Prior School Year News
18 Named To 2023 California All-State Team
By CIndy Tran
As the school year comes to an end, our outstanding speech and debate members have been recognized once again for their achievements. This year, 18 of our Screamin Eagles’ are named as members of the California All-State team.
The All-State team consisted of members from various grade levels. Senior Violet Wang, the 2023 State Champion in Informative Speaking, along with junior Sherry Shi and Sophomores Karina Vargas and Gabby Sanchez were named First-Team All-State
Senior Gabriel Sundaramoorthy, juniors Kailey Trinh and Emi Natio along with sophomores Sofia Villagra and Marco Cisneros Farber were named to Second Team All-State
Continuing the team's All-State legacy as Honorable Mention are seniors Rachel Young and Aidan Scannell, juniors Kaylyn Thai, Kate Hamamoto, Ashley Lau, and Zoe Nimpoeno and sophomores Jojo Scannell, Addyson Diep, and Chenlu Yang.
The Gabrielino Speech & Debate Team was, once again, the top program in the southern Half of California.
Congratulations Eagles! You’ve all worked so hard this past school year and we’re glad your talent and hardwork is being recognized.
Photo by Alexandra Singleton
Showcasing GabSpeech in Style
By Cindy Tran
It's that time of the year! Time for Screamin’ Eagles Speech Showcase. 16 performances were delivered at the annual Gabrielino Speech and Debate Showcase. Continuing this yearly tradition, family and friends gathered at the Gary E. Goodson Theater and a total of 8 speeches were performed each day on at the Friday/Saturday event.
Before the big show, Gabspeech rocked the theater stage at the Embedded Time Showcase, held on Thursday as the , where each performer gave a 1-minute teaser of their speech. This was a great opportunity for our Eagles’ going to Nationals to have a feel of what it’s like performing in front of a large audience with bright lights in their eyes. More importantly, this was a way for our fellow Gabrielino students to see what speech is about and get a glimpse of our talented speakers.
Friday’s lineup included junior Kailey Trinh opening up the showcase with her Humorous Interpretation (HI), Bryanna Quach with her Program Oral Interpretation (POI), Gabriel “Sunny D” Sundaramoorthy with his U.S. Extemp, Jordan Liu with her Informative, Violet Wang with her Informative, Sherry Shi with her Oratorical Interpretation (OI), and Gabby Sanchez with her Original Advocacy (OA).
Closing the night was Thao Le and Allyson Lay who performed their heartfelt Duo Interpretation, Paper Lanterns, Paper Cranes. “I was very excited but maybe it was because of the adrenaline of performing in front of such a large audience for the first time ever.” said Junior, Thao Le. The two put on a great performance that left the audience with tears in their eyes.
After the first four amazing performances, the showcase took a 10 minute intermission to quickly prepare for the Senior Recognition portion of the showcase. Friends and family scattered back into the theater as Junior Connor Tran and Freshman Divine McKenzie announced this year's Screamin Eagle seniors along with their parents. After a great deal of cheers and applause spread across the room, the team quickly got together to prepare for the last four speeches of the night.
But the fun and excitement didn’t stop there because day 2 of the showcase started the following night at the same time, 7:00pm. Saturday’s lineup consisted of Zoe Nimpoeno with her Original Prose & Poetry (OPP), Veena Sundaramoorthy with her Program Oral Interpretation (POI), Sofia Villagra with her U.S. Extemp, Karina Vargas with her Informative, Kate Hamamoto with her Informative, Rachel “Russia” Young with her Dramatic Interpretation (DI), Emi Naito with her Oratorical Interpretation (OI), and ending off the night was Senior Aidan Scannell with his Humorous Interpretation (HI).
Like Friday’s showcase, after 4 performances, there was a brief intermission. This time, the team took their time to recognize the Jefferson Speech and Debate students. Connor and Divine once again announced the names of the Jefferson Speech Team/future Screamin Eagles’. The last 4 performances were delivered before our Speech Captains, Jordan Liu, Erika Luc, Sunny D Sundaramoorthy, and Violet Wang ended the 2023 showcase with their final comments.
We want to thank everyone who attended the showcase and our amazing performers who put on a great show. An extra special thanks to our parent boosters and our GHS administration. And lastly, congratulations to our seniors that are graduating later this year!
We hope you all had an amazing time and we can’t wait to continue this tradition!
photos by Nick DeMarco
One Final Time to Shine at Novice Champs
By Cindy Tran and Brianna Chen
The first weekend of May, gave our Novice and Junior Varsity Eagles a chance to compete against 18 other schools in the Southern California Debate League’s Novice Championships.
The Debaters left Gab right after school on Friday to head over to Arcadia High School for three rounds of debate. On Saturday, our very own Gabrielino High School hosted all the Speech events. Our new Eagles have been working hard since February and this was the time for them to show off everything they’ve done!
Friday debates featured one final time this school year to enjoy Chano’s burritos, quesadillas, horchata and Cokes with real sugar. After each round, the debaters gathered to discuss the arguments and revise their cases before the next pairings were released. As daylight slowly faded away, the competition, like the sun, set on the day only to begin anew the next day at Gab.
After three preliminary speech rounds, competitors began to get tired, however, anticipation heightened as everyone waited eagerly for the final postings.
Competitors braced themselves as large posters dropped from the second floor of the main building, announcing the seven competitors in each of the 12 events who qualified for The Final Round. The posters were awarded to the champions of each event to take home with their trophy.
In total, 47 members of GABSpeech advanced to the Final Round for the Speech events.
“I really enjoyed the environment and the people there were so nice, I got to see some pretty good speeches,” said Novice Cedric Hua. Cedric went on to place second in Declamation (formerly Oratorical Interpretation, OI), and fourth in Informative (formerly Expository).
The Screamin’ Eagles won nine of the 12 speech events and one of the five debate events. Congratulations to Teresa Wong, Cedric Hua, Kayley Thai, Valerie Leung, Lindsay Wong, Melinda Do, Jaslin Situ, Zachary Tang, Kevin Shu, Aaron Hua, Chase Ong, Andrew Lai, Justin Ng, Isaac Chan, Jayden Phung, Angelina Chung, Natalie San Lucas, Owen Dowell, Kara Mak, Mark Liu, Asiel Castro, Neil Lu, Jennifer Quach, Ryan Yan and Gwendolyn Chu for placing in the top three in their events!
Saturday’s competition concluded with an awards ceremony for both speech and debate. Gabrielino won the tournament for the 26th straight year.
“After the results of Novice Champs, I’m really looking forward to participating in debate next school year!” stated one of our other freshman novices, Jennifer Quach
The next time we’ll see our Screamin 'Eagle's perform will be at the annual Gabrielino Speech and Debate Showcase. This will be a good opportunity for the team to recruit new members as well as show off how hard our team has worked this past school year!
As the school year comes closer and closer to the end, our Eagles’ rush to finalize their speeches for the National Tournament.
Good Job Screamin’ Eagles
Going South to State
By Cindy Tran
After waiting for four years to get to perform in person at the California State Speech and Debate Championships, the Screamin’ Eagles were more than excited to get on the bus to travel to San Diegofor the weekend.
The last time the California High School Speech Association held their annual State Championships was at Cal. State Long Beach in 2019. The 2020 tournament was canceled and ‘21 and ‘22 were both online virtual tournaments.
Gab Speech sent their 26 qualifiers to Carlsbad High School for the three day overnight trip. The last time our team competed at San Diego was in 2011 at San Diego State
For some Eagles, going to State was a familiar feeling. For others, like Junior Allyson Lay, this was their first time qualifying to the State Tournament. “'I'm really proud of my duo this year so my first time experience at State couldn’t have been better.” said Allyson.
This year’s State Tournament overlapped with Gabrielino’s annual Prom. The captains teamed up with a couple of the assistant coaches to pull a few strings and hold a make-shift prom for our Eagles complete with treats and photo opportunities.
Speech events at State occur in two different patterns. The public address events (Original Oratory, Original Advocacy, Informative, Impromptu and U.S. & International Extemp) compete in time pattern A while the Interpretation events (Humor, Drama, Duo, Declamation, Program, Original Prose & Poetry) occur in time pattern B.
The top 56 competitors from across California in each event performed in three preliminary speech rounds. When the semi-finalists were announced on Sunday morning for the A pattern, every one of Gabrielino’s students advanced to the top 18 in their event. “Yeah, that’s never happened,” proclaimed one of the Screamin’ Eagles coaches. Over 60% of the teams B pattern qualifiers made it to Semis.
After an exceptionally tough semi-final round, Gab advanced nine entries into the final rounds. Congratulations to Sofia Villagra, Marco Cisneros-Farber, Sherry Shi, Karina Vargas, Sunny D Sundaramoorthy, Kailey Trinh, Gabriela Sanchez, and Emi Naito for placing in the top seven in all of California.
A special congratulations to Violet Wang who was the State Champion for Informative Speaking! Our 4 year co captain is one our most hard working members. Whether it’s a team gathering or after school practice, Violet is always there. No one deserves it more than Violet!
Violet was the third GabSpeech member in the last four championships to win Informative.
The Gabrielino Speech Team placed 4th overall and was the top placing school in the entire southern half of California for the fourth year in a row.
The team now sets its sights on the league Novice Championships.
Way to go Screamin' Eagles
photos by Alexandra Singleton
Violet Wins State Championship
by Noelle Chan and Cindy Tran
Over the span of the 3-day overnight tournament at Carlsbad High School, the 2023 California State Championship Tournament came to an end and the results couldn’t have been better! Senior Team Co-Captain, Violet Wang was named the State Champion in Informative Speaking.
Having performed at a wide range of tournaments throughout her 4-year speech career, Violet Wang was ready to make her last State Championship tournament worth it. From editing her script to fixing her boards, Violet had dedicated countless hours of her time to prep for this tournament. “State was definitely stressful, but I practiced a lot leading up to the tournament, and it was really fun to be with the team and get to perform for new people at such a high level!” Violet recalled.
The State tournament was not only a chance to perform alongside tough competitors but also a great opportunity to learn from her peers and improve her speech as a whole. “I learned from State that there’s always work to be done! Rounds are close and hard, competitors are good, judges are picky, and luck needs to be on your side. There’s always room to improve!” Violet explained.
All of the blood, sweat, and tears she poured into perfecting her speech were all worth it. With adrenaline and disbelief coursing through her veins, Violet was awarded the title of champion of Informative! “The final round was definitely high on emotions. There’s something about final rounds that makes one perform better,” Violet said.
Violet becomes the 23rd State Champion in Gabrielino Speech & Debate storied history. She’s also the third State Info Champion, in the past four years, to come from Gabrielino.
Congratulations, Violet! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish at the National Tournament in June!
Nine Going To Nationals in Phoenix
By Cindy Tran and Noelle Chan
Over the course of 2 consecutive weekends, our Screamin’ Eagles competed at the National Qualifying Tournaments for a chance to earn a spot in the 2023 National Speech and Debate Championships in Phoenix, Arizona.
Schools from all the eastern half of Los Angeles County and all of Orange County converged to determine the top three competitors in each event to represent the area at Nationals.
Our Gabrielino Speech team could enter four potential qualifiers for each of the 13 national events. Event leaders and the GabSpeech coaching staff put the “Nat Quals” team together. “On a team as large as ours, it is an honor just to be selected to be on the Nat Quals team,” one of the coaches stated.
For the speech events qualifier, our Eagles rushed over to San Marino High School right after school ended to compete in the first 2 rounds of their event. The next morning, students woke up bright and early to compete in round 3, semi-finals, and the final round if they advanced..
The Gabrielino Eagles did not get a break as they had to quickly perfect and add the finishing touches to their speeches for Nat Quals just a week after competing at State Quals. Sophomore Veena Sundaramoorthy was the only Screamin’ Eagle selected to compete in two events at the speech qualifier. She competed with her Program Oral Interp, POI, and her Humorous Interpretation, HI. Taking two events to such a big tournament is a hefty duty, “I was very stressed and since I was in 2 events, I had no breaks, going from room to room,” Veena said. However, her hard work paid off as she qualified to Nationals with her POI. “It was worth it. Taking 2 events gives you 2 chances and I love both events and both of my speeches”.
The two prior weeks, the team waited in anticipation to see who would qualify for the State Championships. This time was no different as the team was just as excited to see the results. So without further ado, congratulations to our 2023 National Qualifiers in Speech who will be joining Veena in Phoenix this summer: Aidan Scannell in Humor, Sherry Shi in Drama, and Thao Le & Allyson Lay in Duo. GabSpeech took all three spots in Informative Speaking: Kate Hamamoto and senior co-captains Violet Wang and Jordan Liu.
Our 8 outstanding Eagles will travel on a 10-day overnight trip to Phoenix, Arizona to compete at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in June.
The following weekend, the debaters traveled just up the 210 freeway to Flintridge Prep High School in La Canada for their chance at making it to Nationals.
Senior Co-Captain Gabriel “Sunny D” Sundaramoorthy won Congressional Debate and became the ninth GabSpeech member going to Phoenix. “My sister qualified last week, so I didn’t want to have to be home while she was getting to perform in Phoenix. And someone needs to look after her, she gets lost getting the mail,” said Sunny D, the 17 year old former boy scout who still plays the part.
Our team's special number for the tournaments seemed to be 4. Six of our Eagles placed fourth in the 13 events, including five of the eight speech events. “We were just a couple of points away from sending twice as many people to Nationals,” Sunny D said.
Because of the results, Sunny D swapped his Congressional Debate spot with a student from another school and will compete in United States Extemp at Nationals.
Even to the very end, our Eagles did an amazing job and we can’t wait to see our qualifiers thrive at the National Speech and Debate Tournament!
League Champs 26 Years In A Row
by Noelle Chan and Cindy Tran
Finally, it’s time for the State Qualifying tournaments! During the past few weeks, our Screamin Eagles’ competed at the Southern California Debate League State Qualifiers for Speech and Debate Events. The first weekend was for speech events and the second for debate! For our Eagles who didn’t auto-qualify for States during Fall Varsity/Debate or Spring Varsity/Debate, this was their last chance to qualify for the State Championships in April.
Held at Montebello High School, the State Qualifiers for speech events, State Quals for short, consisted of 3 guaranteed rounds, a semi-final, and a final round. A total of 346 students across 15 schools (including Gab speech) entered to compete. Students were able to take up to 2 events like Freshman Justin Chia who took his Original Oratory (OO) and his Declamation.
Throughout the day, students ran across the Montebello campus to make it to their rounds on time, gave amazing speeches, and enjoyed the delicious Mexican cuisine served by the Chanos food truck.
After a long day of emotional and stress-filled competition, our seniors spent their bus ride home preparing to give their senior speeches. As a tradition, seniors have given speeches after the State Qualifying Tournament every year since 1999. These 3-minute speeches include a lot of shout-outs to other members of the team, sentimental items to pass down to the underclassmen and a heartfelt recap of their experience in Speech and Debate. Senior Rachel Young qualified for State in drama and gave an impactful speech to the underclassmen. “I decided to pass down items like my 4-year senior medal and first high school speech trophy. Overall, it was a really emotional night because I’ve been doing speech since 7th grade so I’m not ready for my speech career to end,” senior Rachel Young said.
Just one week later, our debaters competed at the Debate Qualifier held at Schurr High School. With a total of 116 entries and 14 schools entered to compete at the tournament, this was definitely a challenge for our Eagles.
After two weekends of qualifiers, we would like to congratulate 19 of our Screamin’ Eagles for placing in their speech event and earning their spot to compete at the State Tournament: Aaron Situ, Aidan Scannell, Emi Naito, Karina Vargas, Zoe Nimpoeno, Chenlu Yang, Zyra Dango, Kate Hamamoto, Bryanna Quach, Thao Le, Allyson Lay, Kailey Trinh, Josephine Scannell, Sofia Villagra, Ashley Lau, Kaylyn Thai, Gabby Sanchez, Addyson Diep, Marco Cisneros Farber, and Rachel Young. “Even though my experience was a complete rollercoaster, I’m glad all my hard work paid off because that means more people got to see my message,” junior Emi Naito said.
All these students will be joining the four students who automatically qualified earlier this year for an exciting weekend in San Diego at the State Championships next month.
And for the 26th year in a row Gabrielino is the Southern California Debate League Champion
To all of our Screamin’ Eagles that qualified, good luck at State in April and congratulations to everyone for once again being League Champions.
Spring Novice Back In LBC
by Cindy Tran and Noelle Chan
From finalizing scripts to adding the finishing touch on an Expos board, our Novice and Junior Varsity members got ready to compete once again at Southern California Debate League’s Spring Novice tournament on February 4th at Long Beach Polytechnic High School!
It was the first time Long Beach Poly in Long Beach, California (LBC) has hosted a tournament since 2015. Garfield High School hosted it for four years, it was online one year and last year, in 2022, it was held on the Gabrielino campus.
After a week of debriefing and reflecting from the Spring Varsity tournament in January, our novices were ready to soar at this tournament! Our Eagles competed in 3 rounds across 24 events.
Out of the 220 competitors, 21 of our Eagles placed first in their event(s) and won the tournament! 22 of our members won an excellence award and 25 won a superior award.
Congratulations to sophomore Kara Mak, freshman Kayley Thai, and sophomore Sofia Villagra for placing first in both of their events! “I didn’t go in expecting anything and I just wanted to have fun,” Kara said. “But, I gave it my all and I feel like it was a good way to end my novice and JV career!”
We would like to give a big thank you to Varsity members like Allyson Lay for taking time out of their busy schedules to come and judge our novices! Allyson described judging as “very interesting and fun seeing all the performers from our school as well as other schools.”
Although they did not judge, our event leaders were also at the tournament to support our novice and JV Eagles! Duo event leader Christopher Torres observed the duo rounds and proudly said, “I really enjoyed watching the novices grow and improve both their speeches and as a speaker.”
We hope to see everyone at the State Qualifying Tournament/League Championships at the end of February!
A Sunny D Day at Spring Varsity
by Noelle Chan and Cindy Tran
On January 28th, our Screamin’ Eagles kicked off the start of their weekend with The Southern California Debate League’s Spring Varsity Tournament at Arcadia High School! 110 of our team members competed in 2 preliminary rounds with an additional semi-final round and final round if they qualified. Competing against 15 other schools across 14 events, this tournament was definitely a challenge.
As an act of encouragement, Duo Interpretation event leaders Nicole Diep and Thao Le carried on the tradition of making goodie bags for the Eagles participating in Duo. The bags were filled with various snacks like Rice Krispie treats, Fruit Roll-Ups, a bag of chips, a Caprisun, and Welch’s fruit snacks. To make these bags even more memorable, they customized them to fit each person! “This was my first tournament as an event leader so I really wanted to go all out on the goodie bags to support everyone in Duo,” Nicole commented.
After weeks of intense preparation prior to Spring Varsity, our Eagles’ hard work and dedication definitely paid off at the tournament. Over 60 GabSpeech members advanced to semis and 32 broke to finals.
Junior duo Lindsay Wong and Melinda Do broke to semi-finals through their strong communication and amazing teamwork! As novices, they wanted to make sure that their first year of speech was worthwhile. “We worked really hard on our speech so it was nice to see it pay off,” Lindsay said. “Honestly, I didn’t expect to break to semis but I’m proud of us for getting this far,” Melinda added.
Congratulations to junior Sherry Shi in Oratorical Interpretation/Declamation (DEC), junior Chris Torres in Program Oral Interp (POI), as well as senior Violet Wang in Informative/Expos who all automatically qualified to go to the 2023 State Championship Tournament in April! All of these amazing members earned a “leg” (by placing 1st or 2nd in their event) at both Fall Varsity and Spring Varsity! “I’m really happy that I qualified to state and I’m grateful for all the help and support I got from my friends in speech during the weeks of Spring Varsity and Fall Varsity,” Sherry commented. “I’m really looking forward to seeing good speeches from all over California and going on my first ever overnight tournament!”
We would also like to give a special congratulations to Senior Captain Gabriel “Sunny D” Sundaramoorthy, who auto-qualified in both of his events (United States Extemp and Policy Debate)! Sunny secured his position in the State Championships for his debate event by earning a leg at Spring Debate and Fall Debate. He did the same for his speech event by earning a leg at Fall Varsity and Spring Varsity.
This day marked the 24th year in a row Gabrielino has won the league’s Spring Varsity Tournament! With this tournament coming to an end, our first-year Eagles will be back for Spring Novice and we can’t wait to see members of our team at the State Qualifying Tournament/League Championships next month!
Spring Debate Back at San Gabriel
By Cindy Tran and Noelle Chan
To start off the New Year, our Screamin’ Eagle debaters competed in the Southern California Debate League’s Spring Debate Tournament. The novice portion consisted of 3 rounds while the Varsity portion included 4 preliminary rounds and a final round. This was the chance for our debaters to earn a leg to the State Debate Championships!
For the first time in many years, Gabrielino entered 9 debaters in the novice portion of this tournament which took place on Friday, the day before the Varsities got to compete. In the past, novices weren’t able to compete at Spring Debate due to the long distance. However, this year, Spring Debate was held at San Gabriel High School, making it the first tournament that the high school has held in over 10 years!
Right as the 3:30 p.m. bell rang on Friday, our novice debaters wasted no time rushing over to San Gabriel High School to get ready for their first round. Since this was a novice tournament, they didn’t have the opportunity to earn a leg to States. However, this was a great way for our novice debaters to gain experience for future competitions.
Junior Ashley Lau stated, “My favorite part of the tournament was how after each round everyone would just sit together and talk. It made me feel like I really belonged to debate since I was still really new.” This was Ashley’s second debate tournament and through her hard work she went on to be named the champion in Lincoln Douglas Debate!
Congratulations to Eagles senior co-captain, Gabriel “Sunny D” Sundaramoorthy, and sophomore Aaron Situ who placed first in Policy Debate! Just a few months ago, Sunny and Aaron earned a leg at Fall Debate. With this win, they officially qualified for the 2023 State Championships!
Other winners at the tournament were senior Aidan Scannell and junior Sheri Shi placing 7th in Public Forum Debate, junior Sophia Pu and sophomore Marco Cisneros-Farber 6th place in Public Forum and Senior Violet Wang and freshman Isabella Lam 3rd place in Policy Debate
Our Screamin’ Eagles did an amazing job and we can’t wait to see our debate State Qualifiers progress!
Legs Give Added Meaning to Spring Meets
By Noelle Chan
Racing against time, our Screamin’ Eagles are scrambling to finalize and polish their speeches before their next round of Southern California Debate League tournaments. With only a few days left on the clock, the 16 students who earned a leg at the Fall Debate or Fall Varsity tournaments are looking forward to winning another leg at either the Spring Debate or Spring Varsity tournaments.
A leg, which can be earned by placing 1st or 2nd in their event during the fall tournaments, is something to take seriously. Any competitor who gets two legs automatically qualifies for the State Championships!
From adjusting their speeches to fit in the time limit to fixing minor mistakes in their scripts, members like Anson Law who got a leg at the Fall Tournament in Original Prose and Poetry are determined to soar. “I feel less nervous about my speech after Fall Varisty. I’m not too worried about the results from Spring Varsity as long as I have fun with my speech,” Anson said.
While the next few weeks may bring a lot of stress to our performers, it’s also important to stay calm and focused. We hope that you all do your best at the tournaments, but don’t forget to have fun! Good luck at both Varsity Tournaments.
Eagles Show Holiday Spirit at Fall Varsity
By Cindy Tran and Noelle Chan
With the holiday season approaching, our Screamin Eagles put away their ugly Christmas Sweaters and brought out their Christmas spirit through their speeches. For the first time, the Southern California Debate League held its Fall Varsity Speech Tournament at Montebello High School! 14 area schools with a total of 450 entries competed in the meet.
It’s no doubt our Screamin’ Eagles felt some sort of nervousness or anxiety leading up to the tournament. But, they didn’t let that stop them. With passionate deliveries and motivated mindsets, our Eagles soared in 3 preliminary rounds and a qualifying final round.
At every Fall Varsity tournament, the league has San Gabriel’s very own Chanos Restaurant come on campus to prepare and sell their excellent Mexican/American cuisine to the competitors. For those who were craving something warm and delicious to counter the cold weather, Chanos offered a classic quesadilla or maybe a plate of tacos. This tradition is a great addition for our hungry competitors as well as the judges that take the time out of their day to help out.
Like Fall Debate last month, Fall Varsity was a great opportunity for our competitors to earn a “leg”, meaning they placed 1st or 2nd place in their event. Out of all the amazing competitors and their speeches, these Eagles really shined. Sherry Shi, Joseph Peng, Ivy Wang, Violet Wang, Kate Hamamoto, Kailey Trinh, Sofia Villagra, Anson Law, Christopher Torres, Gabriel Sundaramoorthy, Allyson Lay, and Alexis Do all earned a leg for the State tournament, which means if they earn another leg at Spring Varsity, they automatically qualify for the 2023 State Championships!
Being cheered on by his peers during his final round of POI, or Program Oral Interpretation, Varsity member Chris Torres describes the excitement he felt to perform. “I think I did really well in my final round because I spoke loudly and was really feeling my speech. Speech is a great community because we all uplift and encourage each other to do better and I think that really helped me during my final round,” Chris said. With this motivation and encouragement, Chris went on to win 1st place in POI.
42 GABSpeech members advanced to the final round (the top seven competitors) and were presented with trophies during the awards ceremony. The team won the tournament for the 23rd consecutive year by earning 196 points. The point total was more than the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place teams earned, combined.
Our Screamin’ Eagles worked hard this semester and we are so proud that they were able to show off their speeches.
We hope to see you all in 2023 at State Qualifiers. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year! Happy holidays to everyone!
Screamin’ Eagles Warm Up At Fall Novice
by Noelle Chan and Cindy Tran
For the past 26 years in a row, The Southern California Debate League’s Fall Novice Speech Tournament has been held on our very own campus. This year was no exception. Our JV and Novices were up against 18 other schools with over 400 competitors.
The morning started off cold and rushed with ties being tied and hair spray being sprayed. The smell of freshly baked donuts filled the air as our Screamin’ Eagles got ready for their first round of the day. Per usual, Fall Novice consisted of 3 rounds, no final rounds.
As the day went on, our team began to warm up to both the weather and the livelihood of the tournament. “I was really excited to perform and watch other people’s Original Advocacy speeches so I could learn more about their topics,” said one of our Junior Varsity Eagles, Angelina Chung.
After hours of after-school practice, finalizing performances, as well as additional preparation over the weekend, our team’s hard work paid off. 18 of our Screamin’ Eagles were champions of their events! The competitors who placed first in their events received a medal, while 2nd-3rd places received Superior ribbons, and 4th-5th places received Excellence ribbons. But remember, placing isn’t what’s important. As long as everyone is having fun while performing, that’s a win-win!
We would like to give a big thank you to our Varsity members for dedicating their time to judge and help out as well as the Gabrielino teachers that allowed us to use their classrooms. “Judging was really fun because I was able to teach the novices things that would be useful to them in future tournaments. I’m just glad I could help them improve overall,” said Varsity Eagle Ivy Wang.
Our Screamin’ Eagles did a fantastic job yet again! We can’t wait to see what you all accomplish as the year progresses!
photos by Alex Lai and Jordan Liu
Debaters Find Success at Schurr
By Cindy Tran and Noelle Chan
With the spooky season ending, our Screamin Eagles’ hopped out of their costumes and into their speech attire to get ready for Southern California Debate League’s Fall Debate Tournament on November 5th. 16 of our debaters competed in four preliminary rounds and a qualifying final round of Public Forum, Policy, Lincoln Douglas, and Parliamentary Debates.
As the first league debate tournament of the year, held at Schurr High School in Montebello, it's no shock our Screamin' Eagles spent countless hours preparing for Fall Debate. For debater Mark Liu, that meant, "going to practice, watching news related to America, and getting a good night's sleep".
Although it may have been a stressful tournament, our Screamin’ Eagles knew how to keep calm and have fun. In between rounds, our debaters spent time eating, talking about their rounds, and meeting people from other schools. Debater Anson Law recalled that he “enjoyed going back to the prep room in between rounds because [he] got to debrief and talk to my teammates”.
To end off Fall Debate, Duo Sophia Pu and Marco Cisneros-Farber placed 2nd in Public Forum, followed by Garrison Chan and Isaac Chan in 4th. In Policy Debate, duo Aaron Situ and Gabriel Sundaramoorthy placed 2nd and duo Isabella Lam and Violet Wang placed 4th. Finally, in Lincoln Douglas, Sofia Villagra placed 7th. “It was so surreal and it was my f
irst time doing the event and I had so much fun. I love LD (Lincoln Douglas).” Sofia said.
Since our debate pairs of Sophia Pu/Marco Cisneros-Farber and Aaron Situ/Gabriel Sundaramoorthy placed second in their events, this means they get a “leg”. Debaters get a “leg” if they place 1st or 2nd at Fall Debate and Spring Debate. If those same teams get one more leg at Spring Debate, they’ll automatically qualify for the 2023 California State Championship Tournament!
Congratulations Eagles! Good luck to everyone at Fall Novice!
photos by Johnny You
Gab Gab Gab is Back to Normal
By Cindy Tran and Noelle Chan
On October 15th Gabrielino hosted the Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles Invitational Speech Tournament, better known as Gab Gab Gab, once again on our very own campus! Last year it was modified because of Covid-19, where the three preliminary rounds were hosted online and only the five finalists in every event came to perform in either the Goodson Theater or the multi-purpose room. The 2020 version was completely online.
