. The genuine chemistry portrayed between the two is a key factor in their performance.

In their speech,

 

Khin and Jaden play young kids in love in their piece, An Infinite Ache. After growing up and getting married to each other, they begin to start a family. The burning love they share is intense but, after an unfortunate event, the couple begins to drift apart. Through heartbreak and intense fights, the marriage seems all but lost. However, in the end, love finds a way to overcome even the worst of situations. This a duo to keep an eye, and ear, our for.

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

 

All Freshmen Duo Makes Nationals

By Zoe Perez & Noli Thai

 

As we count down to the 2019 National Championships, we are spotlighting several of our 21 Qualifiers in this on going series.

 

Though only freshmen, Karyme and Vincent’s performance level is amazing. It might only be their first year performing, but it seems like the two have been doing it for much longer. This year they’ll be continuing to impress at Nationals.

 

Their speech is focused on two kids who fall in love at a young age and tragically lose contact when distance interferes. However, when they reunite in high school they show that true love doesn’t.

 

Throughout their performance, Karyme and Vincent manage to evoke a variety of emotions from their audience. Though it is only their first time qualifying for Nationals, this factor will not hold them back. After performing all year, we have faith that this duo’s hard work will pay off.

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

 

Laughing To Nats

By Zoe Perez & Noli Thai

 

As we count down to the 2019 National Championships, we are spotlighting several of our 21 Qualifiers in this on going series.

 

Senior Andrew Kumataka-Do will be competing at Nationals for the second time. Andrew will be performing in Humorous Interpretation, which comes as no surprise seeing as he keeps people laughing in and out of rounds.

 

Leading up to Nationals, Andrew was constantly cutting and adding to his speech. Even after performing in the final round at the State Championships and placing 6th in California and the Gab speech showcase, he is always trying his best to better his speech.

 

In his speech, Andrew tells the story of an awkward teenage boy battling to win the heart of his crush. With the help of his brother, the boy tries his best to get the girl by changing himself to make her like him. However, in the end, he discovers that being you is what’s most attractive. Throughout his speech, Andrew transitions through an impressive number of characters. At Nationals, his audience will witness how Andrew took this script and made it his own.

 

With his constant will to do the best, he is sure to make it far at the National Championships.

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

 

 

Melanie Tries to Keep Rollin' To Nationals

By Zoe Perez & Noli Thai

 

As we count down to the 2019 National Championships, we are spotlighting several of our 21 Qualifiers in this on going series.

 

Talented freshman, Melanie Hsiang, has been leaving everyone speechless all year long. From her amazing ability to imitate the Evil Queen from Snow White to a preppy valley girl, Melanie does it all. In her Program Oral Interpretation (Thematic Interpretation), Melanie combines different pieces of her choosing to create an overall theme of toxic relationships.

 

When Melanie qualified for Nationals, all her upperclassmen peers were ecstatic. After placing 4th in Program Oral Interpretation at State Champs, it was clear Melanie was destined to go far in speech. Now, she is one to look out for. When she finally hits the stage, Melanie will give her audience an unforgettable performance.

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

 

 Joan Of Nationals

By Zoe Perez & Noli Thai

 

As we count down to the 2019 National Championships, we are spotlighting several of our 21 Qualifiers in this on going series.

 

Joan Tran, sophomore, also performed at the showcase, bringing down the house with howls and cries of laughter. There, everyone got a sneak peek of her amazing talent. From then on until now, Joan has been improving her speech to incorporate more detail and emotion to enhance her performance.

 

Joan will be performing her Humorous Interpretation, “The Staggering Heartbreak of Jasmine Merryweather.” Joan’s rendition is one definitely not to miss. She acts out the story of a middle school girl who has an enormous crush on her classmate who doesn’t exactly feel the same way. The girl goes through several heartbreaks and tries her best to bounce back.

 

As this is her first time qualifying for Nationals, she has no idea what she’s walking into. However, she’ll adapt to the Texan surroundings and settle in nicely, along with her other fellow Eagles.

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

The Force is With Sofia

By Zoe Perez & Noli Thai

 

As we count down to the 2019 National Championships, we are spotlighting several of our 21 Qualifiers in this on going series.

 

Senior Sofia Ramirez also blew people away at the speech showcase. She was the talk of the night taking people’s breath away with her amazingly accurate accent and stunning outfit. Unfortunately, Sofia did not qualify for State Championships. However, she turned the situation around by committing even further and working harder with her eye on the prize: the National tournament. At the National Qualifying tournament, it all paid off.