This year, the Screamin’ Eagles got to experience the whole tournament live, in person! Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Novice members from 12 schools across Southern California traveled to Gabrielino to compete in 22 different events.
For novices like Jaslin Situ and Zachary Tang, GabGabGab was brand new. It was their first formal tournament where they got to perform the event, or events, they’ve been practicing and preparing.
But, if you thought one event was difficult, try doing two, like Thao Le. Thao double-entered and performed a total of 8 rounds of her Program Oral Interpretation, and her Duo, with partner Nick Lee. When asked about how Thao feels about being double entered, she explains, “In the beginning of the school year, it's kind of stressful to get both of your events done. But, as time progresses, it's really cool to see your events get better.”
With over 89 awards given to Gabrielino students in their respective events, our Screamin’ Eagles shined through the rainy weather. Brianna Chen, Divine McKenzie, Nick Lee, duo Asiel Castro and Jeffrey Wu, Isabella Lam, Jordan Liu, Jasmine Bonilla, Sofia Villagra, Ximena Mercado, Alexandra Naito, Zyra Kate Dango, and Veena Sundaramoorthy all placed first in their events!
Congratulations to our Screamin’ Eagles, we look forward to seeing you all at Fall Debate and Fall Novice!
Debate at the Beach
By Noelle Chan and Cindy Tran
Last month, our Screamin’ Eagle debaters competed at the 30th annual Jack Howe Memorial Invitational on the campus of California State University Long Beach. This was our current debaters' first ever Jack Howe Invitational and their first debate tournament of the year! From September 24th to September 25th, 6 teams from Gabrielino competed in 6 difficult preliminary rounds of debate from sunrise to sunset.
Our debaters focused on 2 main events at Jack Howe, Open Public Forum and Open Policy. The two-person debate teams of Sherry Shi/Aidan Scannell, Sophia Pu/Marcos Cisneros-Farber, Anson Law/Hinson Yuen, and Isaac Chan/Garrison Chan competed in Open Public Forum. Violet Wang/Isabella Lam and Gabriel Sundaramoorthy/Aaron Situ were in Policy Debate.
Our Screamin’ Eagles worked especially hard to prepare for their rounds. “We first analyzed the topic and talked about different aspects of it to build up a fundamental understanding.” Aaron Situ said. Aaron and the team dedicated a lot of time to form their arguments, but it didn’t just stop there.
The debate team consistently practiced their cases during the weeks leading up to the tournament. “My team (worked hard) preparing for this tournament to make sure we were ready. Overall, the tournament was a very helpful experience because it helped me figure out what I needed to work on,” Garrison Chan said.
Even with the ups and downs that came along with Jack Howe, debaters like Sophia Pu walked out of the tournament with newly found skills and memories. “My least favorite part was the stress of preparing beforehand, but by far my favorite part was being there with my friends and improving my skills,” Sophia said.
Our Screamin’ Eagles had a tough competition and even though they didn’t win, we are very proud of our debaters.
As Cal State Long Beach would say, Go Beach! And Go Eagles!
Icebreaker Kicks Off Season Indoors
By Noelle Chan and Cindy Tran
September 10 kicks off the 2022-2023 school year with the annual Icebreaker Speech & Debate Invitational! This marks the first tournament of the school year for our Screamin’ Eagles! A total of 6 schools competed on the Gabrielino campus. Last year’s Icebreaker tournament consisted of rounds that took place outdoors to comply with COVID-19 regulations. However this year, all rounds took place in classrooms!
The invitational was a great way to ease novices into the new Speech & Debate school year! Junior Varsity and Varsity members paired up with a Novice, or people new to Speech & Debate, to help them get used to competition and get the full tournament experience. All competitors got a ballot to judge their own rounds which relieved some pressure on the competitors as it was their very first tournament of the year.
The 162 pairs competed in 3 rounds of Improvisational Duo, Spontaneous Argumentation, or Spar for short, and Character Debate.
After an exciting first round, Juniors Brianna Chen and Silvia Truong described their nerve-racking yet exciting round. “So far, I think Icebreaker
has been pretty fun because I’ve gotten to meet a lot of new people from different schools,” Brianna said. “Honestly, I was kind of nervous at first, but overall, Brianna and I worked really well together so it wasn’t too bad,” Silvia added.
Once again, as a tradition, the Icebreaker was Pirate-themed in honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, which is on September 19th this year. Our Speech & Debate captains wore pirate hats and hung up pirate-themed banners in honor of this tradition.
JV and Varsity members were encouraged to make goodie bags for their Novice partners. Junior, Christopher Torres made his partner, freshman, Divine Mckenzie, a welcome gift. “Chris has been a really good partner and I really like the goodie bag that he made me because it had a very detailed drawing of a pirate ship,” Divine said.
Each and every one of our Screamin’ Eagles did an amazing job! Duos Gabriela Sanchez and Marco Cisneros-Farber placed 3rd, Divine Mckenzie and Christopher Torres placed 7th, and Keen Lai and Karina Vargas placed 8th.
Great job Eagles and good luck at GabGabGab!
photos by Noelle Chan, Alex Lai, Silvia Truong
Screamin' Eagles Welcome Everyone To New Year
By Noelle Chan
Welcome back, Screamin’ Eagles! On August 25, many returning members and newcomers joined us on campus for a fun-filled afternoon of food, performances, and all things Speech and Debate! This welcome day was an amazing opportunity for novices to meet and bond with everyone on the team, while also getting a glimpse of what after-school practices are like.
From pizza and brownies to Jollibee spaghetti, everyone brought a variety of food and drinks to enjoy at the potluck.
Sophomore Karina Vargas performed her Expository, or Expos, on Blood, where she created detailed boards to illustrate the importance of the different blood types.
The second performance of the afternoon was from Sophomores Stanley “Grandpa” Ho and Kyle “Wildman” Tang, who performed their Duo Interpretation, Employees must wash hands before murder. Their Duo, for short, featured workers at a fast food restaurant, called the Burgatorium, who must hide their dead manager during a surprise health inspection. “Kyle and I are near polar opposites since he’s very serious and I’m more laidback, but I think that’s why we actually work so well together”, Stanley said. “It’s always great to perform with Stanley because we both have something to bring to the table,” Kyle added.
Finally, to end off the afternoon, Sophomore Marco Cisneros-Farber performed his Extemporaneous, or Extemp. For his Extemp, he was presented with the question, “Will there be an Iran nuclear deal by the end of the year?”, and had 30 minutes to prepare his performance. “Even though I was really nervous before I started speaking, I just got into my zone and everything felt natural from there because I was just talking about what I enjoy talking about,” Marco said.
After watching some incredible performances from our JV and Varsity members, everyone broke out into their event groups to begin an introductory after-school practice. “For my event, Drama, we had to act out different scenarios with a variety of emotions. It was challenging, but also fun to try out and I feel like I really bonded with everyone on the team at Welcome Day!”, Novice Gwendolyn Chu recalled.
Work hard and stay focused, but remember to always have fun, Screamin’ Eagles!
Rocking Success at Nationals In Spite Of Challenges
When you start a trip sitting on a plane behind two rock stars, it may be a good indicator your upcoming journey is going to be wild and crazy. On their way to the National Speech and Debate Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, the Screamin’ Eagles found themselves seated behind heavy metal bassist Jerry Montano and drummer Scot Coogan. The musicians have played with Ace Frehley (Kiss), Stephen Pearcy (Ratt), and Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue). They were on their way to play a festival in Atlantic City with some of the all-time Rock Legends.
As it turned out, meeting the metal duo was a perfect indicator of the journey that quickly became the longest trip the Screamin’ Eagles have taken in the team's 28-year history.
After traveling halfway across the country to Louisville, the 15 Screamin’ Eagles competitors who qualified for Nats spent their first few days in the Bluegrass State practicing and preparing for the National Tournament.
Excitement and anticipation seemed to radiate through all the competitors. For the first time since June 2019, the best high school speakers in America were coming together, in person, to compete. Finally, students no longer had to Zoom into their rounds from their bedrooms, garages, and even dining rooms. The world’s largest academic competition was back and The Screamin’ Eagles were more than ready.
However, once the sixth and final preliminary round was completed on the second day of competition, a text came through that changed the entire trajectory for the rest of the trip. Like a heavy metal drum solo, the tension rose. One of the members became ill and tested positive for Covid-19.
Quickly, the Gabrielino administration instructed all students who shared a room with the team member to test. An additional student then tested positive. Unfortunately, after testing the rest of the team, another student, as well as two of the three coaches-turned-drivers received the same results. Immediately they were confined to their hotel rooms. Once again, team members were in their bedrooms for a speech competition.
In the midst of the chaos of the competition and covid testing, nine Screamin’ Eagles advanced to the Octofinal rounds of their events. This was a huge achievement, with only the top 60 students (out of 250-450 qualifiers) in each event moved forward. The students, however, had to perform their next two rounds knowing some of their teammates were isolating in their hotel rooms.
Rising to the occasion yet again, six of the nine Octofinalists advanced to the Quarterfinal rounds and earned two more opportunities to spread their message. Top 30 in the nation in their respective events, GabSpeech proved nothing could truly stop them. The team was down to six competitors, one coach, and one van to escort the students to their performance venue for the third day of competition.
It was a struggle to shuttle competitors back and forth while ensuring the remaining team members at the hotel were comfortable, and well, in their rooms. On top of fighting for a spot in the Semi-Final round, the Screamin’ Eagles had to do everything they could to prevent more students from catching the disease. Yet again, the team rose to the challenge and performed their best. Soon enough, breaks were announced and four-time National qualifiers and senior team co-captains, Melanie “Melmo” Hsiang and Gabriel “Frank”-McPheter were preparing for their Semi-Final rounds. Both students were announced to be part of the top 14 competitors in their events!
In the end, Melanie just missed the finals and placed 7th in Program Oral Interpretation. Frank was 10th in United States Extemporaneous Speaking. But instead of celebrating these victories, the team was faced with more Covid-19 cases, meaning more students were required to isolate themselves in their hotel rooms.
Yet through all the turmoil, the team still secured high achievements. Gabrielino was recognized as a Speech National School of Excellence for the 15th straight year, placed 11th in the Speech division, and proudly finished 15th overall (out of 2500 schools) across the country. Despite everything the students were forced to overcome during the pandemic, the program continued to strive for excellence and never took the easy way out.
For rock stars, the concert is only the beginning of their day. Afterwards, the excitement continues and life only gets more interesting. The same can be said for GabSpeech. The post tournament adventure began with figuring out how to get the team home as soon as possible. Luckily, the San Gabriel Unified School District came to the rescue. Superintendent Symonds and his leadership team met with officials to create plans which included sending another district administrator to Louisville to escort the healthy members of the team back to California. The remaining members of the team would be split into two groups, meaning the coaches would bring students back once they were released from their hotel quarantine.
“When we were talking to the musicians in front of us (on the plane ride to Louisville) about challenges in traveling,” one of the Screamin’ Eagles coaching staff stated, “Scot [Coogan] said they just go with the flow. We were in the same situation. Our head coach and all the people at the district office were busy behind the scenes making many, many different arrangements to get everyone home safely.”
The epic Screamin’ Eagles Nationals “Tour” lasted seven days past the last round of competition.
Congratulations GabSpeech. You once again faced adversity and came out on top. Welcome home.
Melmo Makes Semis
A big part of the Screamin’ Eagles' history is nicknames. For the past quarter century, there have been tons of names with hilarious origins: Bieber Dancing, Lotion, Little Richie, Bamer, Blok, and Klok are only some of the classics. For senior Melanie Hsiang, she earned her nickname, Melmo, from GabSpeech’s youngest fan, two-year old Dakota Lee. Her freshman year, Melanie often wore a red suit. Dakota, whose mom was an assistant coach at the time, was at tournaments and in the speech room afterschool. For children, red is one of the first colors they are able to see. As such, Dakota quickly marked Melanie as “Melmo”, after the Sesame Street character, Elmo.
She rarely sports the red suit these days, but Melanie’s successes have made her a well known competitor in the speech and debate world. This fact was no different at Nationals. She qualified for her fourth National Tournament, becoming only the 6th person in the team’s 28-year history to make it to the most prestigious tournament all four years of high school. She has competed in a staggering 45 rounds of competition in main events at Nats.
Melmo was recognized as a National Semi-Finalist when she was a sophomore, placed 4th overall as a junior, and was 7th place in all of America her senior year. Her program oral interpretation this year focused on the weaponization of technology. “I hope that my message about the threat of technology was able to touch the hearts of those that have watched my performance. It’s unfortunately something
that everybody can relate to,” Melanie commented, after picking up her award in the Freedom Hall at the Kentucky Expo Center.
Like Elmo, Melmo is a great role model for others. She was a senior co-captain of the Screamin’ Eagles and was named Salutatorian of her class. “It was an honor to earn these achievements, and I’m really lucky to have these opportunities,” the always-humble team leader said.
To Melanie, you have been an incredible performer, leader and team coach to so many on our team. Everyone on Gab Speech is grateful for having a front row seat and getting to watch you perform at the highest caliber for the past four years. Thank you and congratulations on all of your successes. We will miss you!
Frank Finishes Career in National Semi-Final Round
By Connie Yuan
Senior team co-captain Gabriel Frank-McPheter, nicknamed “Frank”, established one of the greatest speech and debate careers in Gabrielino’s 28-year history.
This summer, a few days after wearing his cap and gown for graduation, Frank was back in a suit performing at the 2022 National High School Speech & Debate Championships. He made it all the way to the National Semi-Final round, placing 10th against over 250 competitors in United States Extemporaneous Speaking. He qualified for Nationals all four years and competed in an impressive 37 rounds of competition, both online and in-person, at Nationals.
Yet the numbers don’t stop there. Frank is only the seventh Screamin’ Eagle to qualify for Nationals all four years. His 37 rounds of competition at one of the most selective tournaments rank him fifth all time at Gabrielino. Most impressively, Gabriel was announced the 2022 California State Champion in US Extemporaneous Speaking.
Last year, he performed in the final round of the Great Communicator Debate Series at the Reagan Library. This was a selective event granted to him after placing second in the nation in US Extemp! To add to his long list of achievements, Frank is the only Gabrielino student to be invited twice to the prestigious Montgomery Bell Academy National Extemp Invitational.
This year, Frank became the team’s all-time leader in accumulated speech and debate points. He passed fellow alum Alexandra Singleton who held the record since 2017. His final total of 2,926 points - almost 400 more than Alexandra - will be exceptionally difficult for anyone to ever catch.
Although he competed in US Extemp each year at Nationals and the California State Championships, Frank has also qualified multiple times for State in Public Forum Debate.
Fellow senior and Extemp event leader, Daniel Candia shares that “[Frank] has an exemplary worth ethic and is very engaged with the team. He’s always there to help people even if it means under-prioritizing himself. He leads by example, prioritizing the future of the team over his own success and that's what has led to a lot of his accomplishments.”
Congratulations Frank. You’ve been an incredible part of this team, league and activity for many years. You will be greatly missed, but we cannot wait to see where you will go in the future.
GabSpeech Seniors Receive Several Honors
By Lam Chung
After two years of the Senior Awards Ceremony being a YouTube video, the Class of 2022 had their ceremony in person at Gabrielino The seniors were rewarded for their hard work. This year, many of the Screamin’ Eagles Seniors received awards based on their academic and Speech & Debate achievements.
During the ceremony, Co-Captains of the Screamin’ Eagles Speech & Debate team, Gabriel Frank-McPheter and Priscilla Chin were chosen to be the senior speakers at the event. Gabriel “Frank” spoke about the importance of time management and Priscilla discussed the resilience shown by the class of 2022. Priscilla explained, “itt’s such an honor to be speaking at Senior Awards night because I can represent our Senior Class and voice all the struggles we’ve faced--not only through COVID but throughout high school.”
The Salutatorian, ranked second out of all 400+ Seniors of the Class of 2022, is one of the most prestigious titles given to a Senior. Recognized for her academic excellence and engagement within the community, Screamin’ Eagles’ Co-Captain, 4-time State and National Qualifier, Melanie Hsiang, has earned her rightful place as Gabrielino High School’s Class of 2022 Salutatorian!
11 GabSpeech members were named Academic All-Americans In order to earn this prestigious title, Seniors of the Speech & Debate team receive superior distinction from the National Speech & Debate Association, and also have a cumulative 3.7 GPA (on a 4.0 scale). The 11 Academic All-Americans are Priscilla Chin, Lauren Chiou, Vincent DeMarco, Gabriel Frank-McPheter, Kelly Hoang, Melanie Hsiang, Michelle Li, Geraldine Ly, Logan Tan, Trisha Tanaka, and Luccia Yaccoub. Recognized for their devotion and dedication to Speech and academics, these 11 seniors rightfully earned the title of Academic All-Americans!
The Screamin’ Eagles Speech & Debate Boosters awarded Gabriel and Melanie along with Daniel Candia, Melanie Hsiang and Luccia Yacoub each $250 scholarships.
Congratulations to all the seniors who have been awarded for their hard work!
Screamin’ Eagles Named to All-State Team
By Lam Chung
As always, the Gabrielino’s Screamin’ Eagles Speech & Debate Team continues their impeccable legacy with 20 Screamin’ Eagles members named members of the California All-State team.
Out of the 20 members of the All-State team, our 15 seniors proved their undying talent for Speech & Debate. Seniors Katie Do, Trisha Tanaka, and Victor Lucas qualified in Dramatic Interpretation (DI). Nick Cao, Joe Lee, Vincent DeMarco, and Karyme Pena were honored in Duo. Halina Kwan and Helen Benitez qualified in Original Advocacy (OA). Thien Le was distinguished in Humorous Interpretation (HI). Melanie Hsiang was honored in Program Oral Interpretation. Lauren Chiou qualified for Original Prose & Poetry (OPP). Elizabeth Chou was honored in Original Oratory (OO). And Senior Co-Captain, Luccia Yacoub qualified in International Extemporaneous Speaking (IX).
The All-State team also included both of Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles State Champions: Gabriel Frank-McPheter in U.S Extempt, and Kate Hamamoto in Informative! Both Champions have continuously made the team proud this past year, proving the excellence of Gab’s well-renowned speech program.
Underclassmen Christopher Torres, Jojo Scannell, Alexandra Naito, and Sherry Shi were also honored in the 2022 All State Team.
Sophomore Alexandra Naito stated, “It’s a really rewarding experience and I’m really proud of everyone on the team. I want to thank the event leaders and everyone who helped me get on the All-State team. It’s impossible to do speeches on your own--speech is a communal effort.”
The Screamin' Eagles were the top program in the Southern Half of California this year for the 17th time in the past 22 years.
It is clear that the effort and passion each All-State Team member has towards Speech & Debate. Congratulations Screamin’ Eagles!
The Screamin’ Eagles Showcase Showed Up With Spirit
By Shirley Wang
The Screamin’ Eagles Showcase was annually performed in the Goodson Theater for 23 years in a row. The pandemic canceled the 2020 show. Last year, the Screamin’ Eagles took over the football field at Eagle Stadium to perform.
This year, GabSpeech was back on the permanent stage in the theater. The showcase, once again, gave our performers opportunities to share their talents in front of loved ones. This was some of our seniors’ last performances in their high school speech & debate journey.
The showcase happened from 7 pm to 9 pm. There were 16 performances held over the course of 2 nights, and the excitement to watch all of them coursed throughout the campus. A large crowd of families and friends came to support our performers each day. This would be the first back-to-normal showcase for our juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, but the energy was the same as every other year.
With its rich history and amazing performances, having the opportunity to deliver a speech during the showcase is an honor. On the first night, the lineup consisted of Alden Do with his Humorous Interpretation (HI), Melanie Hsiang with her Program Oral Interpretation (POI), Sherry Shi with her Oratorical Interpretation (OI), Gabriel Frank-McPheter with his National Extemporaneous (NX), Ashley Lau with her Informative Speakin (INFO), Trisha Tanaka with her Dramatic Interpretation (DI), Hana Thai with her Original Oratory (OO), and Geraldine & Alex with their DUO. The second night had just as many, with Lauren Chiou and her Original Prose and Poetry (OPP), Christopher Torres with his POI, Halina Kwan with her Original Advocacy (OA), Luccia Yacoub with her International Extemporaneous (IX), Kate Hamamoto with her INFO, Victor Lucas with his DI, Elizabeth Chou with her OO, and Karyme & Vincent with their DUO. This year, 12 senior Eagles were given the chance to perform their speeches, alongside 3 of the team’s state-qualifying underclassmen. Well done Eagles!
After the showcase, we interviewed our Eagles about how they felt after their performance. The first night, Hana Thai stated, “I feel really good! I was really interactive [with the audience] and I’m glad they laugh[ed] at all my jokes. This is probably my last performance since I’m a senior, so I really tried to make the most of it.”
Sophomore Ashley Lau stated, “It was a completely different experience. I was so honored to be up there knowing that people were there to watch me. I’m glad that’s how my first speech season ended.”
Congratulations to our Eagles who performed at Gab’s 24th Showcase! Also, congratulations to all the seniors on the team who are graduating this year!
Screamin’ Eagles Win JV/Novice Champs
By Katelyn Corona
On May 6th and 7th, the non-varsity students in the Southern California Debate League were given the chance to showcase their talents at one of the last tournaments of the year: Novice-JV Champs. After spending over a year competing at different invitationals, online meets, and league tournaments, the underclassmen had the competition all to themselves.
SCDL Novice-JV Champs is a tournament dedicated only to first and second-year speakers. Normally, the tournament is only open to first-year students. However, due to a lack of an in-person Novice Champs tournament last speech season, our second-year speakers were welcomed to enter the competition. After tirelessly working on their speeches, our Eagles were prepared to give it their greatest performances of the year. The morning of, students were handed event goodie bags and listened to their coaches and event leaders give pep talks before the first round.
There were a total of 27 schools present for the Novice-JV Champs Speech and Novice-JV Champs Debate. On Friday, May 6th, the league held the Novice-JV Champs Debate, with the Individual Events competition following the day after on May 7th. With over 350 entries and 120 Screamin’ Eagles present, we soared over the competition. Both tournaments consisted of three guaranteed rounds and one final round.
The day was filled with varsity coaching, giving speeches throughout the Gabrielino High School campus, and eating savory snacks. “Novice Champs was a very warm day. The temperatures were comparable to the first tournament of the year, IceBreaker. The nostalgic feeling provided a very full-circle moment to end the year,” one of our freshman novices stated.
By the end of the tournament, Gab had accumulated a total of 49 students competing in the final round and won 10 of the 12 speech events. Kyle Tang & Stanley Ho were the champions of DUO, Kailey Trinh won both Humor and Original Advocacy, Aaron Situ won Impromptu, Karina Vargas won Informative, Marco Cisneros-Farber won International Extemp, Violet Magallanes won Oratorical Interpretation, Ava Doron in Original Oratory, Thao Le in POI, and Sofia Villagra in United States Extemp. This was just at Novice Champs Speech! Adding to the long list of successes, Marco Cisneros-Farber & Aaron Situ won the Policy Debate, and the team of Isaac Chan & Garrison Chan won Public Forum Debate at Novice Champs Debate! Congratulations to all our champions and everyone else who participated!
A huge appreciation to our Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles parent boosters for dedicating their Saturday to selling snacks, drinks, and food to everyone at the tournament! Thanks to our amazing event leaders, assistant coaches, and the dedication of our novice and JV competitors, the team won the tournament for the 25th straight year.
Keep on Soarin’ Eagles!
Frank & Kate Are Fantastic, Great, and State Champs!
By Connie Yuan
After a long schlump of online tournaments last season, many of this year’s tournaments resumed in person. Unfortunately, the 2022 California State Speech and Debate Championships were not one of those. It occurred online. However, on the brighter side, our very own Screamin’ Eagles bore not one, but two State Champions; Gabriel Frank-McPheter and Kate Hamamoto!
Senior and team co-captain, Gabriel Frank-McPheter, nicknamed, “Frank”, can be described as hardworking, knowledgeable, and a great leader among his teammates. Not only does he lead the team in accumulated tournament points but he is also ranked 4th in the state of California with 2778 points, as well 1st overall in the state for Extemporaneous speaking. Frank can now add the title of State Champion for United States Extemporaneous Speaking to his list of accolades.
“Ultimately, ‘champion’ is just a title, and whether or not someone earns a few more points in a single round to become champion is not indicative of their merit as a speaker. Nonetheless, after four years of hard work, it feels amazing to be champion knowing there’s merit behind it, and knowing that I’m representing the team that I love,” humbly states Frank.
This year is sophomore Kate Hamamoto’s first year of in person tournaments but she isn’t shy to the world of online tournaments either. Last year as a freshman, she managed to qualify to the State and National Tournament in Duo Interpretation, placing 9th in the State and 52nd nationally. Earning the title of State Champion for Informative Speaking, she managed to qualify to the National Tournament again this year but instead of Duo, she will also be competing in Informative Speaking.
When asked about State, Hamamoto noted, “It was an exciting experience, especially since it felt like the whole team had my back. They were literally sitting right behind me [in the theater]. I’m also very blessed to know that the work I put in and the time dedicated by others for me was honored.”
Gabrielino’s speech and debate team couldn’t be more proud of all the effort put in by these two. With the addition of Frank and Hamamoto, the Screamin’ Eagles now have 22 State Champions. Sleigh all day!
We’re Soaring, Flying At State Championships
By Elizabeth Chou
For the second year in a row, the Screamin’ Eagles attended the California High School Speech & Debate Championships online. Coming back to school after a year of virtual learning, participation in the activity was at an all-time low, with a record breaking 120 students on the team. After over a year of almost no exposure to what speech truly is, the new students at GHS had no idea what the program was about. But the Screamin’ Eagles did not let that stop them.
With a total of 49 state qualifiers, the Screamin’ Eagles overcame all obstacles and continued to soar. Given a chance to compete against the best of the best in the state, our students did not disappoint.
This was the tournament the Screamin’ Eagles were waiting for. The hours and hours of after-school practice and competitions both online and in-person were finally worth it. There were three preliminary rounds on Saturday, and most students performed at their houses. “We decided to compete in (my four-year Duo partner) Vincent’s dad’s office for all of our rounds since we performed there during Nationals last year, and we thought it’d be nice to recreate that moment,” three-time state qualifier in Duo Interpretation Karyme Peña said.
Once the first night ended, the Eagles jumped onto the Team Zoom in order to catch up and discuss their rounds. Filled with laughter, the virtual tournament didn’t stop our eagles from enjoying one of their last tournaments of the year. “After the first rounds finished, the other seniors and I went to Factory Tea Bar to debrief the day and to reminisce on our years in speech. It was bittersweet because it’s really coming to an end,” OPP-finalist Lauren Chiou said. Original Prose and Poetry, or better known as OPP, is an event where competitors are given the chance to write their own scripts of any genre and perform it.
At the end of the first full day of competition, breaks for semi-finals were out. Only the top 18 students in each event would move on to the next round. Gab made their presence known with a total of 20 semi-finalists! For some, it was the end of their speech season. But for others, it was another opportunity to share their message in front of another audience.
Students who broke to the semi-final round had the chance to come onto Gabrielino’s campus and perform online in various classrooms. “I missed performing in front of an audience, so I brought my pillow pet with me, just to make the experience feel more ‘real’. Turns out the classroom I was in had a bunch of stuffies so I really had a whole audience to watch me!” Halina Kwan said. Kwan competed in Original Advocacy, or OA for short, at the state tournament. Her job was to try and solve a legal problem by offering legislation.
After performing, our Screamin’ Eagles sat in anticipation for what was to come next. Coming together on campus, the students discussed what they saw and told hilarious stories of their past speech season.
Once the line-ups for the final rounds were released, Gab racked up a total of 8 finalists across 7 events! The remaining competitors were Karyme Peña and Vincent DeMarco in Duo, Lauren Chiou in Original Prose and Poetry, Victor Lucas in Dramatic Interpretation, Luccia Yacoub in International Extemporaneous, Gabriel Frank-McPheter in National Extemporaneous, Kate Hamamoto in Informative, and Melanie Hsiang in Program Oral Interpretation.
After the fifth and final speech round ended, our Eagles again sat in anticipation. Tournament directors decided that the awards ceremony would take place the Monday after the competition, so our Eagles had no choice but to wait for 24 hours to learn the final results.
Gathering in the Goodson Theatre the next day, the final placings were announced via a Zoom call which Gabrielino Theater Manager, Ruben Arteaga, displayed on the big screen. The team, surrounded by family and friends, had a giant watch party for awards.
When the awards were announced, the team learned Victor Lucas placed 5th. Karyme Peña and Vincent DeMarco placed 5th. Melanie Hsiang placed 4th. Lauren Chiou placed 3rd. Luccia Yacoub placed 2nd. And Gabrielino ended the tournament with two state champions! Gabriel Frank-McPheter and Kate Hamamoto came up at the top in NX and Informative, respectively.
Gabrielino continues to make history, consistently placing in the top ten schools in California since 2001! Clearly, being online didn’t stop the Screamin’ Eagles from staying strong and dominating at the state championships.
The last tournament this year is the National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky. Good luck to our Nat qualifiers, and a huge thank you to our coaching staff for the past year. From Zoom coaching sessions after school to staying late at night at Gab, we couldn’t have done it without you!
14 Screamin’ Eagles Qualify for Nationals in Louisville
It has been two years since schools were shut down and the Screamin’ Eagles started performing at online tournaments. Prior to the 2022 East Los Angeles District Tournament, our team already had two auto-qualifiers. Seniors, Melanie Hsiang and Gabriel Frank McPheter autoqualied for the 2022 National Tournament by making it to the semi-final round at Nationals last year..
The months leading up to March 11th were soaring with in-class performances, dozens of peer critiques, and intense coaching with graduated Screamin’ Eagles.
The season has been filled with several league meets, invitationals, and competitions. Another notable tournament was Nat Quals Debate on March 19th. That Saturday, Senior, Daniel Candia earned himself a two-way ticket to Louisville in June!
After two weekends of performances, the team has a total of 14 Screamin’ Eagles headed to the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament hosted in Louisville, Kentucky this summer! This will be the first time the NSDA has held an in-person nationwide competition since 2019! Ten of our 14 wonderful students headed to the Ohio Valley are Seniors; that is two times more than last year!
“I am so excited about Nationals. After doing speech and debate since I was 9 years old, this is going to be my last tournament ever. It’s bittersweet but this community has made me the woman I am today” said Co-captain Luccia Yacoub. She has qualified for the tournament twice prior to this year, both times in International Extemp.
First-time Nationals attendee Alden Do said, “ In the National Tournament, I look forward to seeing all the peers I have competed against in online tournaments all across the nation, and to finally see them perform in person is a blessing/privilege that not a lot of people can say. My priority is to make everyone laugh when I go to Louisville. I cannot wait to show these people what I have been working on for so long and be able to represent Gabrielino.”
The remaining seniors traveling to Kentucky are Daniel Candia in Congress, Nick Cao & Joe Lee in DUO, Gabriel Frank McPheter in United States Extemp, Melanie Hsiang in POI, Alex Lai & Geraldine Ly in DUO, and Victor Lucas in Drama!
Gabrielino High School made history at the event by winning the speech portion of the tournament for the 11th consecutive year in a row. This would not have been possible without our amazing coaches. Their dedication to this team and constant motivation led the Screamin’ Eagles to this victory.
In preparation for the summer tournament, our students are working hard at weekly event practices, one-on-one coaching with alumni, and in-class run-throughs with their peers.
League Champions 25 Years in a Row
By Katelyn Corona
On February 26th, 2022, the State Qualifying Tournament took place at Montebello High School in Montebello, California. With over 16 schools competing, and over 350 student entries, it was an incredible day.
The morning started bright and early at 6:30 am! The morning was jam-packed with filling event goody bags, copious amounts of hairspray, and heartfelt pep talks from the event leaders. And don’t forget the swarms of students running through their speeches to perfect their tone, levels, and blocking.
When the first round began at 8 am, competitors swarmed toward their rooms and wished “good luck” to their friends! For many students, the first performance was incredibly nerve-wracking, exciting, and fun! Unfortunately, for some seniors, the 8 o’clock call-time marked the beginning to an end. The Southern California Debate League’s State Qualifying Tournament is the last competition of the season for many of our seniors. For others, it is the time that propels them to the 2022 California High School Speech and Debate Championships.
In between each of the five rounds, students munched on the delicious Chanos Mexican and Oaxacan cuisine, debriefed with their peers, and posed for pictures! One of the most memorable moments was the Semi-Finalists announcement. Students gathered in their different event groups and team leaders read aloud the names of their teammates who advanced to the next round. With each name, the air rang with cheers of excitement and pride. Gabrielino had a total of 68 students performing in the semi-final round! For many competitors, the semi-finals were incredibly anxiety-inducing but a wonderful experience to learn from.
Two hours later, the finalists were posted! The event leaders gathered their teams together and announced each student that would be competing in the final round! There was an unforgettable amount of clapping, crying, and cheering blended together to create one of the most beautiful moments we have ever seen. There were a total of 31 Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles in the final round! The seniors began giving pep talks and hyping up their peers before their final performance of the day.
After an emotional full day of performances, spectating, and a surreal amount of taco consumption, all the competitors gathered in the beautiful Montebello High School auditorium. The award ceremony began with the seniors in the league. One by one, each school called up their senior team members who had been on their team for the entire duration of their high school career. The coaches from each school placed the famous, “Four-Year Senior Medal” on their veteran students.
After over 100 four-year seniors were recognized, the qualifiers for the 2022 State Championships were announced. 27 Screamin’ Eagles were named State Qualifiers. Those 27 will join their six teammates who auto-qualified last month to compete against the best performers and speakers California has to offer.
For the 25th year in a row, The Gabrielino High School Screamin’ Eagles was awarded the Southern California Debate League Championship with over 200 points.
A huge round of applause to everyone that competed at State Quals! We are so incredibly proud of you and all of your accomplishments. We cannot wait to see what you have in store for us next!
Stay tuned for more on what the Screamin’ Eagles are up to!
Six More Qualify in Debate
The Screamin’ Eagles followed up their 25th S.C.D.L. Championship by qualifying four more students during the second and final weekend of qualifying for the 2022 California State Speech and Debate Championships.
The sophomore / freshmen Public Forum teams of Sophia Pu & Aaron Situ and Anson Law and Marco Cisneros-Farber will be joining the senior / junior Policy Debate teams of Daniel Candia & Gabriel Sundarmoorthy and Kelly Hoang & Violet Wang.
In total, GabSpeech has six debate teams qualified for the State Championships next month.
A member of the Screamin’ Eagles coaching staff commented, “(Daniel) Candia and Sunny D (Sundarmoorthy) have done an incredible job leading our debaters. Coach Graca has trained them very well.”
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles
“Melmo” Wins Harvard Tournament
By Shirley Wang
On the weekend of February 19th to 21st, Harvard University hosted the 48th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament. It was held online and as a result, this is the 2nd year Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles were able to attend. The competition had over 2,700 entries from 420 schools spanning from 41 states.
In any normal year, The Harvard Forensics Tournament would be held in Cambridge on President’s weekend. It is an enormous and reputable high school speech and debate tournament respected throughout the country. The competition provides opportunities for students to compete in 12 different events against students from all over America. Competitors had been waiting for this moment for so long and with all of their hard work and practice, they finally got a chance to display their extraordinary performances.
The Screamin’ Eagles performed in four preliminary speech rounds: an octo-final round, a quarter-final round, a semi-final round, and a final round. Senior co-captains, Gabriel Frank-McPheter and Melanie Hsiang both represented GabSpeech in the prestigious final round. “Frank” placed sixth in Extemporaneous Speaking and “Melmo was the champion of Program Oral Interpretation. Other Eagles who broke after the preliminary rounds: Bryanna Quach in both Dramatic and Program Oral Interpretation, Gabriel Sundaramoorthy in Extemporaneous Speaking, and Alden Do in Humor!
Great job, Screamin’ Eagles! Keep up the amazing work! Next up for the team is the State Qualifier at Montebello HS where the team will compete for their 25th straight Southern California Debate League Championship
Stanford Becomes Palms Becomes Champions for GabSpeech
By Connie Yuan
The introduction of the Palm Classic Invitational arose after Stanford University drew back from hosting their own annual tournament that Gabrielino had previously attended in 2021. Prior to last year, the first time the Screamin’ Eagles had ever participated in Stanford was more than a decade ago in 2010. Perfectly placed during the Superbowl and Valentine’s weekend, this online competition lasted two days from Saturday, February 12 to Sunday, February 13, 2022.
1,200 entries from over 170 schools competed, representing 26 different states. This tournament held 4 preliminary rounds, followed by finals - unless the number of competitors in the event called for an additional semi-finals round.
The Screamin’ Eagles had a total of 13 entries with 10 entries placing within the top 15 and 5 entries placing in the top 5. Captain Gabriel Frank-McPheter took home the championship in Original Oratory, while also earning the runner-up in National Extemp. Senior Megan Chan placed 2nd in Original Interpretation and sophomore Sherry Shi followed close in 3rd place. Sherry also placed 9th in Dramatic Interpretation. Senior Priscilla Chin placed 4th in Informative and junior Mini Marsh Wang placed 7th, while also earning 11th place in Humorous Interpretation. Senior Luccia Yacoub placed 6th in International Extemp. Sophomore Bryanna Quach placed 15th in Dramatic Interpretation.
“After two years of doing invitationals online, I went into [the tournament] more experienced and less stressed,” said Megan so she could intently watch the small number of competitors in her rounds.
Subtract the typical freezing temperatures of speech tournaments in the morning and a long bus ride to Palo Alto, and we’re left with one of the most competitive competitions in the nation - all taking place from the comfort of our own homes. Whether it be legend Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar or even a Valentine’s sweetheart, nothing could distract Gabrielino Speech from showcasing their hard work this weekend. Sleigh Eagles!
Spring Novice Is Back In Person
By Shirley Wang
The Southern California Debate League’s 2022 Spring Novice Tournament is back in person again this year! It was another busy weekend because the Spring Novice is the week after Spring Varsity. However, the participants who perform have struck their performance with delicate movement.
Students were excited to perform in person since the Spring Novice Tournament last year was held online. Our Novice, first-year competitors, and Junior Varsity, second-year competitors, finally got a chance to show off their performance in person after putting a lot of their effort into practice.
The tournament was supposed to be held in Long Beach Poly High School but they declined to host the competition because of COVID—our ultimate antagonist. Thankfully, the Screamin’ Eagles stepped up and decided to host the competition in person. Almost 300 participants from 11 schools participated in the contest. The day was short but smooth; it had 3 rounds and no final.
Each of our event captains dedicated their time to helping the students to get ready for the competition. They have offered plenty of chances of the coaching session and long hours of practices every week and that’s why our Novice and Junior Varsity did super-duper well in the tournament.
GabSpeech had 42 award winners. Eight were first place in their event. Congratulations to our Spring Novice Champions! They are Angelina Chung (Original Advocacy), Veena Sundaramoorthy (POI), Ashely Lau (Informative), Marco Cisneros Farber (I.X. and SPAR), Aaron Situ (U.S. Extemp), Wang & Le (DUO), Jimenez & Pena (DUO), and Bryanna Quach (Drama). “It was really cold and I felt like I did really well for DUO rounds. I was really energetic. I feel like my Drama round progressively got better as the day went on. The third round was my best Drama round,” DUO champion, sophomore, Thao Le said.
Great job Eagles! Keep up the good work!
Six Auto-Qual for State at Spring Varsity
By Katelyn Corona
On January 29th, 2022, Gabrielino competed at Spring Varsity hosted at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California. This tournament is the second Southern California Debate League varsity competition of the year. This season has been non-stop! Just a few months ago, the team participated in the highly anticipated Fall Varsity!
This tournament was incredibly competitive with over 18 schools present, 396 total entries, and 14 events!
The morning started with dew on windshields and shivers in skirts and dress pants. The weather encouraged teeth chattering run-throughs and shaky hand gestures.
Though, the unseasonable weather was not the highlight of the day. With three preliminary rounds and one final round, the Screamin’ Eagles accumulated a total of 172 sweepstakes points- more than the 3 runner-up teams combined! With our exceedingly high score, Gabrielino took home the Team Sweepstakes for the 23rd year in a row!
Continuing the tradition, competitors were given the opportunity to earn a “leg” to the 2022 California High School Speech and Debate Championships. Legs are given to those who place 1st or 2nd in their events at both Fall Varsity and Spring Varsity.
This year, a total of 6 Gabrielino High School students automatically qualified for State. Senior event leader Halina Kwan was awarded her well-deserved leg to state in Original Advocacy. Three-time national qualifier Melanie Hsiang is taking her POI! Hilarious Nick Cao and Joseph Lee are taking their action-packed DUO! Tiny but mighty Luccia Yacoub debated through the competition and will be competing in International Extemporaneous at the State Championships. Highly competitive Gabriel Frank-McPheter is taking State by storm with United States Extemporaneous. Those who did not receive a leg will have a chance to earn their spot at State Champs by competing at the State Qualifying League Championships this month!
Not only did Gabrielino take home the team sweepstakes, six legs, but they were also made memories to last a lifetime. Senior, Connie Yuan competing in Informative described the tournament to be, “fun, cold, and short.” She continued by saying that “the tournament was a great way to end of the season for those who are not going to State Quals.” Senior, Lam Chung recalls “the joy of seeing the culmination of seeing the novice and varsity performances after weeks of strenuous practice.”
Congratulations to everyone who competed at Spring Varisty and a huge round of applause to those who worked hard to earn their legs! See you all at the 2022 California High School Speech and Debate Championships!
The Magic of MLK
By Lam Chung
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, James Logan High School held their James Logan National Invitational Speech & Debate tournament on January 14th and 15th of 2022--MLK weekend. Held online, James Logan High School hosted 107 schools from 18 states with a total of 1200 entries--22 of which were from the Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles Speech & Debate Team.
In any normal year, the James Logan National Invitational Speech & Debate tournament would be held in person. The Screamin’ Eagles would have traveled to Oakland, where the high school is located, by a six hour bus ride and stayed in a hotel throughout the weekend of the tournament. During this time, members would have been able to create and share bonding moments, making this invitational a highly anticipated one. This year, with the barrier of an online screen, Logan, as the invite is often shortened as, lacked the luster it once had; however, the GabSpeech Team members were determined to bring the magic back.
Senior Co-Captain, Priscilla Chin, states, “Competing online is a very different energy and experience than in person, but we were still able to get a good number of people. There were 2-3 hours in between rounds, so we were able to have a lot of team bonding time as well.” In Zoom “Team Rooms,” competitors and even other members who were not participating in the tournament created their own special edition of Logan memories and although they were not necessarily the same as they were in person, they were still bonding moments nonetheless. With the Zoom “Team Rooms” allowing members to relax and laugh in between rounds, the energy minimized due to being online was restored--the magic was brought back.
After competing four preliminary rounds on Saturday and having performed through a quarter, semi, and final round on Sunday, Gabrielino had 3 Champions for the first time in Gabrielino’s history at the James Logan Invitational! Melanie Hsiang championed Program Oral Interpretation, Gabriel Frank-McPheter placed first in U.S Extemporaneous Speaking, and Luccia Yaccoub won in International Extemporaneous Speaking. Proving that despite the hardship, The Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles will always persevere, and that in itself, is magical.
Fall Varsity Is Back In Person
By Katelyn Corona
Fall Varsity is a highly competitive and anticipated tournament for many teams all across the Southern California Debate League. Students were incredibly eager for the first in-person varsity tournament of the season. The last fully in-person varsity tournament was on March 7, 2020.
2021 Fall Varsity took place at Arroyo High School in El Monte, California. There were over 100 Gabrielino entries, taking up a sixth of the total 600 entries at the tournament. Fifteen local schools competed at the meet.
Plenty of practicing and talking to walls went into preparation for Fall Varsity. The captains prepared the team with long hours of practice, speaking drills, and creating great memories.
One tradition that has stayed constant since 2004 was the ability to earn “legs” for the State Tournament. Those who place 1st or 2nd in their events at Fall Varsity and Spring Varsity receive a “leg” which is an automatic entry to the State Championships. This year Sofia Chaves, Alden Do, Lauren Chiou, Joseph Lee, Halina Kwan, Jordan Liu, Melanie Hsiang, Gabriel Frank McPheter, Luccia Yacoub, Nick Cao & Joseph Lee, Logan Tan, Ivan Curiel-Mejia, Kayla Tran, and Kate Hamamoto earned legs.
After performing in three guaranteed preliminary rounds, Over 40 Gabrielino students advanced to the final round. There were four finalists in Humor, six in OPP, two in Original Advocacy, four in OI, four in Original Oratory, three in POI, three in U.S. Extemp, two in International Extemp, five pairs in DUO, five in Informative, and two in Drama.
For the 22nd year in a row, the Screamin’ Eagles won the tournament with a whopping 189 points. The total score was more than the next 4 runner-up schools combined!
Amazing job Eagles! Keep up the good work!
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’ 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.
Epic State Champs Nets Epic Results
By Katelyn Corona
Placed perfectly between the stress of Nat Quals and the end of the school year is the California State Championship Tournament hosted by the California High School Speech Association (CHSSA). The meet normally alternates each year between the northern and southern parts of California. This year, it was scheduled to be hosted in Los Angeles. However, like the rest of the team’s competitions, it was hosted via the internet.
The Screamin’ Eagles prepared all year for this tournament by working hard day in and day out. Their hard work and dedication to the team does not go unnoticed. Despite running into internet and connectivity issues, the Screamin’ Eagles did not let it phase them.
State, in normal years, is quite a lenghty tournament, running over a span of three long days; Friday through Sunday. This year it was an entire week! Nine of the speech events, the memorized events, moved to a pre-recorded format. Judges were given their virtual ballots, which listed seven links to YouTube videos of qualifying students from across the state that were uploaded in early April. Adjudicators had four days to watch their assigned rounds and rank the speeches.
On Friday morning, Extemporaneous and Impromptu Speaking events began. The fourth and final round was posted just after dinner the same day.
Saturday started the weekend and the debate rounds. Each debate competitor also was guaranteed four preliminary rounds, which would conclude Saturday night with announcements of those who were advancing for every State event to the top 18 on Sunday.
The final day of competition featured the semifinalists in all events performing live. 20 Screamin’ Eagles advanced to the semis. Several of the team members came to Gabrielino to perform for the first time, all year, in an actual classroom! Safely, of course.
Senior and Co-captain Bianca Lua who delivered her speech in Mr. Carney’s history room described State to be an “unconventional, bonding, and successful” experience. She goes on to say “It is exciting and helps me to reflect on how much time and effort I’ve put in to get here. And it definitely means more to me that I got to see my fri
end's place as well.”
Late Sunday afternoon, the top seven were announced for each event. Bianca and seven of her teammates made
the State Final Round. Junior Trisha Tanaka, who also performed for the first time all year outside of her house stayed on campus to watch finals to support her fellow Screamin’ Eagles. “I watched Bianca perform in the finals,” the junior event leader said. “ It was the first time I’ve watched someone perform in person in over a year. It was really cool.”
After a whole week of watching speeches, the team gathered virtually to wait for the results! Sofia Chavez was 6th place in Humorous Interpretation (HI), Sharon Liu was 5th place in United States Extemporaneous (USX), Bianca was 4th place in Program Oral Interpretation (POI) and the Duo Interpretation Team (DUO) of Karyme Pena & Vincent Demarco placed 3rd.
The Screamin’ Eagle had three 2nd place finishes: Melanie Hsiang in POI, Gabriel Frank-McPheter in USX and Noemi Liu in HI.
Karyme and Vincent expressed their emotions toward the tournament, "placing at state honestly means that the endless hours of work we put in this year really did pay off in the best way possible. Placing at state also gave us an opportunity to really reflect on our experiences in speech. We remember being freshmen and hoping one day we would at least qualify to state and the fact that as a junior we hold the title of third in state is just absolutely mind boggling."
Overall, the team placed fourth in the entire state of California, two points away from third. It was the Screamin’ Eagles best finish since getting second in 2017. More importantly, Gabrielino regained its title of top program in the entire southern half of California. Congratulations to all those that competed, keep up the good work! Stay tuned to hear what the Screamin’ Eagles do next!
Screamin’ Eagles Make History at Nat Quals
By Katelyn Corona
A year ago, the world was in a very chaotic place. Covid-19 was slowly taking over the nation, schools began shutting down, and we were unsure of what the world was becoming. This year, it is much different than anyone could imagine!
It has been almost a complete year of competing in virtual tournaments, and it has been a crazy but fun opportunity for the Screamin’ Eagles. Because of online meets, the team has been able to compete in tournaments that would otherwise be impossible to attend given their location. For example, students previously would have had to travel by plane to compete at the Harvard and Yale Invitationals on the east coast, but because they were hosted online, Gabrielino students were able to compete in the event for the first time.
Of course, there were many ups and downs to competing web-based, but that did not keep the Screamin’ Eagles from soaring. Prior to Nat Quals, the team competed at several league meets, invitationals and at The State Qualifying Tournament. With all of that preparation, it set the stage for success for the 2021 East Los Angeles County / Orange County District National Qualifying Tournament.
The team has already qualified four students for Nationals at the Debate Quals in February. The hope was to give more team members a chance to compete against the best of the best in America this summer. After three preliminary rounds, a semi-final round and a very intense final round for each of the eight different speech events, the top four students were named National Qualifiers. The Screamin’ Eagles added 16 more students to the “2021 Nats Team”.
Five of the wonderful qualifiers are seniors! “It’s honestly such a symbol of hard work over a long period of time paying off. I’m excited to see great speeches and Zoom with my teammates to see results!” said Co-Captain Bianca Lua. She has qualified for the tournament twice before, first in 2019 for Duo Interpretation (DUO) and again in 2020 for Program Oral Interpretation (POI). The other qualifying seniors are: Sharon Liu in United States Extemp (USX), Kelli Ong and Lauren Hamamoto in Informative, and Kailey Wong in POI.
Gabrielino made history at the tournament. For the first time ever for this particular tournament, all four entries qualifying for Nationals came from one school. The Screamin’ Eagles took the top four spots in Duo Interpretation. “A school can only enter a total of four entries in each event,” one of the coaches commented. “So to have those four entities place in the top four spots, that is really remarkable.”
“I’m super excited to just see other speeches besides the one from Gabrielino. It’s like everything will be a whole new world because I have no clue what to expect! I’m also so excited to share a message that is really impactful and significant to me.” said Karyme Pena, who was one of the qualifiers in Duo. Karyme will be competing at Nationals with her partner, Vincent DeMarco. The other three Duo teams are Logan Tan & Ivan Curiel, Alex Lai & Geraldine Ly, and Kate Hamamoto & Chris Torres. All will be performing at the National Tournament in June!
The other qualifiers from the speech quals are Gabriel Frank-McPheter in USX, Luccia Yacoub in International Extemp, and Trisha Tanaka in Drama. When you add in the four previously qualified debaters and Melanie Hsiang, who automatically qualified for this year’s championships by placing fourth overall in America at the 2020 Nationals, the team jumps to 21.
On top of all the students qualifying, the Screamin’ Eagles won the tournament for the 16th time.
The team is now preparing for the State Championship at the end of April. Congratulations to all the Screamin’ Eagles for your wonderful work this year! Stay tuned to hear what they do next!
Champions - 24 Years In A Row
By Katelyn Corona
Similar to every other tournament this year, the Southern California Debate League’s State Qualifying Tournament was held online. Traditionally, the meet is held at Cal State Long Beach and most recently, East Los Angeles Community College.
Competing online is both a blessing and a curse. Rather than running around a college campus to find rooms and round postings, now students worry about camera angles, lighting, internet connectivity, etc. Despite having to face uncontrollable factors like wifi signals and internet waves, the Screamin’ Eagles continued to soar.
The first rounds of competition were posted online at 7:30 in the morning. Students were guaranteed three preliminary rounds of competition. By 3pm, each of the 12 speech events had been narrowed down to the top 14 competitors. Two hours later, the final seven were announced.
During the tournament, the students communicated with each other via Facetime, Zoom, etc. Junior, Hana Thai interacted with her peers by joining, “the team Zoom in between [her] rounds and participated in the activities and games.” During the Zoom, students were able to play games with each other and participate in fun activities! The tournament Zoom was described as “vibey, chaotic, and like a family.” Another student described it to be, “exciting, emotional, and fun!”
At the end of the tournament, the Screamin’ Eagles got to celebrate their success of winning The Southern California Debate League Championship for the 24th year in a row! Congratulations to Noemi Liu and Sophia Chavez in Humor, Josephine Chia, Halle Fukawa and Eric Zhang in Oratorical, Kristen Song and Helen Benitez in Advocacy, Melanie Hsiang, Trisha Tanaka, Bianca Lua, and Chloe Nimpoeno in Program Oral Interp, Annica Wu and Kelly Ong in Expository, Daniel Candia and Luccia Yacoub in International Extemp, Sharon Liu and Gabriel Frank-McPheter in United States Extemp, Nick Cao, Tiffany Truong and Ethan Munsayac in Original Prose & Poetry, Karyme Pena, Vincent Demarco, Chris Torres, Kate Hamamoto, Sara Le, Eunice Kay, Alex Lai, Geraldine Ly, Bella Richardson, and Aidan Scannell in Duo interpretation. Annica and Daniel also qualified in Policy Debate with their partners, Kelly Hoang and Gabriel Sundarmoorthy. They all have qualified for the 2021 State Championships.
Qualifying for the State Championships can be stressful and exhilarating all at the same time. After the Screamin’ Eagles finished their performances, the team came together in a Zoom. There, the coaches announced all the qualifiers in real time.
The “awards” portion of the team Zoom was then followed by “Senior Speeches - Zoom Edition.” Senior Speeches has been a long running tradition where after State Quals the seniors give their fare-well speeches to the team. It is obviously very emotional and heart-warming for everyone involved and allows for the seniors to pass the torch to the underclassmen. Despite it being online, it was still a great bonding experience for the students and replicated a feeling of normalcy that has been taken away due to COVID-19. “It was...wow,” one of the assistant coaches commented. “It was just as intense and special as every other year. It was heartwarming to be a part of something that had real emotion and feeling. This team is amazing.”
Last year, State was cancelled due to the lack of time needed to move from an in person to online tournament. “We got the call on Wednesday, March 11th (2020) that State was cancelled,” one member of the coaching staff recalled. “There was no way they could find, learn, test and teach a new online platform in the five weeks before the tournament.”
This year, the students and league are fully prepared to compete online! Junior, Kristin Song, is preparing to compete at the virtual 2021 State Championships by, “Making some changes to my script and working on delivery with Water” Senior, Tiffany Troung described her emotions toward qualifying for state by saying, “Qualifying for state, I know that I really have to get the gears in motion since this is my last tournament. No more invitationals, no Nationals because OPP isn't a National event. Of course, I'm going to work hard to convey the message I want to bring to the table on the weekend of State.”
The team now turns their attention to the National Qualifying Tournament! Good luck and once again, congratulations to everyone that competed at State Quals.
Stay tuned to hear what the Screamin’ Eagles will do next!
GabSpeech Gets 6 Auto-Qualed To State
By Alyssa Macias & Tyler Cheng
The time of the year the Screamin' Eagles Speech and Debate team has been waiting for has finally arrived! The big state qualifying tournament. Every year, a state tournament is held at different places across the map where the best of the best speakers compete with each other. There are several different events students may perform in including duo interpretation, humorous interpretation, dramatic interpretation, extemporaneous speaking, expository, informative, original oratory, and program oral interpretation. All school year, students have been working hard in their events to be able to compete at the California State Championships.
But first, students have to qualify. In order to get to “State”, students can place in the top five at the Southern California Debate League’s (SCDL) State Qualifying Tournament or by getting two of, what the league calls, “legs”. To gain a “leg” you must place first or second at the SCDL’s Fall and Spring Varsity Tournaments.
Although making State is very difficult, six Screamin’ Eagles have already received the legs and qualified for the 2021 State Championships before the qualifying tournament even began! Two of our junior Screamin’ Eagles, Luccia Yacoub and Gabriel Frank-McPheter, made it in Extemporaneous Speaking, or “Extemp”. In extemp you must inform the audience of current events, entertain them, and persuade them to take a specific stance on the issues surrounding the topic. These two individuals have done exactly that.
Despite the obstacles thrown in the way this year, Gabriel and Luccia were able to persevere through this situation and make the most out of it. Gabriel has used the online tournaments to his advantage and decided to compete at the Stanford and Harvard University Invitational Tournaments. Both tournaments Gabriel would normally not attend due to travel costs. Luccia claims, “It is really difficult to find motivation during these times, however, it is not impossible.” What keeps her motivated is thinking about the “individuals across the world who do not have the platform, ability, or even right as individuals to speak.” To future Screamin’ Eagles, Gabriel wants to encourage you to “Stick through it, try new events, go to practice, and you will find your place in the community.” As for Luccia, she advises, “Speech is going to change your life” and “Don’t be afraid to give your audience a piece of who you are.”
Alongside Gabriel and Luccia, Seniors Halle Fukawa, Bianca Lua, and Juniors Vincent Demarco and Karyme Pena also auto-qualified for the 2021 State Championships by winning two “legs”. Their hard word, dedication, and perseverance have paid off! Senior Halle Fukawa qualified in Oratorical Interpretation, an event where a student takes a speech written and given by someone and interprets it as their own. Although it has been a remarkably tough year, Halle credits the team's environment for how she has qualified for the tournament. Halle reminisces, “I think this year being virtual did make things hard for me since I couldn't be around my team. The environment of the team is such a big factor in my motivation that it was a little difficult for me to always be working. Seeing these other kids working so hard and being so determined to get better made me want to get better, too, and it made me work hard to be someone they can hopefully look up to.” Because her teammates worked exceptionally hard during these hard times, Halle was motivated enough to work just as hard and was able to qualify to state. The team certainly looks up to you, Halle. Keep it up!
Another incredible senior to qualify for the 2021 state tournament is Bianca Lua. Because of her dedication and incredible resolve, Bianca was able to qualify in Program Oral Interpretation, an event where the speaker chooses, prose, poetry, drama, and combines them under a common theme. Program Oral Interpretation is an incredibly difficult and competitive event. Being able to auto qualify in POI shows tremendous dedication and skill. Team Co-Captain Bianca notes, “My favorite aspect of tournaments is that despite the competitive and, at times, brutal nature of the activity, Gabrielino's community makes the experience fun and supports the success of growth.” The team is fortunate to have such a steadfast leader in Bianca and we are so proud of her commitment to the team. Way to go, Bianca!