 

This is Sofia’s first time qualifying for Nationals. Though it’s her last year, there’s no doubt she’ll make a huge impact on her audience.

 

Sofia will be performing a Dramatic Interpretation highlighting the life of Carrie Fisher, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at an early stage in her life. While dealing with this emotional ordeal, Sofia demonstrates that life still goes on. She depicts the joy that, widely known and deeply loved, Princess Leia brought to fans. However behind the scenes Carrie Fisher dealt with addiction and depression.

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

Felicia Rocks the Final Round

 

After six preliminary rounds and six elimination rounds over four exhausting days, junior Felicia Tang made it all the way to the Final Round of the National Speech and Debate Championships.  Out of over 200 competitors who qualified for the tournament and the thousands of entries who didn’t make it past their local tournaments, Felicia was among the top six in all of America in Informative Speaking.

 

The 2019 California State Champion traveled with 20 of her fellow teammates who qualified to Dallas, Texas for a week at the largest academic competition in the world, hosted by the massive Dallas Sheridan Hotel and Convention Center.

 

“I really like aviation,” said Tang who is making her second trip to Nationals.  “I wanted to represent Gab (Gabrielino High School) and California.”

 

Even though the round was at 8am, almost 2,000 people filled the grand ballroom at the convention center in Downtown Dallas while thousands of spectators from all over the Nation watched online via the Livestream feed.

 

Felicia woke up the morning crowd by throwing a paper airplane into the audience and turned the simple act of blowing up a balloon into a humorous event with her bubbly personality and her incredible energy.  Felicia talked about the history of aviation, how humans have weaponized it and how, because of our ability to fly, her father was able to safely escape war torn Cambodia and immigrate to America.  Laughter, singing, and a few tears shed made her 10 minute performances one of the best in the country. 

 

“She’s already working on her college applications,” said one of her coaches.  “I think she now has something very special to them.  She’s an amazing young person.  I guess it makes since that she’s doing a speech on aviation.  It started with a dream and the Wright Brothers achieved it.  Felicia is going to be able to achieve anything she can dream of doing.”

 

A few hours later, after all the final rounds had concluded, Felicia returned to the big stage to be awarded an outstanding fourth place in America for her performance.

 

Gabrielino principal, Sharron Heinrich, who watched Felicia’s performance on the Livestream webcast said, “Felicia was amazing.  She had total control of the stage and audience.  I cannot tell you how proud I am of her and how much of a joy it was to watch her speech.”

 

Congratulations Felicia, you certainly flew like an Eagle at Nationals!!!

 

 

Tang Takes Flight

By Zoe Perez and Leslie Lim

 

As we count down to the 2019 National Championships, we are spotlighting several of our 21 Qualifiers in this on going series.

 

Motivated, talented, and inspiring.

 

This is how many people would describe junior Felicia Tang. Whether it be in varsity volleyball, varsity track and field, or Speech and Debate, Tang has garnered massive success through hard work and dedication.

 

“Her dedication to not just her events, but to the team helps the people around her grow,” sophomore Alexis Lay and teammate stated. “Seeing her work during practice drives me to work harder as an individual.”

 

Tang has been in Speech for three years, displaying promise when she qualified to the State Tournament as a freshman. Last year, she qualified to the National Tournament in Dramatic Interpretation as a sophomore. This year, she was State Champion of Expository and in June, will be competing at the National Tournament in the same event.

 

“Felicia’s boards are very intricate and reflective of her creative abilities,” teammate Kristie Tan, sophomore, stated. “Her artistic talents are impressive and I am constantly amazed by not only her boards but her speaking abilities. She’s really good at conveying emotions.”

 

This year, her Expository revolves around aviation and the different facets of flight. She shines a light on the past, present, and future uses of aviation, dazzling the audience with her bubbly personality and humor.

 

As she heads to Dallas this month, the Screaming Eagles hope that she will do well and take flight at Nationals.

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

 

 

Hoc Aims High

By Zoe Perez and Leslie Lim

 

As we count down to the 2019 National Championships, we are spotlighting several of our 21 Qualifiers in this on going series.

 

While many students shudder in fear when thinking about getting up and giving a speech with only minutes to prepare, junior Starlee Hoc, excels in Extemporaneous speaking.