Finally, juniors Vincent Demarco and Karyme Pena were the last to auto qualify for the 2021 State Championships. Both juniors qualified in Duo Interpretation, an event where two speakers perform the same script. While Duo may be double the fun, but it also takes double the work. This year, Duo had to explore new and creative ways to deliver their speech through Zoom! The time and effort it takes to create a stellar duo is not for the faint of heart! Karyme comments, “The virtual setting has greatly impacted speech for me in multiple ways but I think the biggest thing has been finding time to actually practice my speech. Since we don't have speech practices as often as we used to and we don't have speech every day, I don't have a designated time where I can spend memorizing or bouncing ideas off my friends.” Karyme’s partener Vincent Demarco also comments on virtual learning, “It has made it harder. Having to learn a new way of performance and having to bring the energy while you're not in that speech atmosphere that tournaments and the speech room bring has definitely been harder.” That being said, virtual learning did not stop their commitment. Their persistence and tenacity have led them both to a spot at the 2021 State Championships!
It is easy to give up when challenges present themselves. These six Screamin’ Eagles, took on the tough challenges all year long and have been rewarded with spots in the 2021 California State Speech & Debate Championships next month. The team is proud of all of you!
We are so excited to see all our auto qualifiers compete at State! They have given speech everything they possibly could and it has definitely paid off for them. We want to wish them the best of luck and we know they will do absolutely amazing. Congratulations and we cannot wait to see what they can do the rest of this year!!
Four Qualify At Nat Quals Debate
Just after the Chinese calendar changed to the Year of Rat last January and before the world came to a screeching halt, The Screamin’ Eagles qualified their first ever all female Policy Debate team for the National Championships. In the 27 year history of Gabrielino Speech and Debate, nearly 300 GHS students have qualified for Nationals. Four of those students have qualified in Policy Debate. Four.
12 months later, the Screamin’ Eagles made history in Policy Debate again. This year, in one tournament, they doubled their historical numbers at the 2021 East Los Angeles / Orange County District of the National Speech & Debate Association National Qualifying Debate Tournament. That’s a lot of words for a tournament that only gets to send a select few students to the National Championships.
When Senior Co-Captain Annica Wu and her partner, junior, Kelly Hoang were announced as National Qualifiers, they became only the second all female policy team to make Nationals. Junior Daniel Candia and his partner, sophomore Gabriel “Sunny D” Sundaramoorthy were also announced. They became the seventh and eighth students to qualify in Policy Debate.
“You mean we’ve never qualified two teams in the same year,” Sundaramoorthy asked. “We’ve only qualed two teams ever...ever,” his partner, Candia pointed out. The two had just spent the last nine hours debating the intricacies of criminal justice reform in the United States, yet still helping each other figure out problems.
Junior Kelly Hoang commented, “qualifying for Nationals in debate was surprising. At first, I was unsure if it was actually real because Tabroom has made errors in the past; however, I guess they were right. I am excited for this experience to debate at a national level”
All four students will be competing this June in the National Championships, which will once again be online. And after the great success of the 2020 Online Nationals, the 2021 Nats is on track to be the largest academic competition to ever take place in the world.
In the meantime, the four qualifiers will have a week to prepare for their next debates at the Southern California Debate League’s State Qualifying Tournament this coming weekend.
Way to go Screamin Eagles. Good luck at State Quals
Spring Novice Fits for GabSpeech
By Katelyn Corona
Settled perfectly in-between Spring Varsity and the State Qualifying tournament is the annual Southern California Debate League’s Spring Novice Tournament. The meet is normally held at Millikan High School in Long Beach, California. But this year, it was held online due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Spring Novice is an easy and fun tournament that allows the underclassmen to perform their speeches and for the upperclassmen to watch and judge the performances of their younger peers.
This tournament goes by super quick with only 5 to 6 people in a room, three preliminary rounds, and no finals. Normally, in between rounds, the competitors and judges line-up to get their Chanos taco plate, but this year, they missed out on that tradition.
Prior to the tournament, the beginning speech class and Junior Varsities got help from the advanced speech class to improve their performances. They talked about things like volume, tone, pacing, lighting, and so much more! The after-school practices are an amazing way the team has learned to bond with each other via distance learning.
The practice and mentoring visibly paid off! With over 60 Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles in attendance, 20 placed in the top 2 of their events! But tournaments aren't always about winning or earning trophies, they're about having fun and making memories with your teammates. Which is why the students held multiple celebratory facetime and Zoom calls after Spring Novice to commemorate all of their hard work and preparation!
Despite not being able to experience the fun of the hectic bus rides, noisiness of the Millikan High school lunchroom, or the divine flavors of Chanos Mexican Food, the team still had a blast!
The team now turns their heads to State Quals, which is taking place this weekend February 26th to February 27th. The adrenaline and excitement is definitely on the rise, but there is no challenge too big for the Screamin’ Eagles!
Stay tuned to hear what the Screamin’ Eagles do next!
Stanford Sequel More Intense Than Original
2010, A Stanford Odyssey: it was the one year The Screamin’ Eagles ventured up to Palo Alto to participate in the Stanford University National Invitational Speech & Debate Tournament. All speech rounds took place in rooms at a very large hotel while the debate rounds were held on the campus of Stanford. The tournament was too large to host at one location. It was also a logistical nightmare for the team to keep track of a large number of students at two different locations, almost 45 minutes apart.
So it was a one and done trip for GabSpeech and Stanford.
Until everything went virtual.
This year, the year of a lot of firsts, provided a second opportunity for Gabrielino students to participate in Stanford’s large and respected tournament. 26 team members took advantage of the opportunity to compete against almost 3,000 other students from over 350 schools representing 40 different states. There weren’t that many schools when the Screamin’ Eagles took their charter bus to Stanford a decade ago. There are some benefits to having speech and debate online.
After four speech rounds and six debate rounds all day on Saturday and half of Sunday, a full two thirds of the team made it to the quarter final rounds. Junior Trisha Tanaka, who advanced in both of her events, commented, “It was very exciting getting so far at a big tournament like Stanford! I had a lot of fun performing at semis but was a little nervous for my rounds. I had a great time and I'm so glad I got to perform for another round.”
As the sun began to set on San Gabriel on Sunday afternoon, Stanford announced the final rounds. 14 Screamin’ Eagles were listed among the top six of their events. Junior Vincent De Marco, who was in the final round of both Duo and Humorous Interpretation commented, “My lighting and set up didn't change very much throughout the day. When the sun was shining through my window in the morning I got to use natural light. As the day progressed, I had to close the window and turn on the lights in the room.” Vincent and his Duo partner, junior Karyme Pena, won the event. Fellow junior, Luccia Yacoub, also was the champion of her event, International Extemporaneous.
Junior Alden Do, finalist and 5th place performer in Oratorical Interpretation commented, "Being in the Final rounds at Stanford was evidence of going through trials and tribulations to get to where I am right now. It reflected on how it's got to do everything with effort. Ray Lewis (the person who wrote the speech Alden is performing this year) has taught me that I should prepare so that no one can replace my mind, my heart, my passion, and my persistence to work hard."
There wasn’t a seven hour bus ride home after the awards and there were no late night stops at rest areas along Interstate. The competition was even more intense than it was the first and only time Gabrielino competed in the tournament, however; the results were once again, incredible. Yet again, GabSpeech has demonstrated a pandemic cannot stop their pursuit of excellence.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles.
GabSpeech Gets Early State Qualifiers
By Katelyn Corona
The 2020-2021 season has been non-stop! Just a few months ago, the Screamin’ Eagles competed at Fall Varsity- the first Southern California Debate League (SCDL) varsity speech tournament of the season. On January 30th, the team performed at the league’s second varsity speech tournament, Spring Varsity. To prepare for meet, the team worked with their teammates and coaches. They gave each other constructive criticism and discussed ideas to improve their performances. The team also spent some time reminiscing about the pre-covid world.
Some Eagles expressed that online tournaments lacked most of the things that made competitions fun. Instead of hanging out with their friends and joking around in-between rounds, they now interact with each other via facetime or Zoom. Others really miss the Chanos Mexican Restaurant catering the league tournaments and have been craving their tacos, churros and horchata! The feeling of normalcy has been taken away from the team but they continue to find ways to persevere.
For example, the Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles won Spring Varsity or the 21st year in a row, meaning the team had more points and students in the final rounds than the other 20 schools that competed. Gabrielino has not lost a league speech tournament in over 20 years! This year, over 35 Screamin’ Eagles competed in the final round and placed in their event.
At both Spring Varsity and Fall Varsity students had the opportunity to earn “legs” to the State Championships. Legs can be earned by placing 1st or 2nd in the same event at both tournaments. Congrats to Vincent Demarco and Karyme Pena in DUO , Luccia Yacoub in International Extemporaneous, Gabriel Frank Mc-Pheter in National Extemporaneous,, Halle Fukawa in Oral Interpretation, and, Bianca Lua in Program Oral Interpretation for auto-qualifying for the California State Tournament! Auto Qualifying is not easy! It means performing in three preliminary rounds and one final round against some of the toughest performers in the league. As of right now, Gabrielino has a total of six students attending the State Championships. More students can attend State by qualifying through the SCDL State Qualifying Tournament at the end of February. .
Now that Spring Varsity is over, the rest of the team is preparing for the upcoming Spring Novice and National Qualifying Debate State Tournaments, which, of course, are hosted online.
Congratulations and good job to everyone that performed at Spring Varsity, and good luck to those competing at the upcoming tournaments.
Stay tuned for more articles on what the Screamin’ Eagles do next!
Logan's MLK Online
By Katelyn Corona
For the past 30 years, James Logan High School has held the Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational in honor of one of the most famous and influential people in history. To celebrate his legacy, this year, 94 schools from 14 states competed in his honor.
Over 1300 students from 94 schools across the nation competed at the virtual tournament. The MLK Jr Invitational is normally held in Northern California but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was held online.
The Screamin' Eagles, currently ranked as the 10th largest team in the nation, had a total of 42 entries competing at the Invitational. The tournaments ran smoothly with four preliminary rounds before each of the events were narrowed to the top 24 quarter-finalists. 29 of Gabrielino’s 38 entries advanced to Quarters and 15 competed in the Semi-Final round. Finalists are the top 7 competitors in each event, 8 Screamin' Eagles performed in the Final Round.
Junior Melanie “Melmo” Hsiang recalled the Final Round to be much more competitive than league tournaments. She also said there was a lack of adrenaline rush compared to in-person invitationals. Many students lean on the energy of competitors and judges while performing, but this year performers learned to rely on tiny boxes on their computer screens. The Final Round performances were live streamed on Youtube, and we're described to be fun and refreshing. Previous online tournaments did not allow spectators during Semi and Final Rounds, but there was an exception for the MLK Jr Invitational. Students said that the live stream brought a sense of normalcy back to online tournaments.
Normalcy is something the team tries to incorporate into every online tournament. They do this by talking in-between rounds in the Squad Room and on Facetime. But for Logan 2021, there was a serious lack of artificial normalcy. Students were overwhelmed with the emotions of missing such a fun in-person tournament. Many said they missed the bus rides, pit stop to Casa de Fruta, and the tradition to watch a scary movie on the way back. Others missed the excitement of rooming with their best friends in the hotel. In all, the team missed everything from the smell of the bus to the fluffiness of the hotel pillows to the cold crisp air of Northern California - but all this did not stop the Screamin' Eagles from succeeding.
The team did exceptionally well, with 8 students in the Final round. Congratulations to Kelly Ong for 3rd in Informative, Luccia Yacoub for 4th in Informative and 6th in U.S Extemp, Gabriel Frank McPheter for 3rd in U.S. Extemp, Vincent Demarco & Karyme Peña for 2nd in DUO, Bianca Lua for 2nd in POI, Melanie Hsiang for 4th in POI and last but certainly not least, Megan Chan for 1st in Oratory! As the champion of Oratory, Megan received a $100 cash prize and had the opportunity to donate an additional hundred dollars to a charity of her choice!
Congrats to all that competed !!
The team now shifts their attention to continuing to improve their performances in class and after-school practices! Stay tuned to hear all about what the Screamin' Eagles do next!
Super Screamin Eagle Parents: Mimi’ s Mom
By Luccia Yacoub
While the times have been tough, our Screamin' Eagles have found a light in a dark place. This week, as we continue on this journey of virtual speech and debate, we’re spotlighting some of our amazing Screamin' Eagles Parents.
The people we often forget have to carry perhaps one of the largest burdens of online learning, the parents. Especially for Screamin’ Eagle parents, this burden is on a whole other level. Not only do they have to deal with crazy kids waking up at 6 AM to do their hair, makeup, and make some **EXTREMELY** loud noises, but they have the parental responsibility of making sure the Screamin’ Eagles stay motivated.
For Mimi’s mom (as many on the team call her), her experience comes from both in-person and online tournaments. “The on-campus tournaments are better for the students to have a real audience and receive non-verbal body language and facial expressions feedback during the delivery of their speech. For online tournaments, technology can become a disadvantage for students who do not have the necessary set up or network bandwidth” she stated. Her experience has helped her realize the courage and motivation it takes for students to be public speaking.
In fact, she even provides us with some statistics, “According to verywellmind.com, 77% of the population has some level of anxiety when it comes to public speaking.” She continues, “I am astounded by how many students have well written original speeches and how well they deliver their speeches.” It is exactly this sentiment that has helped the Screamin’ Eagles stay strong, even in the midst of a pandemic. Even though super parents like Mimi’s mom have sacrificed a lot to help their students, from turning their living rooms into a stage to keeping it so silent in the house, you can hear a pin drop, their efforts and accommodations are the reason for Screamin’ Eagles’ success.
It is especially rewarding for parents as well, as Mimi’s mom puts it “...it is a humbling experience for me to see how brave and how well the students do in delivering their speeches. The students who are in speech and debate have gained an invaluable tool for the rest of their lives.”
Thank you for all support and dedication to the Screamin' Eagles, Mimi’s Mom. We love you!
photos by Luccia Yacoub
Super Screamin Eagle Parents: Mrs. Lua
By Luccia Yacoub
While the times have been tough, our Screamin' Eagles have found a light in a dark place. This week, as we continue on this journey of virtual speech and debate, we’re spotlighting some of our amazing Screamin' Eagles Parents.
Performing online is definitely… something, but judging speech tournaments online is a whole different world, to say the least. Mrs. Lua tells us about her experience judging at two of our online tournaments. “I miss the exciting atmosphere of judging in-person; it's really magical. One positive difference was being able to fill out digital ballots and submitting the sheet with a press of a button. It was very clean and simple.” Clearly, staying positive runs in the Lua family.
And while it is easier to submit a ballot through the touch of a button, trying to accommodate Screamin' Eagles performing at home can be QUITE the challenge. “As a family, we have totally surrendered our dining room on tournament weekends. We even made signs for the doors that read, ‘Quiet, please. Tournament in session.’ ” So luckily for her daughter, and team Co-Captain, Bianca “Blua”, her fear of someone walking in on her in the middle of her performance is put at ease.
But still, the struggle is VERY real, especially for students such as Bianca, who compete in duo interpretation. “...it takes much more time and effort to record a final piece. Also, while the online platform affords my student the opportunity to participate in out-of-state tournaments (yay!), it's tough to compete with teams whose state allows them to be in the same room (boo!).”
Persistence and motivation, however, win over difficulties for Mrs. Lua. “I try to provide positive feedback and encourage her when I see her ingenuity and ability to pivot. I’m grateful because now I get to see & hear my student perform.”
Thank you for all support and dedication to the Screamin' Eagles, Mrs. Lua. We love you!
photos by Luccia Yacoub
Super Screamin' Eagle Parents: Mrs. Yacoub
By Luccia Yacoub
While the times have been tough, our Screamin' Eagles have found a light in a dark place. This week, as we continue on this journey of virtual speech and debate, we’re spotlighting some of our amazing Screamin' Eagles Parents.
Whether it’s bringing Cheese rolls from Porto’s and Krispy Kreme donuts to feed the entire team, driving the debaters to and from tournaments, or judging extra rounds at 10 PM on a Saturday, we know that Mrs. Yacoub, or as the debaters call her “Mama Yacoub” is always there for the team. Even in a virtual setting, this has not changed one bit… well except for the Porto’s and Krispy Kreme donuts.
For Mama Yacoub, her experience goes way back. “I’ve been judging tournaments for years now, starting with elementary, then middle school, and now the best-- high school. The speech and debate community is something that has grown on my family.” Despite being a virtual platform, Mrs. Yacoub is very grateful for the technology we have today that allows students to continue their once in-person activities. “Had a pandemic hit, when I was my daughter’s age, we would not have been able to interact in the way we do today, even if it's through a camera” she stated.
Like every super Screamin Eagle parent, Mrs. Yacoub has had to make a lot of sacrifices. “Our home is small and VERY echoey” she stated, “I have to completely shut the door and be as quiet as possible when I judge, so that the sound does not reach the living room where Luccia is performing.” To top that off, she tells about how she had to transform her tiny living room into a complete performance area.
Mrs. Yacoub talks about students who are double entered, “In a real tournament, double entries would have to run across campuses, but online they simply join a different zoom room. So there definitely is a benefit.” With that being said however, she added, “I’ve noticed that a lot of students from various tournaments and schools have lost a lot of motivation to perform. They’re not as serious about performing or delivering, just about getting it done.” She added, “It’s sad to see, but then again we’re so fortunate for the Screamin Eagle team that does everything in its ability to encourage its members.”
With the addition of zoom squad rooms before tournaments and in between rounds, Mrs. Yacoub gets a little taste from the past. “Seeing the team together, even if it’s on zoom, really makes me so joyful because it shows just how strong the team is, and how even in the midst of distress they are willing to fight even the toughest of battles.”
Thank you for all support and dedication to the Screamin' Eagles, Mama Yacoub. We love you!
photos by Luccia Yacoub
Screamin’ Eagle Extemper Gets “THE Invite”
By Katelyn Corona and Luccia Yacoub
The Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA) Extemporaneous Speaking Round Robin is an annual prestigious tournament. Only 16 students from across the nation get invited each year. Invitations are decided by national placings over a duration of two years. The last time Gabrielino received an invitation was to Kevin Ye in 2011. Kevin placed fourth at the M.B.A. Round Robin. The same year, he placed 2nd at the California State Tournament and 2nd at the National Championships.
This year, Gabrielino student Gabriel Frank McPheter was invited to the MBA Round Robin! Gabriel's invitation was very well-deserved. He has qualified and competed at the State and National Championships during his first two years on the team. Gabriel’s junior year has been highlighted by a trio of top 6 finishes in Extemp at the Yale University, Glenbrooks (high schools in the suburbs of Chicago, IL) and James Logan High School National Invitational Tournaments. Gabe, or Frank McFrank as the team affectionately calls him, has already qualified for the Tournament of Champions in both Extemporaneous Speaking and Original Oratory.
Gabriel's reaction to his invitation was "...initially shock. I was pretty surprised, but after it sunk in, my reaction was feeling very honored and excited to have the opportunity". The Screamin’ Eagles coaching staff was honored, but kind of expected it. “As soon as Frank made it to the final round of the Glenbrooks,” a coach said, “someone posted in our group chat, ‘when’s the invite from the round robin coming?’ You hope the invite is coming, you know how hard he works and how good he is, but it is very exclusive company so you never know, there are so many incredible speakers across the country. It was really cool he got the invite and got to compete against the very best.”
Extemporaneous Speaking is an event where competitors are given three questions about current event topics. Students choose one and have thirty minutes to put together a seven minute speech answering the question. The current discombobulated world of politics, locally, nationally and globally, has given birth to a wave of very interesting questions.
To practice for the tournament Gabriel, "...spent a few hours each day before the tournament for two weeks just preparing for the competition. I wrote attention-getters for every topic area, recorded myself giving more speeches than I think I have the whole rest of the year in total, and did a lot more research and reading on topics I wasn't as familiar with."
Gabriel keeps motivated because he knows the opportunities he has. “My speech role models have helped me stay motivated… I look up to people like Starlee, Tim Chung, Kevin Ye, and of course EChen. The desire to live up to their legacy, not let their efforts in coaching and assistance go to waste, and to make them proud has helped me stay motivated.”
While competing alongside some of the most talented students in Extemp in all of America, Gabriel took this as an opportunity to “define terms and the burden of proof in my introduction, I learned to ask more targeted questions with a setup and final blow on cross-examination, and I learned to always crystallize back to not just the question, but the point's claim and how it meets the burden of proof of the question at the end of each point. Of course, I learned a lot more than just those three things, but in Extemp fashion, I'll only give you the three key points of analysis to keep it simple."
This year’s MBA Round Robin was online. Virtual tournaments, while not as social and interactive as in-person meets, do allow for a more inclusive field of competitors. Usually limited to families with the means to afford weekly trips across the country in airports and hotels. Gabriel and the rest of the Screamin’ Eagles have had great opportunities because of online competitions. “I’ve seen literally the best of the best extempers in the nation,” Gabriel notes. “And from that I’ve learned way more than you could type in an article… I’ve learned how to efficiently use the online platform for professional communication.”
Gabriel notes, “Online speech loses the fun of people in person, but gains the fulfillment of new people to perceive. Learning by listening is perhaps the only thing more powerful than learning by doing.”
The MBA Round Robin provides great memories for those individuals accepting of the exclusive invitation. Gabriel's favorite memory was, "my sixth round. I gave what I felt was a very good speech by my standards, and it held up well on cross-examination, so I was feeling quite proud of myself...I suppose it's such a good memory because it really encapsulated how much I still have to learn and improve, even at my best."
The Screamin' Eagles and all of the San Gabriel Unified School District is extremely proud of the success that Gabriel has achieved during his time at Gabrielino High School! Congratulations on all of your accomplishments, we can't wait to see what you do next !!
Photos by Luccia Yacoub
Blown Away by Blua
By Luccia Yacoub
While the times have been tough, our Screamin' Eagles have found a light in a dark place. As we continue on this journey of virtual speech and debate, we’re spotlighting some of our Screamin' Eagles this week
Whether it’s her POI (Programmed Oral Interp) her duo, or on the soccer field, you are bound to be completely and utterly blown away by our Screamin Eagles Co-Captain, the one and only Bianca “Blua” Lua. Not only is she an amazing performer, but you are sure to be impressed by her passion, her kindness, and of course her magenta suit.
Blua has competed in over a dozen tournaments so far this year. She’s become a pro at performing for the camera. The virtual setting does come with its setbacks. For starters “The biggest struggle with online speech as a captain is trying to connect with the entirety of the team and motivate them and inspire them like I desire to do so. I have to surrender the fact that I probably will never see all of their faces or get to see their speeches. It’s been difficult to support the team like I want to.”
Performing online has been quite the challenge, but Blua makes it work, though it does take a lot more grind. “The ability to touch people’s hearts even through a screen is powerful and requires more of a genuine performance and passion as opposed to the flashiness of in person.” She also tells us about some of her fears “...a family member accidentally distracting me and my internet acting up mid-performance.”
On the bright side, she tells how she gets to perform in her socks! She talks about how luckily she has a supporting team to keep her as hyped and as motivated as possible. “I see how hard my peers work and they unknowingly push me to go even harder. My coaches encourage me by simply treating this year like any other and expecting more from me as a performer and as a leader.”
For Blua, the things she misses the most include late night speech practices with stale tortilla chips, walking into the speech room after having a hard class, and above all seeing her peers grow as speakers and individuals. Despite the odds, Blua and the Screamin' Eagles have continued their pursuit of excellence. “The more I focus on how much I love the speech and all the people who have helped me get to where I am today, the more I get and stay excited about speech.”
Photos by Luccia Yacoub
Annica Misses Her Home Away from Home
By Luccia Yacoub
While the times have been tough, our Screamin' Eagles have found a light in a dark place. As we continue on this journey of virtual speech and debate, we’re spotlighting some of our Screamin' Eagles this weeknts.
Whether it’s working on a debate case, making new expos boards, or performing her Original Oratory, there’s one thing about Annica that you can’t deny; she’s making the most of her senior speech year. Our last Screamin Eagle co-captain, Annica Wu, has been helping debaters work on their cases, infinitely inspiring audiences with her Oratory, and of course buying 50 mini toy trolls and pigs online. Not only does she have a quirk of personality, but she is always willing to help anyone and everyone work towards their maximum potential.
Annica tells us about what she misses the most in speech. “I miss hanging out with my team and feeling the overwhelming support of everyone in in-person speech.” Lucky for her, the support she gives is retained with unparalleled motivation. “The people at OO and Expos practice have really motivated me to keep going and they restore my passion and excitement in speech.”
If there’s anything distance learning has taught us all, it is how to be even more effective communicators. Particularly for the Screamin' Eagles, communication is key in an effective and impactful performance, but clearly zoom in not in our favor. “Normally, I would change my tone, draw out my jokes, or exaggerate my levels based on the audience’s reactions, but it is hard to do that over zoom.” To make up for it, Annica has had to work around the severe lag/delay that comes with zoom, and has had to completely transform her bedroom filled with succulents (Annica loves her succulents) to a performance stage. She has sharpened her skills by competing in tournaments all over America against students from almost every state in the U.S.
Annica has found some advantages to performing to a camera instead of in person. “The nice thing about online tournaments,” she states, “is that I dont have to wear foot torture devices aka heels, and people can’t tell that im really short.” So while our captain Annica may miss her home away from home (the speech room), she has definitely learned to become more virtually energetic, have a strong presence online, and to let her personality shine through the camera out to her audiences.
Photos by Luccia Yacoub
Mimi is sOOaring
By Luccia Yacoub
While the times have been tough, our Screamin' Eagles have found a light in a dark place. As we continue on this journey of virtual speech and debate, we’re spotlighting some of our Screamin' Eagles this week
We all know high school can be very draining (99.999999% of the time). From dealing with boat loads of homework, to stressful AP classes, to attempting to juggle speech and sports in the midst of it all, it can be overwhelming sometimes. With the barrier of a screen on a device, it’s no easy feat. For junior, Michelle “Mimi” Li, being unable to see and interact with her peers has been quite the challenge. “I really just miss seeing all the people. It was a lot easier to talk to people in the speech room and when passing by between rounds, especially with people that you might not normally talk to,” she stated.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Screamin' Eagles on the
online platform is, as Mimi tells us, staying motivated, focused, hopeful and optimistic. It can be beyond difficult, particularly when approaching a year of popping, gesturing, and trying to make jokes through a screen.
Mimi, who competes in Humorous Interpretation (HI) and Original Oratory (OO), has drawn inspiration from her teammates. “The other team members,” Mimi explains, “but the seniors especially. For them to have the motivation during this time to put together speeches that have as much impact as they do really just inspires me to want to work hard on my end as well.”
While this learning curve has come with its difficulties, it most certainly has given birth to infinite blessings. “I learned that connecting with people can make all the difference. At some of the first few online tournaments it really felt long and tiring and nothing like the tournament experiences we were used to,” Mimi said. She also added, “But I realized the main difference in determining how much I enjoyed a tournament was if I got a chance to talk to people before, during and after, whether that be individually over text or facetime or the squad room.
Photos by Luccia Yacoub
Through Thick, Thin, and Scary Friday the 13th’s
By Luccia Yacoub
Normally, Friday the 13th taboos are just superstitions so that the horror industry can make money. But for the Screamin’ Eagles, Southern California, and quite literally the rest of the world, March 13th was perhaps the worst Friday the 13th in human history. 39 Screamin’ Eagles had just qualified for the CHSSA State tournament and 33 were set to compete in the East Los Angeles National Qualifying tournament.
The future looked bright and promising for the team… that is until Wednesday March 11th, when the Screamin' Eagles received news that the State tournament was cancelled. No more +1 trip to Logan or Casa de Fruta. The national qualifying tournament was “postponed” and the Screaming Eagles were devastated. That stormy Friday, as we were all sent home, thinking we would see each other after “3 weeks”, we never imagined that almost one year later we would still be stuck in this horrible Friday the 13th nightmare. Despite cheese rolls from Porto’s and Krispy Kreme donuts (shoutout to Mama Yacoub), no food, no matter how good, could wash away the pain of being away from the team.
As Heart-breaking as it may seem, the Screamin' Eagles have been through thick and thin. No pandemic, nor lockdown was going to stop the team from practicing, performing, and using their powerful voices. Despite the cancellation of tournaments, banquet, and so much more, the Screamin' Eagles were told to persist! And persisted, they did. 14 students went on to qualify for the national tournament, half of which advanced to elimination rounds, and one reached all the way to the final round.
Today, the Screamin' Eagles have learned the art of performing from bedrooms, living rooms, and even office spaces. They’ve learned how to perform high broadband or low broadband. They’ve learned to rev each other up in online squad rooms, facetime after every round, and show each other how to cook Gordan Ramsey’s perfect scrambled eggs over zoom.
While the times have been tough, our Screamin' Eagles have found a light in a dark place. As we continue on this journey of virtual speech and debate, we’re spotlighting some of our Screamin' Eagles this week.
Photos by Luccia Yacoub
O-P-P, Easy as Tiff-a-ny
By Luccia Yacoub
While the times have been tough, our Screamin' Eagles have found a light in a dark place. As we continue on this journey of virtual speech and debate, we’re spotlighting some of our Screamin' Eagles this week
When we say “queen of pop,” we don’t mean Lady Gaga. We mean our Screamin Eagle c0-captain Tiff. And by pop, we mean popping into characters. Tiff competes in an event called Original Prose and Poetry, or OPP, where the competitor writes and performs their very own piece. From writing a story from scratch to adding characters and blocking, OPP isn’t as easy as it seems. With the addition of slow broadband and small space, OPP becomes even less easy. “I can’t host effective popping competitions because of internet lag,” Tiff said, “Before I’d be able to see very quickly who was popping cleaner but now it’s definitely a challenge to face. It seems to me that the internet cannot replace physical presences and for that I view it as my biggest challenge in speech.”
And while Tiff has learned how to deal with internet lag and has had to turn her bedroom into a stage, there is one thing that cannot be replaced: the speech room. Tiff says “Before, I was able to walk into the speech room and talk to whoever was in there. I’d see novices performing, people walking around and memorizing, people laughing, and really just seeing people having fun. It’s far more difficult to engage in such activities now and I think everyone can agree with me on that.”
Despite not being physically together, whether in the speech room or at a tournament, the Screamin' Eagles have been there for one another. They’ve stuck with, encouraged, and motivated one another. For Tiff specifically, she talks about how her motivation comes from her closest friends on the speech team. “An important person in my speech career that has continually pushed me to do more and get up on my feet would be Emily Chen. She is my fellow senior peer and one of my closest friends.” Tiff also added, “ I also want to say that my fellow captains, Bianca and Annica, have also motivated me to keep growing both as a captain, a speaker, and a person. Seeing them work hard for the team inspires me to also work hard.”
For Tiff, the best thing about virtual tournaments is no travel, heels, pantyhose, or growling stomachs. “This gives me time to actually eat breakfast compared to other physical tournaments where I remember skipping food then hearing my stomach grumble in my 2nd round.”
So times may be tough but as Tiff puts it “Knowing that I’m not alone when helping to lead the team fills me with this sense of comfort and hope.”
Preparation Pays Off at Fall Varsity
By Katelyn Corona
Fall Varsity is highly anticipated by many teams across the Southern California Debate League, and this year was no different. Students were excited for the first Varsity league tournament of the 2020-21 season. With plenty of online experience, the Screamin' Eagles were excellently prepared for Fall Varsity 2020.
Prior to the meet, the Screamin Eagles attended weekly event practices to time and work on their speeches. Online meetings have been an excellent way for students to interact with each other and improve their speeches. Many hours were spent dedicated to coaching and mastering camera angles, lighting, and audio quality. After months of practicing, the team was finally ready for the last competition of 2020.
With online tournaments, performers run into many issues regarding the internet, cameras, and Zoom. But the one thing students have the most trouble with is attempting to recreate the feeling and energy of an in-person meets. One student said they missed eating tacos, quesadillas, churros, and more from Chanos’ catering with their teammates in between rounds and taking silly event photos. Bus rides to and from the tournament are also highly missed, many inside jokes and lifelong memories are made on the bus to Fall Varsity.
Despite not having the ability to make memories on the bus or get food from the concession stand in between rounds, students still made the best of it. When asked their favorite memories from Fall Varsity, many responded with heartwarming answers like, "My favorite moment would have to be watching my peers progress and growth compared to the last time I've seen them perform," Another excellent response was from Senior Co-Captian and DUO Event Leader, Bianca Lua, "I loved being in a zoom room with the duo event after every round, waiting for awards, and even after awards until about 10:30 at night just talking about life and our speeches. I love them all so much and am very proud to be a part of duo."
The growth and strength of the team does not go unnoticed. The months of preparation and practice shows in both their performance and scores. After three rounds of preliminary competition, 35 Gabrielino students qualified for the final round. All of their hard work led up to the Screamin’ Eagles winning Fall Varsity for the 21st year in a row. The last time the Screamin Eagles lost a league speech tournament was December of 1999
Congratulations to Joan Tran and Noemi Liu for placing first in Duo, Luccia Yacoub for 1st Expository, Vincent Demarco for 1st in Humor, Halle Fukawa for 1st in Oratory, Bianca Lua for 1st in POI, and Sharon Liu for 1st, and Gabriel Frank McPheter for 2nd in U.S. Extemp. Aside from bragging rights, students also earn “legs” for placing 1st or 2nd in an event at Fall Varsity and Spring Varsity. If a student places 1st or 2nd twice then they automatically qualify for the State Championships this April.
Good job to all of the Screamin Eagles, keep up the good work, and have an amazing new year! Stay tuned to hear about the tournaments coming up!
Finally Back to Glenbrooks - Virtually
By Katelyn Corona
It’s been 11 years, since the Screamin’ Eagles have participated in the Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament in Chicago. When the team was presented with this rare opportunity to compete in the tournament online, they practically jumped for joy at the chance to compete against some of the strongest teams in the nation.
The Screamin’ Eagles were astonished by the diversity of the performances. It was a nice experience for those that have not attended an out-of-state tournament. Due to COVID-19, students cannot compete in-person. This has allowed the team to attend tournaments all over the nation.
Taking advantage of this amazing opportunity, most students used this tournament as a learning experience. Taking note of the different performances, one student learned a whole new perspective on the delivery and formatting of speeches.
There were only a small number of Gab students attending the Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament, so they connected through a simple facetime call during the two-day meet. They discussed all the amazing performances they watched and traded tips on how to bring passion to their performances.
One tip was to make sure you are READY and AWAKE. Being stuck at home can be a downer but if you wake up early, eat a good breakfast, and shake off the nerves then you will most likely succeed. To replace the adrenaline rush of being at an in-person tournament the team did some jumping jacks and hyped each other up.
Those competing in Interpretation Events such as Drama, Humor, Expository, POI, OI, etc. were guaranteed four preliminary rounds. Other events were guaranteed three to six preliminary rounds. Despite having a small team, the Screamin' Eagles still managed to place 12th out of 271 schools from 37 different states.
Something the team missed was the ability to watch the final rounds for their events. After witnessing so many excellent speeches during the preliminary rounds, the team wanted to be able to see the performances. But because tournaments are now online, it is no longer an option given to the competitors.
Despite a few hiccups throughout the day, like waking up earlier due to different time-zones, connection issues, and the inevitable Wi-Fi crashes, the team made the best of it!
After Glenbrooks was over, the team had one final Facetime call to talk about everything. They congratulated Jayme Banh for performing in the quarter-finals, Sharon Liu for making it to the semi-final round, and Gabriel Frank McPheter for placing second overall in Extemporaneous Speaking at the Tournament. They then discussed a game plan for Fall Varsity and how they can use the results of Glenbrooks to further improve their performances!
Good job Screamin’ Eagles!! We are so proud of you, continue to soar!
Great Debriefs At Fall Debate
By Katelyn Corona
Ever wonder what it would be like to compete in a debate? Well, this year you could've had the chance! After a long year of preparing and practicing, the Screamin’ Eagles Debate Team competed at a tournament. They have been presented with many issues and some stressors, but they worked together to achieve their first goal of the year...competing at Fall Debate.
This year, those who have never competed in Debate before had the opportunity to compete in the Novice rounds!
The Southern California Debate League 2019 Fall Debate Tournament was held at Pasadena City College but this year it was held in the homes of each competitor.
The Screamin’ Eagles Debate Team is small in numbers, but no doubt they are mighty. The ever-growing debate team worked very hard in preparation for this year’s Fall Debate.
Students described the rounds to be exhilarating, competitive, and last but not least entertaining. Debate students used the tournament to "be better prepared on the dynamic between rounds and judges through the virtual setting we all find ourselves."
Throughout the day, the Screamin’ Eagles debate team conversed through their group chat about the debates they have watched and how they could better improve their performance. The team discovered the importance of communicating with each other during the tournament by recognizing communication is critical before, during, and after a tournament. They were not shy to debrief, ask questions, and provide tips to each other in between rounds.
After the tournament, the students had one final debrief, which quickly turned into a fun interactive celebratory Zoom call for those that made it to the final rounds. They all laughed, joked, and connected to celebrate all of their hard work.
Congratulations to Daniel Candia and Gabriel Sundaramoorthy for placing 7th in Public Forum, Sharon Liu and Gabriel Frank McPheter for placing 5th in Public Forum, and Annica Wu for placing 3rd in Lincoln-Douglas Debate!
The team now turns their attention to Fall Varsity. Congrats Screamin’ Eagle Debate! Continue to Soar!
No Weather Worries This Year for Fall Novice
By Katelyn Corona
As one of the most popular tournaments of the year, the Southern California Forensics League Fall Novice Speech Tournament stole the show. With an overwhelming amount of entries, the meet hosted 18 schools from across Los Angeles.
Last year, competitors worried about the uncertainty of the weather; this year, they dealt with the uncertainty of internet connections. Many of the Screamin’ Eagles used Fall Novice as preparation for the team’s first major league tournament of the year, Fall Varsity! Some team members were competing, while the rest were judging!
In preparation for the tournament, varsity students worked tirelessly with the JV's and Novices. One varsity said their experience in preparation for Fall Novice was entertaining, nostalgic, and fun. Due to the inability to practice and perform in-person, practices were held on Zoom. Even though this was different for everybody, the energy was still the same. Varsities and coaches cheered on their peers as they watched their speeches slowly fall into place. "I missed watching speeches so judging and practicing have been so fun," one student added.
In between rounds, students traded tips and stories about the performances they've seen and given. Tips for internet, audio, and video are the most popular among the Screamin’ Eagles.
Teammates connected in between rounds by chatting in the squad room, texting, and an occasional facetime call. Students described the rounds to have the same comforting feeling as an in-person tournament, but distant because of the lack of in-person connection.
Performers rely heavily on reactions from the audience and judges to determine their flow, tone, and sometimes entire performance. Due to the tournaments being online, the audience went from actual classrooms to a couple of boxes on a screen. The Screamin’ Eagles approached this issue by hosting weekly event practices to discuss and understand how to create an authentic in-person experience from their homes.
No different from previous Fall Novice tournaments, varsity students from all participating schools were allowed the luxury to judge the rounds. One student from Gab described judging to be fun, informative, and different. They used this experience to see a tournament from an alternate perspective and plans for this to enhance their own performances in future tournaments.
After the rounds, award ceremony, and debriefing with the team, students continued their practicing in preparation for the highly-anticipated Fall Varsity tournament! As the team navigates through these unexpected times, they continue to give their 100%! Good job on the amazing work Eagles! Continue to soar!
Gab Gab Gab Moves Online
By Katelyn Corona
GabGabGab is often the first tournament most of the Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles perform at. This year was no exception; all but a handful of team members performed at the Gabrielino Invitational. 49 of them competed in the final round.
Traditionally, Gabx3 would take place on the Gabrielino High School campus, but due to COVID-19, the tournament was held in the homes of the competitors. The stress of running to different classrooms was substituted for the comfort of performing in your very own home. Junior Julie Qian described the tournament as, "Interesting, Exciting, and Fun," and she continues to add that the tournament pushed her to prepare for more future online tournaments and attend more online practices.
To prepare for the tournament, many students were ready to deal with any computer, connection, or camera issues. Students spent many hours practicing on their own trying to perfect lighting, camera angles, and computer placement. Some students used tape to mark their computer framing to ensure they could always be seen when performing.
Online tournaments are a learning experience for everyone involved so it is highly encouraged to take all the steps necessary to ensure smooth sailing. The Screamin’ Eagles encourage those participating in online tournaments to be prepared for whatever may come their way and to join the virtual squad room in between rounds.
During the tournament, the team connected by hanging out in the virtual squad room on Tabroom. The team used this as a way to connect with the freshman and provide words of encouragement. They also debriefed on the rounds and discussed the performances they watched. Many students facetimed their friends after the tournament to further debrief and consider how their performances could improve before the next tournament. Many people talked about how it was harder to perform in front of a virtual audience.
When performing, the competitors rely heavily on the audience. Humor speeches rely on laughs or reaction to jokes. Dramas rely on reactions to character development and evoking emotion during their climax. To ensure a stable connection, the audience and judges are asked to keep their mics off when not speaking or performing. The lack of reaction makes it difficult for some performers but the Screamin’ Eagles soared over these obstacles. Their perseverance did not go unnoticed.
49 students from Gabrielino High School earned awards for their performance. The novices spent countless hours at practice and having one-on-one virtual coaching. There were novice champions in Extemp, Humor, Expository, and Oratory. The varsities also did extremely well. Their determination for the Screamin’ Eagles shined bright at the Gabrielino Invitational. There were varsity champions in Duo, Humor, Expository, Original Prose and Poetry, Original Advocacy, and Original Oratory.
First Time at Yale
By Katelyn Corona
October 3rd marked the 28th year in a row Yale University has hosted an invitational speech and debate tournament; however, it was the first time the Screamin’ Eagles could participate in the event. Travel expenses have prevented the team from competing at Yale every other year. Since the tournament was online this year, the team took advantage of the opportunity.
The highly anticipated tournament hosted 396 schools and nearly 2,000 entries from 41 states. It ran all day, Saturday and Sunday. Six students from Gabrielino attended the Yale Invitational; seniors Bianca Lua and Annica Wu, juniors Gabriel Frank McPheter, Luccia Yacoub and Daniel Candia, and sophomore Gabriel Sundaramoorthy.
Students woke up bright and early to accommodate the three hour time difference on the east coast. In preparation for the tournament, students had countless virtual practices with their teammates and coaches. Bedrooms, garages, and backyards quickly turned into classrooms.
Despite not being surrounded by a team, competitors checked in with each other after each round in the Squad Room. They debriefed what they saw and hyped each other up before the next round. The team connected by playing Among Us and teaching each other all the tips and tricks of the game. In spite of a large number of attendees, the Screamin’ Eagles described it to be intimate and easy to connect with other teams and their fellow competitors.
One of the biggest differences from in-person tournaments was the lack of an audience. Unlike in-person tournaments, spectators were not allowed in the semi and final rounds. To ensure connection stability, judges and competitors kept their cameras and mic off when not performing or speaking. The adrenaline of performing in front of a large audience was substituted by the stress of lighting, audio, internet connection, and video quality.
"This tournament was different from previous tournaments around this time of year because it had 5 prelims and 3 out rounds, very similar to nationals! It was also on east coast time so we had to get up a bit early. However, I’d say the biggest and most exciting difference was seeing higher level performances from around the nation so early in the year!" said Bianca Lua when asked how the Yale Invitational was different from previous online and in-person tournaments.
In preparation for the tournament, Luccia Yacoub made sure to get more than enough sleep and prepare her set-up the night before. Bianca Lua tested lighting, angles, and connection before the tournament so she can focus strictly on her performance. Gabriel Frank McPheter, woke up extra early to have more than enough time to prepare and energize himself before the first round.
Virtual tournaments are a learning experience for everyone involved. Gabriel Frank McPheter said the Yale Invitational, "prepared me for staying calm but energized regardless of the competition for future online tournaments." Luccia Yacoub said this tournament helped her because "It is SO helpful to get critiques from judges from across the nation and it helps you become a better speaker and gives you insight on how effective you are on sending a message to your audience."
After hours of competing and overcoming different internet obstacles, Bianca Lua placed 3rd in Program Oral Interpretation (POI), Gabriel Frank McPheter placed 7th in Extemp and Luccia Yacoub was in the Semi-Final round of Informative.
Congrats Bianca, Gabriel, and Luccia !!!
The team now turns their attention toward the Gabrielino Invitational taking place on October 17th. Good luck Eagles !!
SCDL Hosts First Online Tournament
By Katelyn Corona
On Saturday, September 26th, Gabrielino Screamin' Eagles attended the first-ever Repackage Deal online tournament. Hosted by the Southern California Debate League (SCDL), nearly 400 students from the member schools participated. However, despite the endless preparation, students reported this tournament to be relaxed, fun, and helpful. The first round was Spontaneous Debate, or SPAR. The second round was Scripted Interp. Students were able to pick their scripts before the round.
The SCDL has traditionally used Package Deal as a tournament for students new to speech and debate. Each of the four rounds was a different event which required no preparation beforehand. This year, the league decided to use the meet as a way to give all the judges and students in the league a chance to try out the technology and platform; thus, the term RE-Packaged Deal for this year.
Competitors described the rounds to be concise and it was a good chance to try out their technology and performance space before the team’s next large tournament, The Gabrielino Invitational in October. Bianca Lua, Screamin Eagle Co-Captain, said "Repackage Deal helped me to get used to seeing other schools in rounds to get prepared for GabGabGab and future tournaments." It may have been different but the Screamin’ Eagles soared through all the obstacles and held their standard form.
Despite not being surrounded by their team or having the usual tournament adrenaline, the Screamin’ Eagles excelled in every way they possibly could. Making the best out of their situation, they used this tournament as a learning experience to prepare them for the future.
With only seven to eight people in each round, the tournament moved along quickly and smoothly. The Screamin’ Eagles finished the tournament just in time to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels baseball teams play their final series of the season.
"It taught me to just have FUN regardless of what tournament and to always be patient with judges...remember they're new to all this too," said Luccia Yacoub.
The Screamin’ Eagles now turn their attention to the Yale Invitational and Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles Invitational. Both of which will be held online.
Speech At The Virtual Beach
The first big speech and debate tournament of the season has traditionally been the Jack Howe Invitational and Cal. St. Long Beach. This year was no different. Except it was very different. Yes, it was an online tournament, but it was a massive online tournament. The 259 schools competing represented 39 different states. There were almost 1,500 students performing. Good thing it was online: the food court can’t hold 1,500 people.
Students were again able to double enter in speech and debate events. Normally, this might mean carrying poster boards from a round in the small building behind the Pyramid Gym across the lower campus, up the long hill, across the upper campus and what is almost a separate time zone to the third floor of the Liberal Arts 1 building. In virtual speech, it only means leaving one zoom meeting and clicking on another link.
When the third and final guaranteed round concluded on Saturday evening, four Screamin’ Eagles qualified for the elimination rounds. Senior Sharon Liu made it to the top 30 in Lincoln Douglas Debate. Juniors Luccia Yacoub and Gabriel Frank-McPheter placed 5th and 3rd in Extemporaneous Speaking. Senior and team co-captain, Bianca Lua, was the champion of Program Oral Interpretation
Jack Howe 2020, was a monumental tournament. The Screamin’ Eagles were certainly up to the challenge and represented GabSpeech in an equally monumental manner.
The team now focuses its attention on the Yale Invitational coming up in October.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles
Lions and Lambs and Eagles Oh My
For First-Ever Virtual Nationals
There’s a famous idiom that describes the month of March as coming in like a lion. March, 2020 was no different for The Screamin’ Eagles. The team had just come off their 23rd straight Southern California Debate League Championship and getting ready for the National Qualifying Tournament, State Championships and the league’s Novice Championships. Gabspeech was roaring like a lion.
Then it happened. The world came to a slow halt. Everything promising about the last 9 weeks of school got cancelled piece by piece. And just like that, March went out like a lamb.
When April came up on the calendar and all seemed lost for The Screamin’ Eagles, the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) announced they would create the first ever, Online National Championship Tournament and make it happen with only 90 days of preparation.
While sports leagues all across America were suspending or canceling their season, the NSDA looked adversity in the face and quickly transformed. In turn, local officials put their collective heads together to devise a numeric formula to effectively and fairly select the students who would represent the East LA County / Orange County League at this first ever virtual National Tournament.
With so much change, so many challenges and so much literal distance between coaches and their students all across America, the Nationals would not be the great draw that it has been for the past 90 plus years. Online just doesn’t feel like live. A lot of people would be turned off to the idea.
Nope. The students all across America jumped at the chance. They rose to the challenge. The 2020 National Speech and Debate Championships were the largest in the history of the tournament. The week long competition featured over 6,600 competitors and 3,500 judges from over 1,400 schools. After setting up over 900 virtual competition classrooms, the NSDA hosted over 4,000 zoom meetings over six days of competition. Once again, the NSDA was hosting the largest academic competition in the world.
It wasn’t easy for the 18 GabSpeech National Qualifiers to prepare for the tournament. They had to have zoom meetings with coaches and their teammates. They had to practice in their bedrooms, their garages, and in their front yards.
In a blink of an eye, the entire coaching staff went from practicing in the great speech room to figuring out how to work security features on zoom meetings. The speech boards had to be replaced by google classroom.
“I didn’t even have a district email account yet,” commented one of the team’s assistant coaches. “The next thing I know, I’m using google classroom and my new school account is overflowing with emails and notices. It happened so fast, but we somehow made it work.”
Teachers and coaches all over America will tell you student motivation and participation were at all-time lows during distance learning. Junior Bianca Lua saw it as just another challenge to face. “I found myself being overwhelmed by the preparation for Nationals,” Lua stated. “I kept wanting to put off the work. But I learned when you just do it, the stress goes away. Ultimately, my love for speech pushed me to keep working.”
“Motivation is always an underappreciated aspect of teaching. Distance learning and ‘lockdown’ just exacerbated existing problems” said one Screamin’ Eagles Coach. “Many of our students, especially the seniors, became highly unmotivated. Our team really feeds off the energy they collectively create in the classroom. When they aren’t physically around each other, we have to find other ways. Luckily many of our student leaders and our entire coaching staff really stepped up, found the drive, and created an incredible environment for our team to thrive.”
And Thrive they did. After the first six preliminary rounds of competition concluded and the original 200-400 original entries in each event were narrowed down to the top 60, The Screamin’ Eagles had half their team still in competition.
When the two octo-final rounds were completed at the end of the fourth day of competition, the top 30 in each event were announced. Sophomores Geraldine Ly and Alex Lai advanced in the Duo Interpretation event. Fellow Sophomore, Melanie Hsiang, was listed among the quarter-finalists for Program Oral Interpretation. Defending State Champion and 2019 National Finalist, Felicia Tang, was among the top 30 for her event of Informative Speaking.
Two quarter-final rounds would determine who would compete in the National Semi-Finals. “Semis are always the goal,” said one of the GabSpeech Coaches. “Anyone in the top 14 who isn’t a senior, automatically qualifies for next year, so that’s fantastic. And all 14 are exceptional, so it’s a great group of people to get to perform with.” This also meant GHS has had at least one student advance to at least the National Semi-Finals for the eight straight year and 17th time in the past 20 years.
Senior Felicia Tang, who placed 4th at last year’s national championships, and therefore automatically qualified for this year’s competition, made it to the semis again this year. Melanie also advanced to the top 14 and thus became The Screamin’ Eagles first qualifier for the 2021 Nationals. The two became the 41st and 42nd students from Gabrielino to make it all the way to the National Semi-Finals.
At the end of the fifth day of competition, the top six competitors in each event were announced to perform in the 13th and final round. The events and the code numbers scrolled across the screen. Melanie was on the list. “I was shocked and ecstatic when I saw my code on the screen. It was crazy to think I was one of the top six in the Nation,” Melanie remarked. “Just to auto-qual for next year by getting to semis, that was amazing. I was so humbled and blessed to watch myself in the final round. I am so proud to be able to represent GabSpeech.”
Felicia placed 10th in her category and ended her illustrious speech career by performing in an incredible 31 rounds of competition at the National Championships, which is the sixth most out of the almost 300 GHS students who have qualified for Nationals. “It was an interesting experience (to do it online),” Felicia stated. “But it certainly was not as hot in LA for Nationals as it would have been if we were actually competing in New Mexico like we were supposed to.”
Melanie ranked second in the final round and placed 4th overall in America. She became the 19th Gabrielino Student to speak in the National Final Round. The team was awarded the National School of Excellence Award for placing among the top 20 teams in the entire country for the 13th straight year. Overall, the team placed 13th and 6th in America in the Speech category.
Junior, Annica Wu, perfectly summed up the entire experience, “online Nationals this year was very different from Nationals in Dallas last year. Although it was disappointing that we couldn’t travel with our team, it opened my eyes to the future of speech and debate tournaments. Because everything was online, I was able to scrimmage debaters from other states which probably wouldn’t have happened without the pandemic. Even though it was online, I still learned a lot. It was a fantastic experience. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to compete at Nationals for the second straight year. This experience was unparalleled to any other.”
One of the long time members of the coaching staff reflected, “this was not easy. Our kids and coaching staff really stepped up. You have to be able to adapt and evolve. And we did. The NSDA took on a huge challenge and went way above and beyond what any of us dreamed they could do in 90 days. I’m really glad our students got to experience the tournament. I hope everyone who participated understands that life will throw us challenges. And I hope they will remember this particular challenge they faced. I hope they remember the culture of excellence and persistence they were a part of on GabSpeech. And hopefully they will be able to draw upon this experience to meet and overcome all the challenges they may face throughout their lifetimes. We are all so proud of the students, coaches, and this entire speech and debate program.”
The school year may have changed in March by a virus, but Gabspeech made sure it ended like an Screamin’ Eagle. That idiom probably won’t become as famous. But hey, Happy Summer and congrats to the GHS 2020 Nationals Team. Way to go Screamin’ Eagles!!
Screamin’ Eagle Sophomore Soars to National Final Round
It certainly wasn’t the way she planned for the season to end when sophomore Melanie Hsiang began her second year on The Screamin’ Eagles Speech and Debate Team. But it couldn’t have turned out much better.
In the 25-year history of the Gabrielino Speech and Debate Program, only 18 other students had ever advanced to the National Final Round. Only two sophomores had made it, and they were twins, so combining their experience, it was like one senior.
Melanie, or “Melmo” as team super-fan, two-year-old Dakota Lee, calls her, started working on her new speech after competing at the 2019 National Championships in Dallas, Texas. It began just like every other speech year. Compete at some invitational tournaments, some league tournaments, judge a few novice meets and hopefully qualify for State. She accomplished each of those tasks.
When Gabrielino shut down for the year back in March due to the pandemic, Melanie was getting ready to compete in the California State Speech and Debate Championships for the second straight year. As a freshman, Melanie placed fourth in the State and was on track to finish close to the top again this year.
Luckily for Melanie, her teammates, and over 6,000 other students in America, the National Speech and Debate Association took on the monumental task of moving the National Championships to an online platform and thus allowed the speech and debate season to end in a proper fashion.
Instead of sitting around thinking about how this year won’t be like her trip to Nationals last year, held in Dallas, Texas, Melanie immediately began preparing for her final competition. She spent countless hours practicing her speech in zoom meetings with her coaches and teammates. She went over her speech in her bedroom, bathroom and living room; basically anywhere she could to polish her performance to compete with the best in America.
While adapting to distance learning, Melanie and the seventeen other Screamin’ Eagles who qualified for Nationals had to master independent learning, advanced level time management and prepare for their toughest competition of the year. It was nine weeks of school stress plus a couple more weeks of pre-nationals super speech stress. Through it all, Melanie kept her grades up, continued her speech work and counted down the days until Nationals.
After three days of competition, twelve rounds of zoom meeting performances and making it through three different online announcements of “breaks” for advanced levels, Melanie saw her name listed to compete in the National Final round. Over two hundred students had qualified for Nationals in her event, Program Oral Interpretation. The field had been narrowed down to the top six.
“I was shocked and estatic when I saw my code on the screen’” Melanie remarked. “It was crazy to think I was one of the top six in the Nation.”
Since the tournament was online, Melanie had the opportunity to watch the round with her parents. “We were able to hook the computer up to the television, so everyone could watch,” she stated.
Melanie’s family, and everyone in America with a decent internet connection could see her perform. And just a few hours later they all watched as Melanie joined her final zoom meeting of the tournament to virtually be named the fourth place competitor in POI in all of America for 2020.
After the awards, messages flooded the team’s Instagram page. Teammates, team parents and alumni all congratulated her on a fantastic performance. Melanie gushed. “just to auto-qual for next year by getting to semis, that was amazing. I was so humbled and blessed to watch myself in the final round. I am so proud to be able to represent GabSpeech.” She even made a point to go online and virtually thank her coaches for all their help and support.
Here’s an interesting fun fact. The only other sophomores to perform in the National Finals placed fifth, together, in Duo Interpretation, 2014. So, Melanie is the highest placing sophomore in the 26-year history of the Gabrielino Speech and Debate Team.
Next year, Melanie’s junior year, will start soon and how it looks is anyone’s guess. It probably won’t look anything like normal. Regardless of the situation, appearance, or platform, Melanie will continue to prepare and practice in pursuit of perfecting her performance. She will, however, know she is already qualified for the 2021 National Championships. Her only hope will be that several of her teammates will be able to join her in Iowa (or online) next June.
Way to go Melmo!! We are so proud of you!!
Academic All-Americans: A Perfect 10
When National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) named the 2020 Academic All-Americans, ten Screaming Eagles were on the list. 19 qualifications to the State Championships, 10 to Nationals, a handful of State Finalists, A State Champion and 4th place in all of America. That’s a pretty impressive list.
To get on the list, students had to complete five semesters of high school, earn a grade point average (GPA) of 3.7, or a 3.5 GPA with a minimum ACT score of 27 or an SAT score of 1300, and attain at least 750 National Speech and Debate Association (NSAD) points in competition. The NSDA is the second largest honor society in the United States next to the National Honor Society (NHS).
Senior Co-Captain, Jaden Raymundo leads the team of outstanding Gabrielino seniors. Brandon Du, Khin Han, Starlee Hoc, Lin Knudsen, Francesca Pondevida, Felicia Tang, Raymond Tran, Sam Villescas, and Katherine Xie round out the group of 10.
The team released a statement commending the students. “The Class of 2020 Screaming Eagles continued the long history of excellence in the academic and competition classrooms. We are excited to have the national organization honor these fantastic students. We are certain this group of students will go on and continue to make enormous positive impacts in the world.”