 

“Despite how goofy and fun he may be, he puts more time and effort into Extemp that anyone else I know,” stated teammate Brandon Du, junior. “He keeps the event afloat and does everything he can do to help everyone succeed.”

 

Throughout the year, Hoc was challenged to balance his time with multiple AP classes, varsity Track and Field, and JV Cross Country, but remained focus on his goals in Speech.

  

“This year has been very tough for me going through junior year whilst maintaining a leadership role,” Hoc stated, “But the consistency and the drive to keep working allowed me to continue and get to me where I am now.”

  

This drive led him to qualify for the National Tournament for the first time in International Extemp. This recent success was not received without hard work and setbacks. Earlier this year, Hoc was unable to secure a position to the State tournament. However, he took that and used it in order to fuel his motivation to become better in Speech.

  

“I think Nationals is such an amazing opportunity for me and knowing that my hard work has paid off,” Hoc stated. “Knowing that I have reached this level has inspired me to be more.”

  

Hoc looks forward to attending the National Tournament and the Screaming Eagles hope he hits the mark this June.

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

 

Congrats Grads
 
For the past four years, the Screamin' Eagles Class of 2019 has been know as one of the smallest classes in the team's 25 year history. 
 
While short in people, they managed to rack up some pretty impressive stats.  17 Speech and Debate Seniors all walked across the stage at the Santa Anita Racetrack.  Seven students earned speech and debate honor cords.  Three were named Academic All-Americans by the National Speech & Debate Association.  Senior Co-Captain Stephanie Rubio was awarded the opportunity to give the commencement address.
 
The class has a combined 14 trips to the State Championships and 10 trips to Nationals.
 
Every member in the class of 2019 can claim they never lost a league speech tournament and were league champions during their entire high school career. 
 
15 of the seniors are continuing their educations at UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, Knox College, Cal. St. San Luisobispo, Cal. St. L.A., Pasadena City College and Citrus College,  Two seniors will be serving America in the United States Marine Corps.
 
Before going to college five of the seniors will lead the 21 Screamin' Eagles going to the National Championships later this month in Dallas, Texas. 
 
Congratulations Seniors.
 
 

Three Academic All-Americans

By Zoe Perez

 

Three speech and debate students, seniors Andrew Do, Kenny Le, and Jaycob Wahinehookae have all reached an academic peak in their high school career: national recognition as Academic All-Americans. This award is given by the National Speech and Debate Association (the second largest honor society, behind on the National Honors Society).

 

To reach this academic achievement, a student must complete at least five semester of high school. Students must also accumulate more than 750 points in speech and debate contests and an unweighted GPA of 3.7 or higher.  Another way a student might qualify is 750 points, 3.5 GPA, and a score of 27 on the ACT or a 1300 on the SAT.

 

As an addition to obtaining this special award, the three students will be granted exclusive graduation cords for their work. “It’s special to see four years of hard work go into one award and I’m  really honored about the fact that I did obtain it. I’m very humble about receiving it as well.” Andrew Do shares. “This award isn’t my award, it’s also an award to others who helped me along the way.”

 

These three students have become portraits of excellence, leadership, and dedication in speech. The team couldn’t be more proud of their procurement. They will take this achievement with them to their post-secondary education and will continue to display their brilliance wherever they go. 

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

 

 

 

 

All-State Team

 

The 2019 California Speech and Debate All-State Team has been set.  16 members of the Screamin’ Eagles made the list.

 

The First Team is led by State Champion, junior Felicia Tang.  Joining her are senior Jaycob Wahinehookae and sophomore Lauren Hamamoto.

 

Senior Andrew Do made Second Team All-State for the second year in a row.  He is joined by fellow senior Stephanie Rubio and freshman Melanie Hsiang.

 

The honorable mention team features a solid group of five juniors.  Francesca Pondevida, Sarah Vuong, Raquel Chavez, Jaden Raymundo, Khin Han will all be returning next year.  Kayla Tran, Geraldine Ly and Alex Lai are three freshmen who came on strong at the end of the season.  Bianca Lua was the only sophomore who made the list.  Bianca’s duo partner, senior Gabe Pena, rounded out the team.

 

“To get 16 on there is very impressive,” the team remarked in a prepared statement.  “To have 13 of them coming back next year is really exciting.  The team had a rough start with such a small senior class, but they grew and matured to write yet another incredible chapter in the history of Gabrielino Speech and Debate.”

 

Way to go Screamin’ Eagles

 

photo by Noli Thai

 

 

 

 
 
 

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

 
 
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