These Screamin’ Eagles have accomplished a great deal in their four years at Gabrielino. Congrats. And to Starlee, Jaden, Felicia, and Sam, best of luck at Nationals in June as you continue to add to the legacy of the 2020 GabSpeech Senior Class
National Qualifiers Chosen
48 hours before The Screamin’ Eagles were to compete in the National Qualifying Tournament at Arroyo High School, the tournament got postponed. It was, after all, scheduled on the dreaded Friday, March 13th. Not the normal superstitious Friday the 13th. March 13th, the day most California schools ended in person teaching for the year.
At first, the tournament was postponed, like school. Then, the in-person qualifying tournament, also like school, was canceled altogether.
Area speech officials waited for several weeks to see if the National Speech and Debate Tournament was going to happen, and if it did, what it would look like.
At the beginning of April, the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) announced the tournament this year, originally scheduled for June in Albuquerque, New Mexico, would be the same time, but occur online. It would be virtual.
The East Los Angeles County/Orange County Speech and Debate District had to work fast to determine their qualifiers. Two options were laid out. Either create a point system based on student’s past performance or create their own virtual tournament. The committee chose the former.
Students were awarded points based on their top three placings for this competition year, their individual state rankings in their event, past qualifications and success at previous NSDA National Championships. Seniors were also awarded bonus points since their season came to a very abrupt halt on that freaky Friday the 13th.
It may have been a different format of a tournament, but in the end, the Screamin’ Eagles held to their standard form. Gab students earned 14 of the 24 spots and again were named District Champions.
In total, Gabrielino qualified 16 students in the speech categories to go along with the four debaters who qualified through the traditional methods.
Senior team captain and first time qualifier, Raquel Chavez, said, “it’s going to be interesting. I’m glad they (national officials) are willing to do all the extra work to give us some sort of Nationals”.
Indeed, the task of moving the world’s largest academic competition from in-person at 10 different venues around a city to an online platform is a monumental task, but one the NSDA is embracing out of a sense of duty.
In an email sent to all member schools, NSDA Executive Director, Scott Wunn, said, “during times of crisis, the National Tournament’s mission is even more essential. Speech and debate provides comfort and strength to students. The National Tournament’s platform allows students to share their stories and speak up on issues they care about, and that platform cannot be abandoned. “
Seven of the 18 qualifiers from GHS are seniors. “I’m excited I get to end my speech career by having students all across America, literally in their houses all across America, hear my message,” said Senior Co-Captain and two-time qualifier Jaden Raymundo.
For the 11 Screamin’ Eagles who aren’t seniors, the National Tournament also offers another opportunity. “We understand we have the chance to not only compete this year, but if we do well at Nationals this year (placing in the top 14), we can automatically qualify for next year’s Nationals,” said junior Bianca Lua after learning she would be competing at Nationals for the second year in a row.
The eight qualifiers who are representing the team’s highly regarded sophomore class are led by extemper, Gabriel Frank-McPheter. “Frank McFrank” as the team calls him looks at the virtual tournament as a way to connect. “I miss speech. I miss being in the speech room,” he said. “I feel really bad for the seniors, but this tournament, albeit virtual, allows for us to represent Gab, our team, and have one more chance to perform alongside, or on a screen with the fantastic seniors on our team.”
The National Speech and Debate Championships will be different this year. Everything is different in the world this year. But one thing has stayed constant, the success of The Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles Speech and Debate Team.
23rd In A Row
For the first time in almost 30 years, the Southern California Debate League did not hold its league championships at Cal. State Long Beach. The 2020 tournament was hosted by East Los Angeles Community College.
The new location meant instead of CSULB students judging the competition, the majority of the adjudicators would be comprised of ELAC students. Students from Rio Hondo Community College, Pasadena City College and Santa Monica City College would also be needed to help fill the vast number of judging spots necessary. Even with a somewhat different judge pool, the Screamin’ Eagles still succeeded.
A new venue meant all the Screamin’ Eagles needed to find their way all over campus. The familiarity and of Long Beach St. was gone. This was a completely new place. The proximity of competition buildings of The Beach was replaced with rooms placed all over the ELAC campus. Some rounds even had to take place outside because the competitors and judges couldn’t find the room or it was locked or occupied by an actual class. Despite having to navigate a new, more spread out campus, the Screamin’ Eagles prevailed.
Once the three preliminary rounds concluded, each of the 12 events were narrowed down to the top 14 to 21 speeches for an intense semi-final round. 87 GHS competitors made it to semis. In comparison, the other 18 schools combined had barely over 100. When the finals were posted, 38 Screamin’ Eagles were listed among the 84 entries still competing to qualify for the State Championships.
After 11 hours of competition and giving as many as ten, 10-minute speeches, all the competitors filed into a cramped lecture hall for the Awards Ceremony. With every single bit of real estate used in the room, almost 500 students waited for what seemed like an eternity to learn who among them would be competing in the State Championships in April.
As fate would have it, the Microsoft programmers had sent out a necessary update and one of the computers used to tabulate all the judge scores decided installing the lengthy upgrade was more important than figuring the speech final placing. Luckily, some tournament officials were old enough to remember how to tab the tournament on paper. The glitch caused the awards ceremony to be delayed for over a half hour.
“We got all our kids to awards,” commented a member of the Screamin’ Eagles Coaching Staff. “But there weren’t nearly enough seats for everyone. When we finally found everyone a place to sit or stand, they had to then wait.”
The wait was worth it. GabSpeech went home with 38 trophies and now has 37 students qualified for the State Championships, the most since 2017. The Screamin’ Eagles won the League Championship for the 23rd straight year.
The venue may have changed, but The Screamin’ Eagles success did not. Way to go Screamin’ Eagles.
photos by Katherine Xie and Halina Kwan
The Horn Blares for Spring Novice Success
Nestled in between the importance of Spring Varsity and the intensity of State Quals, is Spring Novice. It’s a nice breather. The tournament is fast, simple and fun. It’s a chance for the youngins to perform their speeches and the veterans to not worry about competition and instead listen to those who will make up tomorrow’s varsity team.
The Screamin’ Eagles headed down to Long Beach to compete in the Southern California Debate League’s annual Spring Novice Tournament; hosted this year by Millikan High School.
With only four or five competitors in each room, the tournament progressed very quickly and smoothly. The Screamin’ Eagles finished their three performances and stood in line to purchase the traditional Chano’s lunch platter.
When the awards ceremony had finished, The Screamin’ Eagles left with 22 of the 38 trophies handed out. Spring Novice was yet another great success for the team.
“It was really a fun tournament,” said freshman Ceres Black who was the champion of Program Oral Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation. “It wasn’t as stressful as other meets, so I could enjoy performing and watching everyone much more than the varsity meets I’ve been to.”
After the tournament finished, on the ride home, one of the team’s buses suddenly started honking uncontrollably. The driver had no idea why as none of the emergency exits were ajar. At one point, he pulled the bus over on the side of the freeway and restarted the engine.
The reset worked for a few minutes, but before the convoy reached the 10 Freeway, the horn started again. The driver was perplexed. The horn sounded all the way down the road until the Screamin’ Eagles made it back to Gabrielino. Obviously, the bus was only trying to sound the horn for the Spring Novice Success.
Gab Speech now turns its attention to the State and National Qualifying Tournaments. The intensity will be increasing greatly, but the Screamin’ Eagles are eager to meet the challenge.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles!
photos by Katherine Xie
Policy Team Re-Writes History at Nat Quals Debate
277 Gabrielino Students have qualified for the National Speech and Debate Championships in the 26 year history of the school. Exactly two of those students have qualified in Policy Debate. Two. That’s it. That’s less than one percent of the qualifiers.
If you figure in the fact less than 10% of the team qualifies for the National Championships in any event, you realize there’s a one in a whole bunch shot at making Nationals in Policy Debate. But as Lloyd Christmas proclaimed in Dumb and Dumber, “so you’re saying there’s a chance.”
Juniors Emily Haas and Sharon Liu took advantage of that chance and, in one day, doubled the number of Policy Debate Qualifers in Gabrielino’s History. “I don’t know how it happened,” said Liu. “But I can tell you we laid it all out on the line and gave it everything we had.”
The team of two finished the East Los Angeles / Orange County National Qualifying Tournament undefeated and will be one of the three policy teams representing the area at the 2020 National Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico this June.
The program has had unbelievable success in two and a half decades. Yet somehow, junior debaters, Emily Haas and Sharon Liu found their way into Gabrielino History.
photos by Halina Kwan
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.
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.
Sounds 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 punched 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.
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
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.
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.
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 speech 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.”
Senior, 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) has 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
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.
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.
Defending 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.”
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
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.
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.
Before 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.
“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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 in 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 back 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.
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!!!
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
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
150. No human being has lived to be 150. When Disneyland hits their 150th anniversary, or even their 100th one, there will be a huge celebration. If Gabrielino High School becomes 150… well, no one reading this will be around, so it doesn’t matter at this point in time. The Screamin’ Eagles hit 150 and it came and went without much fanfare. 150 first place team sweepstakes trophies, all in the highest division at 150 tournaments.
In that total is 22 league championships in a row, including several wins at the La Mirada and Schurr High School invitationals, a few wins at the La Costa Canyon tournament in San Diego, a few James Logan Martin Luther King Jr. National Invitational wins, a win at the Stanford National Invitational, and a 2009 win when the team competed in the University of California, Berkeley National Invitational for the last time.
In addition to the 150 first place team sweepstakes, the Screamin’ Eagles have been ranked the best Speech program in the entire state of California a couple of times. The team also won the Bruno E. Jacob award at Nationals for lifetime of program achievement, the first school in Southern California to get it in over 35 years. Though these were momentous achievements being first in speech doesn’t warrant a trophy and the Bruno E. Jacob award isn’t a first place team sweepstakes award, so these weren’t figured into the 150.
The first one was back in 1998. The team won their first tournament, which also happened to be the team’s first league championship, by three points and the entire school was ecstatic. This year the team won the league championship, for the 22nd time in a row, by over 100 points and no one batted an eye.
Number 50 came way back in 2006 in the form of a black plaque mounted on a piece of marble with a medal of Martin Luther King Jr. on it from the James Logan Tournament in Oakland.
Number 100 came when the team won the Claremont Wolfpack Invitational in January of 2012. The team was able to carve their name on a large perpetual plaque to etch their place in the history of the tournament. Gabrielino HS is listed a total of five times on the historical tablet.
Number 150 came last month at the National Qualifying Speech Tournament at Arroyo High School where the Team was crowned the 2019 Champions of the East Los Angeles County/Orange County District of the National Speech and Debate Association for the 14th time.
The team has not lost a speech tournament in the Southern California Debate League since December of 1999. The Screamin’ Eagles are undefeated this millennium.
These are not tournaments where only three or four teams compete. Most league tournaments have around 20 schools competing, and invitationals can have up to 90 teams.
Some trophies have been distributed around campus for display. Some have been taken apart and combined with others. The rich legacy of the entire team is not only shown around campus, but it is in the students, old and new, that contribute their time and hard work into this program.
One of the coaches offered some perspective and stated, “The trophies are merely a result of all the hard work the students and our coaches have put in.”
It was not a first place trophy, but the first team trophy the Screamin’ Eagles ever won was way back in 1995, when the school was not even a year old yet and only had freshmen on the campus. It was also the very first tournament the team attended. Gabrielino won 5th place at the league’s Novice Championships. During that era, the coach of the award-winning team was none other than now principal, Sharron Heinrich.
“150 is something all the students, from all the years can take pride,” expressed another coach. “Every student who has ever been on our team in the history of this program has left Gabrielino as league champion. That’s pretty cool.”
Congrats Screamin’ Eagles on hitting 150.
Small but Powerful Team Wins Novice Champs
By Zoe Perez
On May 11th, all first time speech students finally had the spotlight all to themselves. After being given the entire school year to prepare, varsity members took a step back and novices were handed their very own tournament.
The Southern California Debate League’s Novice Champs gave all first year speech kids a chance to shine! This is a tournament dedicated entirely to novice speakers. The beginning of the day started off warm and bright, just like our own students. All students hustled to get themselves prepped and ready before they began their first round.
This year’s pool of novices were missing eleven kids who automatically became varsities after qualifying for the State Championships! This situation is similar to losing eleven players on a football team. That’s the entire offense or defense. In baseball, it would be like losing the entire fielding team, the batter and the guy standing at the on deck circle. Without their performances, Gab lost valuable talent which could have amounted to a lot points for the team sweepstakes trophy at the tournament.
However, despite this huge loss of students, our young Eagles were determined to make something out of their opportunity. This gave more freshmen a chance to step up and take their place. And they made the most out of their chance in the spotlight. For their first and only time performing at Novice Champs, they performed incredibly. “It was a really fun experience,” shared freshman Hana Thai about her first time at Novice Champs. “I was both excited and nervous to perform new speeches, but overall I had a great time.”
Though a little unseasoned compared to the varsity members of their team, the students performed with ease. At the end of the day, The Screamin’ Eagles took almost half of the trophies. Four of the freshmen were crowned the champion in seven events! Sofia Chavez won both Humorous Interpretation and Thematic Interpretation. Lauren Chieu took first place in both Original Oratory and Original Prose & Poetry. Luccia Yuccub won both Expository and International Extemp. The policy debate team of Chavez and Mimi Ly also won! The team racked up over 200 sweepstakes points and won the tournament for the 22nd straight year.
“Novice Champs is a one shot deal,” said one coach. “And they did great. Last night was prom, the varsities were at the Majestic (hotel), but today the novice kids were the ones who were majestic.”
Keep on Soaring Screamin’ Eagles.
By Zoe Perez
When you hear the name “Felicia”, you usually begin to think of all the words that describe her. Athletic, intelligent, and hard-working are only a few words that come to mind. Now, when you think of Felicia, you’ll think of the 2019 Expository State Champion.
Felicia has always had a good work ethic. No matter the time, she is always up to something, whether it’s studying for a test or practicing her speech. So when she qualified for State a couple months back, there was no doubt that she would make it far.
This year’s tournament marked the 10 year anniversary of Vivian Lam winning “Expos” with her speech about Vampires. It is only fitting Felicia’s speech is about aviation. This Screamin’ Eagle certainly flew high and proud at the State Championships.
“The tournament was a lot of fun,” Felicia said with her typical casual smile. “It’s pretty cool to be able to be mentioned alongside (two-time State Champion) Vivian. She was one of the best.”
She is Gabrielino Speech and Debate’s 20th State Champion!
Well done, Felicia! The Eagles couldn’t be more proud of you.
Photo by Noli Thai
State Speech and The Beach
By Zoe Perez
State took place at CSULB, California State University Long Beach, hosting the best of the best schools and competitors from all around California. 150 schools headed down to CSULB, ready to battle their way to the top. Some students were nervous about this next level of competition, while others were more than excited. With such a large number of competitors all vying for the top spot, the team’s anxiety level increased. However, our speech students remained calm and collected.
Competing in one of the biggest tournaments of the year is a privilege not everyone gets to be a part of. For the seniors who didn’t qualify for State or Nationals, sadly, their speech career is now over. On the other hand underclassmen who did qualify had a chance to learn from their mistakes, and take on next year’s tournaments with more preparation and experience.
During this tournament, it was survival of the fittest, and our Eagles were hungry for a challenge. Though the opposition was fierce, they didn’t give up without a fight. It was an exhausting three days, commuting up and down the 605 freeway from Gabrielino to Long Beach on top of long hours of competition. But that couldn’t stop them from delivering their best speeches while keeping smiles on their faces! Performance after performance was draining and waiting the results was a stressful time. Throughout the weekend, the Eagles fought hard to earn a spot alongside other Semi-Finalists and Finalists.
Each of the 12 speech events at the State Championships featured the 56 of the best in California. After three intense rounds of competition on Saturday, half of the Screamin’ Eagles who qualified for State made it to Semi-Finals for the top 18 in each event Sunday morning! It was a shocking but delightful surprise to find out they would be continuing on in the tournament.
After a trying Semi-Final round, six Eagles advanced to the Final round of seven: Stephanie Rubio, Felicia Tang, Jaycob Wahinehookae, Melanie Hsiang, Andrew Do, and Lauren Hamamoto. At the end of this nerve-wracking round, the Screamin’ Eagles got back on the bus and went six miles down the road to the Marina High School gynmasium for the awards ceremony. Andrew took 7th place in Humor and Stephanie took 4th in Original Advocacy! Our very own freshman Finalist, Melanie, took 4th place in Program Oral Interpretation! Lauren placed 3rd in Expository and Jaycob took 2nd place in Drama! Last but not least, Felicia Tang was named the 2019 Expository State Champion!
This is the fourth year in a row Gabrielino speech has welcomed home a State Champion. Winning Expository Speaking was especially rewarding since this year marks the 10 year anniversary of the Expository 1-2-3-4 finish at the 2009 State Championships. The 2019 Expository Qualifiers placed 1st, 3rd, 10th and 11th. A pretty remarkable accomplishment since none of the four are seniors and will all be back next year.
The record 11 freshmen who qualified for State performed exceptionally well. Geraldine and Alex made the Duo Interpretation Semi-Finals. Kayla was in the Expository Semi-Finals. And Melanie made it all the way to the Finals.
“This is an exceptionally young team, especially the one we qualified for State,” said one of the coaches. “They are talented and excited. They bring a great energy to the team. I think the future is very bright for this program.”
At the end of the Awards Ceremony, Gab Speech placed 6th out of nearly 150 schools. It is the 19th year in a row the team has placed in the top 8 in the State.
Speech at the beach was a fun experience for all who attended and we’re proud of our Screamin’ Eagle’s performances.
Congratulations and well done, Eagles!
photo by Noli Thai
10 Years Since the Expos Quad Sweep
Way way back in 2009, the team didn’t have a website. So, most people didn’t even know the event happened. Sure, everyone knew the team competed at the State Championships. Most know the team had 2 champions. Some knew Vivian Lam won the event, Expository Speaking, “Expos”. What few people were aware is the extremely rare first, second, third, and fourth place finish by the Screamin’ Eagles in Expos (known as Informative Speaking in other parts of the country).
Taking the top four spots was so rare, no one, not even the official state association’s historian, could remember if it had ever happened in 50-year history of the tournament. It certainly hasn’t happened in the past 10 years.
In 2001, a school from Northern California had five students place sixth through second in Dramatic Interpretation, but never the top four places. Interestingly enough, it was the legendary Screamin’ Eagle, Adrian Zaw, who prevented that school from accomplishing the feat when he won the 2001 State Championship in Dramatic Interpretation.
It has been 10 years since those four Screamin’ Eagles made their mark. The tournament was held that year at Culver City High School down by the Los Angeles Airport. Gabrielino Senior, Vivian Lam was the defending State Champion going into the tournament and she dominated the field to retain her title. “V Lam” was joined on stage by fellow seniors, Karen Thai and Aaron Huang. Freshman Connie Wang rounded out the fabulous four.
“Those kids were absolutely amazing,” said one of the team’s officials who was in attendance for the final round competition. “It was pretty obvious they were the class of the round that year.”
It is interesting to note, this year, the team had all seven speakers in the final round in the same event, Expository, at the Southern California Debate League’s State Qualifying Tournament in March at Cal. St. Long Beach. They did it without one of their top performers, junior Felicia Tang, who had already automatically qualified for State -because of her placings at league tournaments earlier in the year. The seven-person close-out had never been accomplished in Expository at the qualifying tournament in the past. Gabrielino took all six of the league’s spots for this year’s California State Championships, which is also being held, this year, at Cal. St. Long Beach. That campus seems to be a lucky place for the “Exposers” this year.
So history, in a sense, has repeated itself already. Time will tell how well they place. However, a few things are for certain: the students will be deliver their best performances and more people will know how well they do this year.
Good Luck Screamin’ Eagles at The State Championships
The Freshman Flock of State Qualifiers
Kayla Makes It Sound Great
By Zoe Perez
As we count down to the 2019 State Championships, we are spotlighting each of our record setting 11 freshmen State Qualifiers in this on going series.
Sweet and lovable Kayla Tran will take on the State Championships tournament with her speech “Talk Tingles To Me”. Participating in Expository, her speech reveals what the world would be like without the science of sound and includes snippets of ASMR as well. She engulfs her audience with the intricate details displayed throughout her speech.
Along the way, Kayla had help from junior Felicia Tang, sophomore Lauren Hamamoto, and sophomore Kelly Ong. They helped her develop her speech and helped her find the uniqueness of it. Kayla mentions, “I struggled a lot in the beginning, but I compensated by having an entertaining speech. Most people in Expository don’t have speeches like mine so I had an advantage.” She goes on to say, “I wasn’t sure how to make it stand out, so I used my intro, and figured out how to make the significance deep.”
photo by Noli Thai
The Freshman Flock of State Qualifiers
Geraldine & Alex Duo Royalty
By Zoe Perez
As we count down to the 2019 State Championships, we are spotlighting each of our record setting 11 freshmen State Qualifiers in this on going series.
These two freshmen participate in Duo Interpretation and will be presenting “King Chemo” by Brian Guehring. The two share the heartwarming but sad story of two kids diagnosed with cancer who use imaginary adventures to cope with the process of chemo therapy.
The duo had help from several upperclassmen. Gabriel Pena and Jaden Raymundo helped develop the duo’s characters. Andrew Do and Noemi Liu gave them ideas for blocking and their fighting scene. Some alumni gave critiques and new ideas to work with as well.
When asked about her feelings towards State, Geraldine replied, “I feel excited. I feel a little anxious but excited at the same time.” Alex summed up his feelings for state in two words: “I’m stressed.” The duo had experienced trouble with building a connection with their characters. However, during State Quals they clicked and performed well. When it comes down to a tournament Geraldine is calm and relaxed, whereas Alex is stressed. Even though the difference in nerves, the two personalities balance each other
The Freshman Flock of State Qualifiers
Bianca Speaks Her Way To State
By Zoe Perez
As we count down to the 2019 State Championships, we are spotlighting each of our record setting 11 freshmen State Qualifiers in this on going series.
Freshman Bianca Kielty will be attending State Championships as well! Entered in Dramatic Interpretation, she will be presenting, “Speak”, the moving speech of a teenage girl who goes to a party and experiences something that will change her life forever. Kielty’s character becomes an outcast with a problem of coming forward to express what happened that night.
Excited, nervous, scared, and stressful! All types of emotions are hitting Kielty before she attends State. It’s a rollercoaster of feelings that she must channel into her speech.
During the preparation of her speech, the most difficult thing that she came across was reading it as a script. Kielty had trouble making her speech flow with authenticity. “It was hard making it seem natural.” Though this problem might’ve been hard to overcome, Bianca was able to master the needed technique and bring life to her speech.
When she finally goes up and performs, Kielty wants her audience to take away the importance of speaking up and not to “be afraid to stand up for yourself.”
Photo by Noli Thai
The Freshman Flock of State Qualifiers
Megan Inspires Her Way To State
By Zoe Perez
Freshman Megan Chan will be performing an Original Interpretation at State called, “Address By the National Teacher of the Year”. Her speech is about a teacher who discusses how our school system singles out those who are different, leaving students all across the country neglected or forgotten.
When asked about going to State, Megan responded, “There are a lot of nerves going around and just the thought of being surrounded by some of the best speakers in the state is also quite overwhelming.” She’s excited to be able to represent Gabrielino in one of the biggest tournaments of the year .
With a huge tournament up ahead, all problems must be solved before someone takes the stage. Megan struggled with a mental outlook on her speech. “More than often, I’m filled with self-doubt about whether I’m doing my speech and the people around me justice,” Megan claims. This mindset greatly interferes with Megan’s performance; however she comes around and always delivers a speech.
Time is going by quickly as the days countdown to State Champs! With every passing minute, Megan’s anxiety escalates. When she finally reaches the stage, she’s hoping to inspire her audience and for them to take her message into the real world.
photo by Noli Thai
The Freshman Flock of State Qualifiers
Peers Get Trisha to State
By Zoe Perez
Trisha Tanaka will be performing in Dramatic Interpretation with the speech “Prissy Thomas” by Sarie Fischer Norval. Trisha explains her speech is a story about a girl’s best friend who unfortunately met her fate when she died in a car accident. Now that her memory is engraved with this traumatic event, she begins to take on her best friend’s mannerisms as a coping mechanism.
While preparing this speech, Trisha had help from her peers in creating believable emotions and actions. Her friends played a impactful role in the making of her speech by giving her critiques and pointing out certain features. According to Trisha, “One of the most difficult things was trying to sound natural, because sometimes it was as if I wasn’t memorized.” She eventually got past this obstacle and ended up being one of the State qualifiers!
photo by Katherine Xie
The Freshman Flock of State Qualifiers
Trust Gets Vincent & Karyme to State
By Zoe Perez
Karyme Pena and Vincent DeMarco will take the stage with their speech “Anna and August”. The Duo will present a beautiful speech about two kids who fall in love at a young age and happen to lose contact when distance comes between them. However, when they reunite in high school they show that true love always lasts.
Some of the hardships that came with this duo were being able to trust each other. Having trust in each other’s blocking was important to animate this story. However, it seems this was the only real issue that came across; Karyme and Vincent got along, as well as with their other teammates. Together, their chemistry was a special element in drawing their audience into the story.
Both students are excited to perform their speech and impress their audience. Karyme is proud of how far they’ve come together. Vincent expresses the same emotion and says, “It’s another chance to go out there and give people a show.” Leading up to state, the two had opposite feelings. Vincent approached State Qualifiers as simply another tournament, while Karyme was feeling incredibly nervous. “This could’ve been my last performance and I just wanted to make everyone proud,” Karyme stated. They both want their audience to feel the love, friendship, innocence, and growth of the two characters. Now that they’ve been selected to perform, the two can’t wait to give it all at the State Championship.
photo by Noli Thai
The Freshman Flock of State Qualifiers
Perseverance Is a Snap For Thien
By Zoe Perez
One of Thien Le’s most important mottos is “to persevere”. After all, his hard work and perseverance throughout the months leading to State kept him going strong. He’ll be presenting his Humorous Interpretation, “Snap”. It is a story about a girl who goes through high school and learns the importance of self confidence from her coach.
When given an opportunity to work on his speech, Thien always took it. During practice, he would ask people around him or his fellow members in “Humor” to watch his speech and give critiques. He asked them to give him ideas or feedback so he could improve his speech each time.
Thien has big emphasis on perseverance, but that doesn’t mean he feels confident all the time. Like most people before a big presentation, he is anxious. “I’m nervous, I’m going against the best of the best in California,” Thien mentions. Nevertheless, he is still excited and ready to perform his speech one last time.
“Hardest thing about being in speech in general is you don’t win a lot,” Thien says. “But you have to improve and persevere; you can’t let one plastic trophy define if you are good or not.”
photo by Katherine Xie
The Freshman Flock of State Qualifiers
Pursuit of Perfection
By Zoe Perez
Melanie Hsiang is participating in Thematic Interpretation which is also known as Program Oral Interpretation. This event revolves around a central theme that often deals with real world concerns. In her speech, Melanie talks about toxic relationships and how the media has managed to mask the truth behind the abuse.
To create a gripping speech, Melanie was aided by her coach who helped her construct her speech and taught her how to be an overall better performer. Jaycob Wahinehookae, senior, also coached Melanie and stood by her the entire way. Because of the support and attention coming from Jaycob, the two bonded and have a closer friendship than ever.
Everyone comes across difficulties while preparing their speech, and sometimes those problems are quite consistent. Melanie struggled to be content with her speech. She wanted it to be “the best it could be.” “The most difficult thing was having to adapt to those changes, sometimes in a short period of time.” Melanie went on to say, “But it’s very rewarding in the end.” When she gets to State, she wants to give her very best performance, as it is her last.
When she was asked about her feelings towards the championship, Melanie said, “I’m so humbled and honored to be given the opportunity to attend such a prestigious tournament such as this one. I’m definitely very excited to be going.” During State Qualifiers, the thing that motivated Melanie was her audience. She was driven to do her best and give her audience an entertaining message that would also impact them greatly. With her influential words, she hopes her audience will take away the importance of being in a healthy relationship, not only with others, but with yourself as well. To sum up the key message, Melanie stated, “Often times, we overlook self-love and self-appreciation in search of validation from others, but I think the most important thing is to respect yourself.”
Photo by Katherine Xie
The Freshman Flock of State Qualifiers
Gabriel Extemps His Way To State
By Zoe Perez
Freshman Gabriel Frank-McPheter competes in National Extemporaneous; an event where he is given a topic related to politics or current events and is given only 30 minutes to prepare a speech. To better prepare him, Extemporaneous Coach Eric Chen spends his hours working to improve Gabriel’s speaking skills and overall performance.
When it comes to the State Championships, Gabriel has an optimistic point of view. Like the other qualifiers, he is beyond excited to compete, however, he also cannot wait to watch and learn from students all across California.
“I genuinely enjoy competing and giving Extemps,” Gabe stated. “I’m also excited to watch other Extempers from across the state! I’ll learn a lot from them.” With his positive mindset, Gabriel is sure to enjoy his time at State Championships.
Although he’s feeling good about State, Gabe still experienced difficulties when in preparation for his speech. His battle with breaking bad habits was not an easy one. “I would always use the same transitional phrases, and I had a bad speaking pattern.” Gabriel goes on to say, “It took a lot of practice to break these habits.” The practicing made perfect, and he is now on the road to one of the biggest tournaments of the year.
When he finally takes the stage, Gabe wants to give his best speech and entertain his audience to the fullest. “I care a lot about what’s going on in the world, and I want my audience to care too,” the happy-go-lucky Extemper says. Gabe can’t wait to show the audience how hard he has been working all year and he plans to give the best rendition of his speech at State!
photo by Noli Thai
Three More Going To Dallas
March Madness is upon us and the East Los Angeles County/Orange County (ELA/OC) District of the National Speech and Debate Association pulled off a great buzzer beater. After constant urging from the Screamin’ Eagles coaching staff, all the schools in the district chipped in to help the league meet the benchmark set by our national governing body just hours before the deadline to add new members. As a result, the ELA/OC district was able to nab a few more qualification spots for the National Championships this coming June in Dallas, Texas.
Up until 2018, the ELA/OC District had met the benchmark the previous competition year, saving everyone the stress and headache of waiting until the last minute. Last year, the Gabrielino coaching staff, who had been in charge of the district since 2000, found a loophole and helped the district hit the mark. The loophole was closed this year and everyone had to hold their breath until the last minute to see if more students would be able to qualify and compete at Nationals.
It was only fitting that the ELA/OC buzzer beater came on the second day of the NCAA March Madness Men’s College Basketball Tournament. Just before the evenings games were to begin, the numbers came in, all the schools had done their best, and luckily, the additional qualifiers were granted.
However, the anticipation was still at an all time high as official verification still had to come from the National Speech and Debate office in Iowa. Late Saturday morning, the Executive Director himself called one of the Gabrielino coaches to deliver the good news. Three Screamin’ Eagles, who were originally the first alternates at the National Qualifying Speech Tournament the weekend before, now get to compete at Nationals.
Since the registration of new members occurred behind the scenes, first alternates to the National competition had to keep their fingers crossed in hopes of a miracle. One team member was especially excited to hear he got a spot.
“I’m [so] excited!” exclaimed senior Gabriel Pena, who learned the news that he and his duo partner, sophomore Bianca Lua, were going to Nationals. “I have always wanted to end my speech career at Nationals. My coaches kept saying, ‘let us worry about it’, but it was always on my mind.”
Pena and Lua will be joined by sophomore Lauren Hamamoto, who will be competing in Informative, also known as Expository.
“I’m really happy but also really scared; it’s the National Championships,” expressed Hamamoto. “I’ve never been before, but so many people on this team have gone before me and done really well, so I know I’ll be prepared and I’ll do my best. It’s just the unknown that is a little scary.”
Hamamoto, Lua, and Pena were not the only students in the ELA/OC district who were granted qualifying spots. Since Gabrielino was not in charge of the district this year, it was important for them to essentially rally the troops. Fortunately, all the schools in the area worked together to ensure that their hardworking students were able to compete in the off-season.
Gabrielino officials stated, “all of the Gab points that could help were already submitted so we were more like cheerleaders on the side hoping those who could, would. We are excited that more students from more schools get the incredible opportunity to compete at Nationals.”
The last minute addition means there will be a total of 19 Screamin’ Eagles competing in Dallas this summer. But before that, the team members will be working hard to prepare for the California State Championships in May at California State University, Long Beach.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles!!!!
2 More Qualify for Nationals in Congress
By Zoe Perez
It is always good to try new things, and a few of our speech students did just that. Those who wanted to try a different form of
speech signed up to go to the Congressional Debate tournament on Mar. 23. It was hosted at Arroyo High School in the East Los Angeles district. The students who chose to go and expose themselves to this new environment were all sophomores.
None of them had ever participated in a Congressional Debate tournament before, and although the Congress dynamic was different to what these students were used to, that did not stop them from succeeding. In fact, sophomore Sharon Liu, ended up winning first place, qualifying her to the National tournament in Dallas.
Along with Liu, junior Samuel Villescas qualified as well, which takes the number of Screamin’ Eagles attending Nationals from 14 to 16. We’re proud of our Eagles and cannot wait to see what these talented 16 have to offer at Nationals!
photo by Stephanie Rubio
14 Going To Dallas
By Zoe Perez
Earlier this month, the Screamin’ Eagles took home a win at the East LA National Qualifying Tournament. After weeks of practice and hard work, our Eagles took flight and performed exceptionally well. Although it was a sunny day, our Eagles had no time to sit back and relax. They needed to keep themselves focused on qualifying for the National Championships in Dallas, Texas!
Gabrielino hosted the preliminary rounds on Friday night. Arroyo High hosted the next day for the second half. It was a long and stressful tournament, but our Eagles persisted and pushed all the way through. 29 Eagles were sent to compete against the best of the best of East Los Angeles County and Orange County District.
“I was nervous because you work really hard throughout the year to get to this tournament and you get all or nothing out of it,” shared junior Felicia Tang. “There are only two qualification spots for Expos and I genuinely believe that everyone who went to Nat Quals deserved to qualify, so it was a nerve wrecking tournament.”
Eleven schools coming from East Los Angeles and Orange Counties attempted to secure the two qualifying spots in each of the 8 speech events, however, our Eagles soared above the other competitors. Out of the 16 qualification spots, Gabrielino ended the tournament with 14 students that will be attending the national tournament.
The Screamin’ Eagles won the tournament for the 13th time. Team Co-Captain, senior Stephanie Rubio proclaimed, “I’m so proud of everyone.”
Despite the amazing results, the end of National Qualifications Tournament was a bittersweet moment. For the 14 qualifiers, they will be diligently practicing for the rest of the school year in preparation for the tournament. However, for some of the others, this was the last big event of their speech career. Time goes by fast, and as the year comes to a close, every minute is valued before it ends. After the long weekend, senior Noli Thai stated that “it was a fulfilling way to end my senior year.”
In June, our fourteen qualifiers will embark on a journey to The National Speech and Debate Championships, the largest academic competition on the world, in Dallas, Texas. With the incredible scores obtained at this tournament, we could not be more proud of our Eagles!
Freshmen Help Earn 22nd Straight League Championship
By Zoe Perez
The Southern California Debate League’s League Championships/State Qualifying Tournament highlighted the first weekend in March. Twenty-one schools, including Gabrielino, came to California State University Long Beach to compete for spots in the 2019 California Speech and Debate State Championships.
In the pouring rain, our students tried their best to place high enough to qualify. Despite the weather, our Eagles still flew through the rain and soared!
The Screamin’ Eagles have been preparing for this tournament for the past several months. In this competition, there are four to six spots available for state qualifications depending on which event the students are competing in. The student who wins first place gets the title of League Champion in that event. This year, our speech students won four out of the twelve events! For the first time in league history, the seven finalist positions in the Expository event from the same school, Gabrielino. We couldn’t be more proud of our Exposers!
Speaking of breaking records, Gabrielino ended the day with thirty-one state qualifiers. Out of those talented thirty-one students who are headed to State, are twelve talented freshmen! It’s a big accomplishment for our underclassmen! Besides our amazing state qualifiers, we also had seventy-one semi finalists and thirty-three finalists.
This year, GHS had only ten seniors competing, compared to the 50 seniors the previous year. The Class of 2019 has been small throughout their high school careers. They were part of the first class coming into Gabrielino with decreased space in their schedule for elective classes such as Speech and Debate. Senior co-captain Stephanie Rubio said, “this year we were really underestimated but we still showed up and gave it all we had. Seeing all the kids walk out of their rounds proud of their performances showed how our hard work paid off and is what makes State Quals so special”
As a result of the small senior class, the league championships this year had more Screamin’ Eagle freshmen qualify for state than seniors competing! It goes to show Gabrielino’s speech team is growing every year.
Senior co-captain Jaycob Wahinehookae, who had already qualified for State because of his year-long successes, said, “I felt so happy to see the kids I watched all year long give it their all at State Quals. It warmed my heart seeing how much they’ve grown from the beginning of the year and their drive to qualify to the State Championships.”
We are proud of our underclassmen and all the potential they have yet to develop. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for our team and what our bright students will bring on at the California State Championships in May and in the coming years.
After a long day of pouring rain and the Awards Ceremony, the 110 Gab students who were a part of the State Quals Team gathered in an adjoining lecture hall to celebrate their 22nd straight Southern California Debate League Championship trophy with a picture.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles!!!
Photos courtesy of Katherine Xie
A First For Spring Novice
By Zoe Perez
There’s always a first for everything! Our Gabrielino Eagles as well as nineteen other schools made their way down to Millikan High School in Long Beach for the first time to participate in The Southern California Debate League’s Spring Novice Tournament.
Given the new setting our Eagles were placed in, they were able to adapt and perform just as well as if they were in a home environment. “We are super proud of all of our novices and junior varsities because they were all super energized despite how early they had to get up,” stated varsity Noli Thai, senior.
The entire layout of the tournament was also new as the judge’s room and the scoring room were placed across campus from each other. This made it harder than usual for the team to run ballots quickly. That was not the only challenge the ballot runners faced. Some of the rooms flooded midway through the day, creating more problems for those organizing the tournament behind the scenes.
Sophomore Eric Zhang mentions, “There was a lot of sweat. I wore two jackets and for the first half of the A pattern [events] I was sweating.” Due to his hard work and speedy efforts as a ballot delivery runner, he has earned the nickname ‘Amazon Prime’. Running back and forth from each room was a bit of a hassle, but our Eagles made the best of it. The Screamin’ Eagles ended the day with twenty-six trophies; well over half of the forty awards handed out.
This year, Spring Novice was one of the fastest tournaments the team has been to all season. After the quick but exhausting day, students were able to head home before 4 p.m.
However, a little mix-up with the Eagle’s transportation caused a little chaos for the team. The three buses that the team had, took three separate routes. Junior Felicia Tang shared her experience stating, “My bus wasn’t able to exit because there was an accident, so our initial route took us an extra forty-five minutes, which wasn’t fun at all.”
The team was separated and students arrived back at Gabrielino at different times. Despite the confusion, the Eagles were able to make the most of the competition and had a successful day. Keep up the amazing work Screamin’ Eagles!
Photos by Katherine Xie
Storming Spring Varsity
By Zoe Perez
It was raining, it was pouring, but our Eagles were soaring! Sheltered by Arcadia High School’s cafeteria, the Screamin’ Eagles began their day in a frantic effort to stay dry before the first round of Spring Varsity. As the day went on, cats and dogs continued to fall unforgivingly from the sky, but our Eagles fought through!
Memories were made, lessons were learned, and suits were soaked. Sophomore Eunice Kay says, “It was a wild ride. The wind was blowing really hard and the rain was pouring. I didn’t have an umbrella so that made everything a little more difficult.” Despite the weather, Spring Varsity turned out to be a success! A little rain wasn’t able to hold our students back. Eighteen schools were present at the tournament; all competing against our Eagles to try and take the win, but once again, our bright students took Spring Varsity by storm.
After a stressful week of nonstop practice, the Screamin’ Eagles had 95 Semi-Finalists, 43 Finalists, six champions and won the tournament for the 20th straight year earning well over 200 points.
Four of our potential 12 students that had the first “leg” went on to qualify for State Championships. Juniors Felicia, Jaden, and Khin along with Senior Jaycob all placed in the top two of their event and thus earned the second “leg” necessary to become an automatic qualifier for State.
Hard work and focus really does pay off! As Spring Novice and the State and National Qualifying tournaments quickly approach, the Screamin’ Eagles are working harder than ever at practice.
We couldn’t be more proud of our Eagles, and we can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us!
photos by Katherine Xie
Legs Get Excited About Spring Varsity
By Zoe Perez
The Southern California Debate League’s State Qualifier isn’t until next month so speech students are relaxed, and fixing their speeches here and there as they slowly prepare for the big event. However, the twelve Eagles who earned a leg at Fall Varsity have a different mindset. This weekend is a big deal for them. After earning their first leg, they have a huge opportunity to automatically qualify for the State Championships. Legs are earned by placing 1st or 2nd at Fall Varsity, to automatically qualify students need 2 legs. There has been nothing but hard work and dedication from these students who must perfect everything and win over the judges one more time. If their second leg is earned, the students’ diligent work will most definitely pay off. If not, they must focus even more to make sure they secure one of the five spots available at the tournament for the league.
While preparing themselves, discipline is key. Critiques and feedback are critical this week. The character development in HI’s or the convincing tones in OI’s must be taken seriously. Now is not the time to go wild and try or add new, drastic changes to their speeches. Not only are our Eagles working on the persuasion of their speeches, but also finishing within the time limit. Whether they’re big issues or small flaws, they must be resolved in the best way possible. With the help of their peers, our Eagles will make the best out of what they have.
With all the stress that’s been placed upon these students, it doesn’t quite help that Gabrielino decided to try out a new school schedule this week. After working hard on coming up with an efficient schedule, they decided to perform a trial week of block schedule. Every day possesses different classes, which affects the amount of homework that speech students’ have. Nevertheless, we believe our students will pull through the confusion, and balance everything that has been put on their plate.
After giving their all, we are hopeful that all twelve students will earn the crucial second leg and automatically qualify. There is definitely a lot of pressure present, but we know our Eagles will make us proud!
photos by Noli Thai
Logan Leaves Lasting Memories
For the first decade of the program, the Screamin’ Eagles journeyed up The 5 Freeway to Oakland for the James Logan High School National Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament. And in that first decade, it always seemed to rain. The green hillsides, visible through the large charter bus windows, were green and the rest stops were wet or covered in snow. And every January, for the first decade, team members wore trench coats on top of their suits and carried umbrellas and expos cases from classroom to classroom - the walkways were wet and the trek was a challenge.
Conversely, in the past few years, it has been dry. Sometimes there was a threat of rain, sometimes there was none. But the rain never fell and the tournament came and went without any moisture beyond the morning dew that covered the bay area in the middle of winter.
This winter, however, has offered above average rainfall and the drive up the interstate connecting California from North to South was reminiscent of the nostalgic lush, green scenery that befell the students from decades before.
Luckily, the rain was light during the drive up the 5-freeway allowing the students to enjoy the roadside tourist spot, Casa De Fruita, like so many students before them.
When the 50 GHS speakers exited the bus at school on Saturday morning to begin their two long days of competition – the rain fell. But that would not dampen the energy or spirit of the Screamin’ Eagles. They boarded the bus 370 miles ago with one purpose and one job – to deliver their message through their speeches.
The 2019 James Logan Tournament hosted nearly 100 schools. 10 of those schools are National Speech School of Excellence Award recipients – an award given only to the very best programs in America. It was evident The Screamin’ Eagles were in for a storm of competition.
After enduring 12 long hours of performances in the biting cold and wet Northern California winter– 9 speeches later – the students ended the first day of competition excited that 37 would be competing in the quarter-finals Sunday morning.
With only 7 seniors and 25 freshman and sophomores on the trip, our young team’s success is remarkable – given most of the students had never been to a tournament of this magnitude.
Regardless of their youth and experience, the speakers knew they needed to bring their best if they were to continue their march through the tournament. By late Sunday morning, 14 students broke to the Semi-Final round. By noon, 8 students advanced to the finals with the junior duo Jaden and Khin having the privilege of representing the team on stage at the James Logan Performing Arts Complex in front of nearly 400 spectators.
Nearing the end of the tournament, the team made their annual stroll down the street to a nearby shopping plaza to enjoy their dinner before a long bus ride home to San Gabriel. To bid farewell to the team, the bay area unleashed the biggest downpour of the weekend on our students.
Despite the weather, the team placed 5th overall in the tournament. Sophomore sensation Sharron took 7th in U.S. Extemp. Placing 6th in Duo was the Duo of Jaden and Khin, juniors. Gabriel placed 6th in Humorous Interpretation followed by Freshman Phenom Melanie in 6th place for POI/Thematic. Jaycob was 3rd in Dramatic Interpretation and junior Felicia got 2nd in Informative. Winning the tournament in Original Oratory was junior Jaden.
On the way home, rain fell on top the dimly lit bus as the students listened to the reading of the scores. Halfway through the drive, some students finally rested on their pillows, while some students enjoyed the movies. The moon was in full sight welcoming The Screamin’ Eagles back to their nest as the bus arrived late Sunday night in San Gabriel.
The rain came and went but the memories and success remain. While the storms will water and help the hillsides of the 5-Freeway to bloom and grow, the tournament will do the same for our students. The Screamin’ Eagles will blossom and grow into more passionate, more talented, and more successful speakers for the future.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles!
photos by Katherine Xie and friends
Fall Varsity Brings Christmas Legs
By Zoe Perez
Winter Break and the holidays were right around the corner but speech and debate students were spending their time practicing for Fall Varsity. This time, our Eagles won’t have the comfort of being home because Fall Varsity is the first league tournament of the year that is taking place at a different location, Schurr High School. Despite the preparation for their upcoming tournament, competitors still felt the Christmas spirit drawing near and were eager to finish their final meet before break.
When the phrase “break a leg” is told to someone, it is usually to convey good luck, however, breaking a leg is usually not something competitors want to do at a tournament. Fall Varsity, and the Spring Varsity tournament in February, are chances to earn legs to the State Championships. One leg is earned by receiving first or second place in one of the 12 different events. After earning two legs, a competitor automatically qualifies for The State Championships tournament in May. This tournament was not just an opportunity for these students to showcase what they have worked on all season, but it was also a chance for them to prove that they deserve their place at the State Championships.
As students made their way over to Schurr on competition morning, some brought with them blankets and extra jackets. The competitors could not help but feel a little chilly. However, the eagles huddled together and surrounded themselves by their fellow teammates, giving themselves the warmth they needed to feel good before their speeches.
Most of the Eagles compete in two events, giving them two chances to speak and two chances to earn a leg for their events. From a character-filled performance to an inspirational public address, competitors were rushing around Schurr to make it to their rounds to impress their judges.
Along with Gabrielino, nineteen other schools headed over to Schurr in an attempt to take the Screamin’ Eagles’ series of wins away from them and claim legs for themselves. However, after putting their all into their speeches, the spirit of giving reached the judges as they awarded Gabrielino with a sweet win at Fall Varsity meet for the 20th time in a row and 10 of the 24 leg positions. Since 1999, Gabrielino has upheld its ongoing Fall Varsity winning streak and in the years to come, they hope to maintain this series of wins up and ongoing.
After a long day, the Eagles head back home with another victory and ready to enjoy their upcoming winter break. As they continue to move on to Spring Varsity, they are determined to take a second leg!
The Future Looks Bright At Fall Novice
By Zoe Perez
As the fall season was coming to an end, Fall Novice was only the beginning as it was a chance for novices to participate their first tournament without varsity competitors. This event was the third tournament hosted at Gabrielino High School after Icebreaker and The Screamin’ Eagles Invitational. After multiple practices and critiques, speeches were perfected and were ready to be presented. It was the novice kids’ first chance to perform their speeches thoroughly and they did amazing.
Thanks the help of the varsities, novices were proud to present their hard work. Varsities worked frivolously this year to develop the novices’ understanding of their speeches and deliver them in the best way possible.
“We’ve been helping out the novices for the past couple months and we were really excited to see their work pay off,” explains junior Felicia Tang. “It’s a privilege to see these kids develop and understand their messages and be able to speak out on something that is important to them.”
Since varsities were not competing, they were able to give immediate feedback, critiques, and advice to the novices in between each round. If they were not judging, observing, or helping the novices, varsities were running the judges’ table and managing the concession stand.
These underclassmen have come a long way from when they first started the school year in August, and the improvement shows.
Captain Stephanie Rubio, senior, mentions, “Seeing them compete against other schools made me realize how much they improved which couldn’t have made me prouder.”
The passion, effort, and dedication in these students drew out the talent in them and it is undeniable that they will keep improving in the coming years. The competition day ended with the Screamin’ Eagles winning over half of the awards, proving that the future of the team is bright with these young team members.
photos by Katherine Xie
GAB GAB GAB 2.0
By Zoe Perez
On Saturday Oct. 20, speech members gathered at Gabrielino High School to participate in the Screamin’ Eagles Invitational, more commonly known as, Gab Gab Gab. Eleven schools made their way over to Gabrielino, some from as far as West LA and Orange County. Over 500 students presented their speeches at the tournament, including 155 of our own Eagles. Three of the top five teams in the southern half of California were on the GHS campus for the meet..
Previously, the Screamin’ Eagles attended the Jack Howe Invitational at Cal State Long Beach. Its removal from Gabrielino’s competition schedule led to the creation of Gab Gab Gab. Since the trial run last year, the number of schools attending and entries nearly doubled.
If there’s one thing our speech team has trouble with, it’s finding the competition rooms. Kids were running all over campus trying to find their event rooms. It didn’t help that our campus grew this past year. Over the summer of 2018, construction workers were finally able to complete our newest addition to the Gabrielino campus: the F building. Since such a large amount of kids came to participate, we were given the opportunity to use science rooms for the first time ever. Despite some confusion, our Eagles and their fellow competitors were able to find the rooms in the nick of time.
To help the tournament run smoothly, the parents of the speech and debate students contribute their afternoon to volunteer. The concession stand was completely run by parents, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their help. It was a complete success and we couldn’t have done it without them!
“I came in very prepared, eager to perform, and excited to see others perform,” stated HI event leader, David Campos, junior. Campos goes on to say, “As an event leader, I felt like the event did really well but there is always room for improvement.”
This year at Gab Gab Gab, we won almost half of the twenty-two events. Our Eagles did a great job at the second annual Screamin’ Eagles Invitational, signaling the start to a phenomenal competition season.
photos by Katherine Xie
Speech Season Kicks Off With The Icebreaker
The 25th edition of the Gabrielino Speech & Debate Team began their year in the very same classrooms they study in all week long as the Screamin’ Eagles kicked off their season at the Icebreaker Speech and Debate Tournament at GHS.
This kick off tournament was created in year four of the program (in the late 1900s) and has been held every year since at Gabrielino. The idea is to pair seasoned veterans with the newcomers in the program to spend the day guiding them and building unity amongst the team members. This year’s Icebreaker featured nine high schools and over 500 students from around the area; 150 of which were from Gabrielino.
“This tournament is really about the novice students,” senior Co-Captain K.P commented. “They can get so confused. I’m really glad we have this to help them out.”
For the fourth year in a row, the Screamin’ Eagles celebrated National Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19th) by using the holiday as a theme for the event. At this year’s tournament, the team added two pirate back drops so students could pose for pictures as mementos of their day.
Senior Co-Captain J.W. commented, “it felt good hearing how excited all our new students were.”
After four rounds of competition and over 20 judge scores, there was a 3-way tie for first place, a first for the tournament. Both Gab teams lost the tie-breaker and took home second and third place.
Junior Lidskin said of the close finish, “it just shows we have a lot of potential, but it wasn’t that good of a day for us.” In total, six team members were awarded one of the pirate themed awards.
The 2018 Icebreaker was a fantastic and fun experience to kick off year 25 for the Screamin’ Eagles. The seniors and the debaters now turn their attention to the large CSU Long Beach Invitational.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles
Banquet Ends 2017-18 Speech Season in Style
The school year concluded three weeks earlier, but the Screamin’ Eagles waited until after the National Championships to officially close the year at their annual Awards Banquet.
Former Team Captain Mathias Nakatsui famously said back in 2001, “you don’t really graduate until you’re done with the Speech Banquet.”
Almost 200 team members, parents and coaches spent the entire evening dining, celebrating successes, remembering their speech experiences and presenting awards to the competitors, parents and assistant coaches.
The 28 students attending the State Championships and 17 members of the Ft. Lauderdale Nationals Team were presented awards from the California High School Speech Association and the National Speech and Debate Association. Almost 50 team members were awarded the Varsity G letter for attending 11 tournaments throughout the year, qualifying for a varsity final round at some point in the 2017-2018 season and making the 2018 League Championship team.
Each of the nearly 30 seniors in attendance were recognized by underclassmen and presented with a fun tongue-in-cheek representation of their individual speech careers.
The highlight of the night was the nearly 45-minute year-in-review video compiled by sophomores Kett, Lin and Brendon. Students got to film little vignettes about their events to go along with the videos and photos taken throughout the year and see it all on the huge movie-sized screen in the gymnasium of the San Gabriel Christian Church.
Key awards were presented to students who were voted and/or nominated by their teammates or coaches. The team members voted freshman Eric as Rookie of the Year and senior Leon Tran as the Most Outstanding Speaker.
The coaches voted seniors Jannelle Dang and Kaylin Tran winners of the David Nguyen Psycho Work Award; named after one of the historically hardest working Screamin’ Eagles who graduated in 2000. Freshman Bianca was the recipient of emotional Rode Panginda Memorial Award in remembrance of a team member who tragically lost her life in an accident at a family gathering 11 years ago.
Over 40 students were nominated by their peers for the Top Eagle Award for the spirit of the team. Senior Richelle Chow was chosen from that group of nominees to receive the award.
Senior Captains Richelle Chow, Angelina Liang and Josh Raymundo presented the Assistant Coaches and Officers of the Screamin’ Eagles’ Parent Booster Organization with gifts and tokens of their appreciation.
After all the awards were given out, the team members took one last opportunity to take pictures in their respective events, with the graduating seniors and their coaches and parents.
After a long and successful season, the banquet was an elegant and wonderful way to close the book on the 2017-18 speech and debate year.
Florida Nats 2018: G.H.S.-Gators, Humidity, Speech
“If you miss the exit on the interstate, you’ll be stuck in the Everglades.” Wow. How does anyone digest that? This year’s Screamin’ Eagles’ National Qualifiers had to travel to six different locations throughout the Greater Ft. Lauderdale area for the week and avoid getting lost in the alligator infested Everglades in order to compete at the 2018 National Speech and Debate Association’s National Championships.
Much like Southern California schools, the competition venues lacked interior hallways to connect the buildings. Thus, the daily Florida downpours created challenges to students running between classrooms in suits, dresses, and high heels. It was helpful, yet a bad omen, that each judge and competitor was given a complementary umbrella at registration.
After several days of playing large-scale musical chairs with our six venues and three vans, the team had only four of their 15 entries advance to the Octofinals (the top 60 of the almost 250 entries from around the country who qualified for the tournament). The Screamin’ Eagles haven’t seen results this dismal in over a decade. “Wichita in 2007 was pretty bad. This seems right up, or down, there with that one,” said a team official. Over the past 20 years, the team breaks, on average, well over 50% of its entries to at least the top 60.
Just like Kansas a decade ago, the team placed an Extemper in the Quarterfinals and had a Semi-Finalist in U.S. Extemp. Leon Tran, the 2018 California State Champion, joined the ranks of so many Extemp Semi-Finalists and Finalists of the past but came up just short of becoming the program’s fourth Extemp Finalist in the past eight years. It was, however the 12th year in a row, Gabrielino Speech and Debate has had someone in the National Semi-Finals. Leon was GHS’ 38th National Semi-Finalist.
Most teams in America are ecstatic to even qualify for the National Championships (the largest academic competition in the world) but for the Screamin’ Eagles, their expectations are to remain with the elite programs in the country.
Gabrielino did manage to be named one of the 20 National Speech Programs of Excellence for the 11th year in a row. “That is always the test of our program,” according to one of the coaches. “We barely made it, but a win is a win. And again, this year, we proved that Gabrielino is one of the very best programs in all of America. To do this and be at this level for over a decade, in spite of all the things that consistently hit us and hinder our program, in spite of the challenges we face and obstacles we overcome, is a testament to all the people who are a part of this team: the students, coaching staff and parents”. And again this year, they were the top team from the Southern California Debate League.
“Nothing more could have been asked of the students,” one coach said. “They did absolutely everything that was asked and expected of them. They were outstanding performers and citizens of Gabrielino. Our (the coaching staff’s) predictions are usually really close to the actual outcomes as far as how far students will advance. This year, we were way off…well, other than Leon…but he is a no brainer. He’s really good. I think some challenges the school endured this year required too much of our attention and energy and we were taken away from actually coaching the students.”
One of the students pointed to gecko on the sidewalk outside of the team’s hotel and said, “look it’s a baby alligator.” That was kind of an indicator of how little the Screamin’ Eagles knew about Southern Florida. After 10 days, the team was happy to have avoided the Everglades and as they boarded the plane to come home said, “see you later alligator…after while crocodile” and returned to California just in time for many of the National Qualifiers to celebrate their arrival in the real sunshine state.
State Champion to National Semi-Finalist to Stanford Student
State Champion. Once you get that title, you would think you should stop. What a great way to end a career. Obviously, there is a legacy to being the team’s first State Champion in an event. Nope. That’s not the Screamin’ Eagle Way. It is not about trophies. It is not about championships. The awards and accolades will fade, but the passion to constantly improve stays with team members long after they leave Gabrielino.
This philosophy embodies senior Leon Tran. Less than two months removed from being crowned State Champion in U.S. Extemp for California, the recent and Stanford bound graduate traveled with his team to hot and humid Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for the 2018 National Speech and Debate Association’s National Championships.
All 500 or so students in both U.S. and International Extemp drew their speaking topics and spent 30 minutes of preparation in the gym at Cypress Bay High School. Close to their speaking time, students had to trek across campus and through the parking lot to the middle school next door to perform their speeches for the judges.
After racking up impressive scores in the first six rounds of competition over a day and half, Leon saw his speaker number listed among the top 60 competitors on a large poster indicating he would advance to the Octofinal round 7 and 8.
Leon endured the brutal Florida afternoon heat and gave two more remarkable speeches. Upon the conclusion of round eight, the team headed back to the hotel to change before going out for a rare team dinner.
Leon learned from one of his teammates that he was one of the 30 qualifiers for the National Quarter-Finals, which meant his speech career included at least two more rounds and one more day of competition.
The Quarters were even more competitive than the previous rounds, and rightfully so. These were the top students in all of America. Leon talked about the U.S. Energy policy and the direction it should take in the future. He delivered both speeches with the grace and poise he had spent the last four years developing.
Just after the sun hit its highest point in the Florida sky, the banner stretching nearly two stories was unveiled, listing the 14 students who advanced to the National Semi-Finals. Leon stood in the Extemp Prep room as he watched the banner unroll and saw the competitor numbers listed. Sure enough, his Screamin’ Eagle attitude put his digits on the hallowed paper.
As the sun set on the last day of spring, Leon learned it would also be his last day of competitive high school speech. He would not be speaking on the final round stage, but instead he, and the other non-advancing semi-finalists would be invited on the stage to receive their individual trophies.
State Champion and a National Semi-Finalist. Those are two terms that will always be associated with the legacy that is Leon. Congrats!!!! Awesome job, awesome career.
Academic Close-Out for Screamin’ Eagles
By Andrea Chu
In speech and debate competition, if a school wins both first and second place in an event, it is called, “a close-out”. The Screamin’ Eagles are proud to announce a close-out in Gabrielino’s Senior Class of 2018 because team members Bianca Lee and Leon Tran have been named the Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively, for this year.
Both seniors are 4-year speech and debate members. Bianca, our 2018 Valedictorian, competes in Expository and Oratorical Interpretation. She was a named All-State in Oratorical Interp. at the 2017 California State Speech Championships last year at Arcadia High School.
Leon our Salutatorian, competes in U.S. Extemp and Impromptu. He is a National Academic All American Scholar and the 2018 State Champion in U.S. Extemp--the first State Champion the team has had in that event. Leon will be traveling to the National Speech and Debate Championships this summer in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
In an article by Angelina Liang, in the Tongva Times, the factors taken into consideration for the positions are students’ grade point average, rigor of classes, number of core classes, leadership, and the volunteer/community service.
Bianca will be attending the University of California, Berkeley, in the fall as a pre-Haas business major. Leon will be attending Stanford University as a computer science major.
Best of luck to Gabrielino’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian in their future endeavors!
13 Seniors Named Academic All-Americans
By Elizabeth Campos
On Thursday, May 31, the annual Gabrielino Senior Awards Night was held to honor students’ academic achievements throughout their high school careers, and 13 of the Screamin’ Eagles Speech and Debate team students were recognized as National Speech and Debate Association Academic All Americans.
To achieve the title of an Academic All American student, one has to complete five semesters of high school, earned a grade point average (GPA) of 3.7, or a 3.5 GPA with a minimum ACT score of 27 or an SAT score of 1300, and attain at least 750 National Speech and Debate Association (NSAD) points in competition. The NSDA is the second largest honor society in the United States next to the National Honor Society (NHS).
Speech & Debate members Annabelle, Janelle, Michael, Ethan, Jason, Kaylin, Leon, Wendy (not pictured), Stanley (not pictured) and Meng including team captains Angelina, Josh, and Richelle were honored at the banquet with cords for their achievements. The students will proudly wear their cords at graduation to display their academic successes.
“It feels exciting to be recognized. It’s rewarding for not only the hard work and dedication we put into Speech and Debate, but our academic success at school,” stated Captain Richelle, senior. “I’m proud of my other teammates as well and that we were able to do this together.”
Students not only have to meet the requirements of the academic aspect of the award, but also have to demonstrate outstanding character and leadership. By attending multiple practices after school, actively competing in tournaments, and helping not only themselves but others gain better performing skills, 13 members of the Screamin’ Eagles Speech Team have demonstrated this, all while achieving academic success in their other classes.
“It’s not something that you try for, it’s something that just happens. I work very hard for success in speech and to maintain my grades. I make sure to equally give attention to what I’m doing, so I can gain the most from both,” stated Senior Original Pose and Poetry Leader Annabelle
The team is proud of the work our seniors have achieved, and we wish them luck as they embark on their college journeys.
Screamin’ Eagle Scouts
By Annie Phun
Hard-working. Community-Driven. Resourceful.
These are the characteristics often associated with an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). This year, Gabrielino Speech and Debate members Felipe Acosta, Rodin Batcheller, Joshua Raymundo, Ethan Tan, and Matthew Wong were awarded the title.
The Boy Scout program administers advancements through seven ranks: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. The first four ranks are designed to teach a Scout how to participate in groups and learn self-reliance while developing the citizenship and ideals of the Scout program. The last three ranks are centered on leadership skills and community service.
Requirements for each rank increase in difficulty, beginning with tying knots and showing Scout Spirit, to eventually serving positions of responsibility and completing a set number of community service hours. Each advancement requires the Scout to undergo a Scoutmaster conference, where the Scout shows how they have grown, and pass a board of review where a committee gives the final approval for the advancement.
Eagle Scout is an honor given to less than four percent of all Boy Scouts. In order to achieve it, Life Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges, be active in a troop for at least six months since achieving Life status, receive seven recommendations, and organize and complete their own service project.
“Becoming an Eagle showcases an accumulation of years’ worth of community service and leadership,” explained Joshua. “It makes me more confident in my ability to affect people positively because if I can put together a project and gather all the materials, costs, and people by myself, then I can help the community.”
Josh’s Eagle project consisted of fixing the staircase in Arcadia Wilderness park. He spent four months fundraising and working in order to complete the task.
“Achieving Eagle rank showed me that all the hard work I did actually paid off,” stated Ethan. “I’ve grown as a leader, but I’ve also learned how to execute an actual task well.”
The seniors this year have set the standards for other Scouts in Gabrielino to follow. Felipe, Rodin, Joshua, Ethan, and Matthew will all leave Gabrielino knowing that they have left a legacy behind.
Novice Champs Worth the Wait
By Annie Phun
A whole year to prepare. The first year Screamin’ Eagles waited all year for their day. The novices performed their speeches at the Southern California Debate League Novice Championship tournament on May 12.
As the tournament was strictly for novices, varsity members were barred from performing. Instead, they ensured that the novices on the team were prepared by regularly practicing with them each week and spectated them during rounds of the tournament in order to give moral support.
“When coaching novices the number one thing I told them was to enjoy performing above all else,” stated junior Stephanie, a varsity member. “They often don’t realize how powerful their voices are, so [the varsity members and I] always preach to them: ´Give a voice to the voiceless.’”
Grateful for the support, novices dedicated their performances to the varsities who helped them. Many described this experience as tough because it was the final meet of the year but also stated that the competition was fun and rewarding.
Memorizing my speech was really hard, but someone once told me that in the end, the payoff would be worth it,” stated Halle, freshman. “Keeping this in mind, I was able to do my best in my rounds.” Halle placed first in both Expository Speaking and Oratorical Interpretation. She dedicated her performances to senior OI event leaders Kaylin and Joshua and senior captain Angelina.
The novices have now graduated to junior varsity status as the tournament closed out the school year.
Although wrought with nerves, they put forth their best efforts, receiving a glimmer of what their time in Speech and Debate will consist of next year. After the three preliminary rounds concluded, 54 novices qualified for final rounds and seven were named champions of their event. The Screamin´ Eagles won the tournament for the 21st year in a row.
Since all the rounds ran at the same time, the tournament concluded at 4 p.m. A whole year to prepare and an entire evening to celebrate a successful tournament.
Go Screamin’ Eagles
Joshy Goes in World Debate!
By Sarah Tang
Senior Joshua, one of the captains of the Gabrielino Speech and Debate team, is going to the National Speech and Debate Tournament this June in World Debate. Hand-picked by the head coach to represent GHS, Joshua or as the team calls him, Joshy, is the 17th and final member of the team the Screamin’ Eagles will send to the National Championships in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
The World Debate Team is comprised two teams of five students from schools in the East LA County/Orange County District of the National Speech and Debate Association. This is the fourth year in a row Gabrielino has been represented on the teams.
Josh has proved to his teammates he is both an admirable leader and a tireless worker. sophomore Brandon states that he admires both Josh’s “dedication” and “hard work.” Senior and fellow debater, Ethan, also describes as a, “very hard worker and a devoted learner. He likes to take notes and ask a lot of questions. I admire him a lot for what he does.”
As Joshua ends his high school speech career this summer in Fort Lauderdale with his 16 other teammates in Florida, we know he will continue to impress.
Good luck Joshy!
Andy makes 16
By Andrea Chu
Senior Andy, also known as Schmandy, is known for his iconic phrase: Let us embark on a journey. He will soon be embarking on a journey of his own, where he will be recognized nationwide as a competitor in the National High School Speech and Debate Championships.
After a student from another school dropped the tournament, Andy was bumped up and will be competing at Nationals in Congressional Debate this June in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Representative” Andy will be the 16th member of the Screamin’ Eagles team to be heading to the National Championships.
Commenting on Andy’s success, teammate Ethan said Andy is a, “diligent worker, hardworking leader, and great researcher.” In Congressional Debate, Andy will be researching 25 different topics and preparing arguments for and against each topic. With the help of his teammates and friends, the road to Fort Lauderdale will be paved with hard work and diligence. Joining 15 of his friends and teammates, Andy will be competing with the top congressional debaters in the nation.
Best of luck
Loss in the Middle of Nowhere
Where is Mountain House? Not, “good luck.” Not, “have a good trip.” Where is Mountain House? It was the number one question the Screamin’ Eagles received before departing on a four day trip to the State Championships in Northern California.
There are no hotels in the city. There is, however, a lot of traffic on the nearby freeway leading commuters into the Bay area some 60 miles away. The town also has a high school; appropriately named Mountain House High School. The beautiful four-year old site hosted the 61st annual California High School Speech and Debate Championships.
The freeway carries so many vehicles daily it has quickly fallen apart. Unfortunately, for the Screamin’ Eagles, construction crews closed the road down to one lane for each of the nights the team traveled from the school back to the hotel. The 11-mile trek lasted almost an hour. It made the normally long, grueling days of competition all the more tiring and draining.
The road from the Interstate to the school looked more like a zoo than a speech tournament. In the front yards of the homes stood horses and llamas. Or maybe they were alpacas. It’s hard to tell the difference driving by at 50 miles an hour. There were probably other furry creatures lurking behind the barns and bushes surrounding the old dwellings. No one was sure if they were traveling to a speech tournament or the Coachella Music Festival. Both are located in the middle of nowhere.
After a very odd state qualifying tournament, the Screamin’ Eagles found themselves with the smallest group of State Qualifiers they have had since 2001. Statistics over the past 21 years show the team scores over 30% fewer points, on average, at the State Championships, when the tournament is held in the northern half of the State. To add to the challenge, GHS’s additional course requirements greatly shrank the size of the junior class and reduced the number of sophomores and freshmen.
All of these challenges were too much for the team to overcome. After three preliminary rounds, the team advanced only 12 students to the Semi-Finals and only five to the Finals. Low numbers like these haven’t been seen by the powerful Gabrielino speakers since the early 2000s.
After all the awards were handed out late Sunday night, the Screamin’ Eagles got on the bus with the 8th place trophy. The last time the team finished that low, most of this year’s members weren’t even born. To add to the disappointment, the team placed third out of all the schools in the southern half of California. At the same time, both feats seem highly exceptional given the upper socio-economic demographics of the majority of the 180 schools who joined GHS in the wide open ranges of Mountain House.
Even so, there were victories over the weekend. The team placed higher than any other school in the Southern California Debate League. The Screamin’ Eagles made up three of the seven competitors in the final round of Expository Speaking. And senior Leon won the State Championship in United States Extemporaneous Speaking. One of the team’s coaches did provide perspective saying, “the kids behaved really well. They worked hard and they did their best. But the most important part is we got all the kids and coaches up there and back without many issues. Everyone made it back safely. That is the greatest victory of all.”
Still, there is a lot of work to be done if the team is to find success at the National Championships this summer in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. “We have to get back to basics”, one team official said. “There are some ongoing outside policy factors impacting our program and we are unfortunately spending time trying to mitigate those effects, but we have a great group of students qualified for Nationals and we need to double our efforts to turn this around. It starts with coaching. From the head coach down, we need to refocus and find the magic to put into the performances. There are some big challenges facing us but we are adding some things to our upcoming Showcase next month, which will hopefully create a spark in everyone to lift the spirits and start us on a path to success at the [Southern California Debate League’s] Novice Championships and then at Nationals in the summer.”
“It was a big wake up call for everyone on our bus,” commented senior co-captain Richelle. “I think the weekend presented several opportunities for everyone to rediscover their passion for their speeches. Sophomore Kett said, “I think getting to spectate rounds I’ve never seen was really helpful and fun.”
On the bus ride back to Gabrielino late Sunday night and early Monday morning, the team watched the classic movie, JAWS. At one point in the movie, scientist Matt Hooper warns ship captain, Quint, not to put so much pressure on the boat’s engine because it would give out. The prediction was accurate. The engine caught fire and S.S. Orca was left floating in the water with a massive great white shark on the attack. The moment wasn’t lost on one of the coaches who said, “We have pushed this team at 110% for so long and overcome so many odds to have success, it was bound to give out at some point.” To coin the infamous phrase from Sheriff Brody, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
In the middle of nowhere town of Mountain House, that boat didn’t come. The S.S. Screamin’ Eagle took on an enormous amount of water, but it didn’t sink. Hopefully, the team will find smooth sailing and have a successful voyage on the coast of Florida at the National Championships this summer.
Until then, the team thought about the song Quint sang in JAWS, “Show me the way to go home. I’m tired and I want to go to bed.” After an exceptionally long and draining four-day trip, the song rang true for all the team members.
Keep on sailin’ Screamin’ Eagles.
Leon Wins State Championship
Senior Leon is known for his intense work out regime. The 2018 California High School Speech and Debate Championships provided Leon with nice gold dumbbell/trophy to use.
Only one year after Tim Chung became the first Screamin’ Eagle to win the State Championship in International Extemp, Leon became the first GHS competitor to win U.S. Extemp.
Leon is Gabrielino’s 19th State Champion and he joins a long list of the who’s who in The Screamin’ Eagles history. His teammate and fellow extemper, senior Michael said, “it is surreal to watch Leon’s exponential growth.” Another extemper who wished to remain anonymous quipped, “he has always been the best at bench pressing our extemp boxes. If there was a weightlifting component of the state championships, Leon would’ve won the past three years.”
After the three preliminary rounds, Leon was in 4th place. In semi’s he moved up to 2nd and was only behind by one point. Leon gave a really solid speech in the finals and followed it up with excellent cross examination to win the State Championship by one point.
Four years ago, Leon was competing in Duo Interpretation, dancing around and doing characters. Now, he’s discussing trade agreements, senate appointments and health insurance laws. He was in the final round of Fall Varsity in Duo his freshman year. And now, he’s the State Champion in United States Extemporaneous Speaking.
Excellent job Leon. Screamin’ Eagle Nation is so very proud of you.
Three Freshmen Screamin’ Eagles Qualify for State
By Annie Phun
Confident. Natural. Stunning.
These are only some of the key characteristics attributed to freshmen Bianca when she performs, “Prissy Thomas” during tournaments. Entered in Dramatic Interpretation, Bianca captivates her audiences with her stage presence and ability to portray realistic emotions.
In her speech, Bianca depicts the story of a girl who faces the challenge of losing her best friend and a compassionate mother who must deal with the outcome. Through this, she shows her audiences that traumatic experiences can often play tricks on one’s psyche as nothing is what it seems.
“The hardest thing for me is being able to connect with my characters,” revealed Bianca. “I have to make sure I’m personally impacted by my speech or else my audience will not be either.”
With this in mind, Bianca enters every round with a positive mindset, reminding herself that improving and developing her characters is more important than winning. She gains motivation from the varsity members on the team who have helped her take steps in perfecting her speech.
This year, Bianca is one of three freshmen on the Screamin’ Eagles Speech and Debate Team to qualify for the State Championship tournament.
“Qualifying to State as a freshman is a huge accomplishment in itself, but Bianca qualified in [Dramatic Interpretation], which is one of the most competitive events in our league,” stated one of Gabrielino’s coaches. “That speaks volumes about her talent.”
Freshman Eric surprised everyone on the team when he qualified for the 2018 State Championships in Oratorical Interpretation.
“I’m a very shy person when I’m not confident in what I’m saying, which made Speech and Debate hard for me in the beginning,” revealed Eric. “I finally started to enjoy performing when I stopped thinking about what others thought about me.” He has made tremendous progress in developing his speaking abilities.
“Eric was able to qualify for the [State Championship tournament] because of his dedication and work ethic,” complimented Kaylin, senior. “I hope one day he will believe in himself as much as I believe in him.”
As the varsity member who has worked with Eric the most, Kaylin cannot be prouder of how much Eric has grown. Eric appreciates her sentiments as he cited her as the main reason why he has the motivation to practice.
At the State Championships, Eric hopes to have fun and learn from watching his competitors perform. This will be the last time he can ever perform this year’s speech, so he wants to give his final performances his all.
Freshman Chloe began her Speech career as a novice in the Beginning Speech class at Gabrielino. As the school year comes to a close, Chloe is now in the advanced class as is one of the 26 GHS students who qualified for the State Championships.
Qualifying in Humorous Interpretation, Chloe showcases the tale of Fred, a customer at a grocery store who encounters difficult cashiers when he attempts to check out 10 items in an express lane that only accepts nine. She garners laughter from her audience when she displays the shenanigans that ensue.
“Being in [Humorous Interpretation] requires a lot of dedication and courage. [Chloe] plays a character who literally dances every time he talks,” stated fellow speech member, Matt, senior. “The key reason she qualified is because she is willing to do anything.”
Chloe plans to make the most of her experience by performing what she believes to be the best version of her speech. She hopes draw her spectators into her performance so they can feel the same amount of joy she feels on the stage.
“It's crazy to think about how far I've gotten by trying my best and having fun,” expressed Chloe. “I want to show everyone at State what I've been working on this whole year and make them laugh in the process.”
Four Straight Trips to State Championships
By Annie Phun
In the seventh grade, Annabelle followed her sister Caitlyn’s footsteps when she joined the Speech and Debate team at Jefferson Middle School. Now a senior and the co-event leader of Original Prose and Poetry of the Screamin’ Eagles Speech and Debate Team at Gabrielino High School, Annabelle has forged her own legacy as she is set to return to the State Championship tournament on April 19 for the fourth year in a row.
Often compared to her sister, Annabelle made it her goal to deviate from what others expected of her, opting to exceed their expectations in her own way. She strives to leave a unique impression on those who witness her perform.
“I want to be enjoyable for others to watch but also get my message across,” expressed Annabelle. “For my speech this year, I hope that people hear it and begin to question their own perspectives.”
Annabelle’s current speech focuses on the topic of gender roles in society. As president of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club at Gabrielino, Annabelle wanted to create a speech that captured her experience with issues regarding the public’s ideals. Acting as multiple characters, she tells the tale of a father who discovers a dress in his son’s backpack.
“Annabelle’s ability to speak her mind is inspiring,” praised co-event leader Leslie. “She’s not afraid of anything, and a lot of [the team members] in OPP look up to her.”
Annabelle’s role as co-event leader puts her in a position to be a leader to those in her event. She not only focuses on improving herself but also helping her teammates develop their speeches as well. Annabelle takes pride in the fact that she is allowed to have a direct impact on the future of OPP at Gabrielino.
“[Annabelle] works really hard,” complimented one of Gabrielino’s coaches. “What’s admirable is that she’s been performing for a long time, and she’s been doing well for the same amount of time.”
Annabelle is the only member of the seniors on this year’s team of to qualify for State every year of her speech career. Her greatest accomplishment this year was automatically qualifying for the tournament.
In order to do so, she had to place first or second at both the Fall Varsity and Spring Varsity tournaments held earlier in the year. In previous years she was just shy of meeting the requirements by one rank, so being able to automatically qualify this year was particularly satisfying.
Annabelle hopes to do well at the State Championship tournament but is not focused on winning. Instead, she simply wants her spectators to remember her and her speech.
Her coaches and her teammates wish her good luck when she travels to Mountain House, CA with the 25 other students who also qualified for the State Championships.
During a rare rainy weekend in Southern California, the Sunshine State of Florida was on the minds of the Screamin’ Eagles. Puddles and downpours were nothing compared to the powerful speeches delivered in the rooms of San Marino High School.
The little school just north of Gabrielino recently hosted the National Qualifying Tournament for 150 competitors from the East Los Angeles County/Orange Country District of the National Speech and Debate Association.
To anyone walking on campus, there wasn’t much going on. However small the meet may have seemed, the importance of the competition was crucial. The area is home to some of the best speakers in the nation. One room at San Marino might have three students who will place in the top 15 in all of America.
Everyone knew only the top three in each event would qualify for the National Championships this summer in Florida. The rain only added to the drama of the weekend. Commercials airing during sporting events often show athletes in the rain trying to find the strength to continue, to find the will to give everything they have. If the film crews were at Nat Quals, they would have gotten great footage of young adults in the rain and cold, dressed in suits, trying to focus before a round and preparing to pour their hearts and souls into delivering the best performances of the year.
Competitors endured three preliminary rounds. They learned if they made the semi-finals by looking for their numbers listed on eight and half by eleven inch white pieces of paper. The process was repeated for the announcement of the six finalists in each event. A little piece of paper, dampened by the rain and leftover humidity, told the students if their dream of going to Nationals would continue.
After five highly intense and emotionally draining rounds, the Screamin’ Eagles walked into the small high school cafeteria for the awards. A day earlier, the students at the high school were eating lunch on the same chairs. Today was different. The tables didn’t hold textbooks and packets of milk. They held elbows cradling heads lowered from exhaustion.
One by one; event by event, the top six competitors in each event were summoned to the front of the cafeteria. Each finalist was presented a small trophy for their accomplishment. The names were read in the same order as they originally appeared on the white piece of paper. Finally, there was a name and a school associated with each of the code numbers that were posted on print outs. Gabrielino had 24 of the 48 finalists. An even two thirds of the entries the Screamin’ Eagles had made it all the way to the final round.
Before moving on to the next event, the most important announcement was made: the names of the three students representing the area, the National Qualifiers. With a few words from the announcer, dreams would either be realized or come to a screeching halt. For many Gab seniors, this was their last chance to perform. It was the conclusion of a long, exciting four-year journey.
When all the awards were handed out, The Screamin’ Eagles found themselves with 15 National Qualifiers. 24 spots were available and Gabrielino took well over half.
The numbers are remarkable in what has been a down year in Screamin’ Eagles terms; after all, the team has the smallest team going to State since 2002. Four of the top five in half the events, 3 of the top 5 in another, and excellent showings in the final three categories led to the team winning the tournament again. In fact, after 14 judge scores, only two tiny points kept the team from adding another 3 students to their squad going to Florida.
By the time the tournament ended, the sun had pierced through the remaining clouds; however, it was still cold. For many walking off campus, they, like the rain clouds earlier, realized their time here was over and their journeys will take them to new places and let them see new things. They may be focusing on the upcoming State Championships or next year’s competitions. Some will be moving on to college and their speech memories will be all that remains.
For the 15 Screaming Eagles going to Nationals, they will take to Florida the hopes and dreams of their entire team wishing to find the same exciting adventures and experiences that almost 250 previous Gabrielino students had when they went to the largest academic competition in the world.
Rain or not, the Screamin’ Eagles shined bright at Nat Quals!!! Best of luck at Nationals.
Screamin' Eagles Win Their Twenty-First Consecutive
Southern California Debate League Championship
By Annie Phun
In 1998, Gabrielino High School’s Screamin’ Eagles Speech and Debate Team won their first Southern California Debate League championship. This year, the team remains the reigning champion as they claimed the title again at the State Qualifying tournament at California State University Long Beach on March 3.
The tournament consisted of three preliminary rounds, semifinals, and finals. Each round began almost immediately after the previous, leaving no time for rest before students had to rush to the next room in order to perform their speeches once again.
Given that this tournament was designated as the last in the league, students felt the pressure to perform well in order to qualify for the State Championship competition held in April. For those who did not qualify, this tournament was the last time that they would ever perform the same speech again.
“For a lot of seniors, this is [could be] their last tournament ever,” explained Co-Captain Josh, senior. “This fact pushes us to give not one-hundred percent, but two-hundred.”
Taking Josh’s words to heart, co-Captain Angelina, senior, put her best efforts into every performance and placed third in Expository Speaking. Both Angelina and Josh are four-year Speech and Debate members and will be moving on to the State Championships.
“After my semifinal round, my teammate came up to me and said that the performance I gave was the best she had seen all year,” expressed Angelina. “That really meant the world to me because we had been working together all year. It felt like all the work I had put into my speech had finally been showing.”
The Screamin’ Eagles competed against 18 teams with over 500 students in the area. With seven finalists in 14 events, only the top four or five in each category were able to qualify for State.
“In order to perform well, competitors had to not focus [on qualifying],” stated one of Gabrielino’s coaches. “They lived in the moment and focused on delivering the message within their speeches because that was when the nerves went away.”
Out of the 22 students from Gabrielino that entered the final rounds, 20 were able to qualify for State. These competitors will join the six students that automatically qualified for State by placing first or second in both the Fall Varsity and Spring Varsity tournaments earlier in the season.
Gabrielino also scored over 200 sweepstakes points, marking this year as their twenty-first league championship win.
Congratulations Screamin' Eagles!!!!
Freshman Qualifies in Debate
Several baseball announcers have commented over the years, “I thought I’d seen everything. And then I came to the ballpark today.” It seems there is always something new in every game even though America’s Pastime has been around for over 170 years.
The Screamin’ Eagles have been speaking since Gabrielino opened its campus in 1994. In that time frame, almost 250 students have qualified for the National Championships. Only 5 of them were in the event of Lincoln Douglas Debate. And none of them were freshmen. Until now.
The elite group of people who have their pictures hung in the speech room after competing at Nationals will welcome into their club a little freshman named Monie. She beat several older, more seasoned debaters in route to a spot on the 2018 GHS team going to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida this summer.
After all of the debates were done at the National Qualifier, Monie was one of only two students from public schools who earned the right to go to Nats. Every other spot was awarded to a competitor from a private school. Monie is a testimony to how Gabrielino is beating the odds and the students continue to overcome obstacles and achieve success on a grand scale.
Team members will now be shifting their focus on the upcoming League Championships where they hope to win the championship trophy for the 21st straight year. Then, the Screamin Eagles will compete in the speech portion of the National Qualifying Tournaments.
Congrats Monie and Good Luck Screamin’ Eagles
Screamin’ Eagles Brave the Weather at Spring Novice
By Annie Phun
Cold weather and an early call time could not deter the Screamin’ Eagles from delivering their speeches. Team members had to be on the bus by 6:30a.m.on Saturday to perform at the Southern California Debate League’s annual Spring Novice tournament at Garfield High School.
Unlike a typical tournament, this competition was designed specifically for novices and junior varsity speech members to compete in. Three rounds were held for each round.
“There’s less pressure because I’m not competing against the varsities anymore,” explained Chloe, freshman, “so the extra confidence pushes me to perform at my best from the start.”
Chloe was entered in Novice Humorous Interpretation and JV Duo Interpretation and walked away as the champion of HI. She stated that although she received a trophy at this tournament, she knows that there’s always room for improvement and will continue to refine her speech for upcoming competitions.
As a novice, Chloe still has another year to perform at Spring Novice because she can come back as a JV member next year. Fellow teammate Sarah, sophomore, on the other hand, cannot say the same.
Competing in this tournament as a JV, Sarah wanted to give her performances her all because she knew that it would be the last time before she would become a varsity member of the team. Her efforts paid off when she received a trophy for Expository Speaking.
“My proudest moment was when I delivered my speech on time,” expressed Sarah. “I had been struggling all year with speeding, so when I finally paced my speech correctly, I was really happy.”
While the novices and JV members were competing, varsity members were judging rounds, running the ballot room, and keeping the event organized. When they had time, they spectated different events.
“It’s really amazing to see how far everyone has come,” Kaylin, senior. “I’m honored to have helped them improve.”
With no final round, the Screamin’ Eagles were able to head home early at 3:30 p.m.
Congrats Novice and JV!!!!
Three Screamin’ Eagles Named National Merit Finalists
There wasn’t a press conference. There were no cameras. There wasn’t a rally. No articles were written in the Pasadena Star News. It came in the form of a simple announcement on the Gabrielino public address system. Seniors Jannelle and Chris along with Screamin’ Eagles Team Co-Captain, Angelina were named National Merit Finalists.
Gabrielino High School is once again home to students recognized on a national scale for their academic excellence. And once again, they are speech and debate team members.
Of the 1.6 million students, on average, who are considered for the award, only the top 1% become finalists. Later this spring, the three will learn if they are in the top half of that elite group to earn a $scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Organization.
To be a part of The Screamin’ Eagles is to be a part of something special. Students compete with some of the best speakers in all of America. They share the success and understand the hard work that goes into being the best at their craft.
The pride, honor and tradition of the program requires all of Screamin’ Eagles Nation to salute these three members for their dedication to the pursuit of excellence. The media and general public may focus on athletics and the shortcomings of schools, but those who have put in the work, endured the stress, overcome the obstacles, and are now reaping in the rewards fully understand and respect what these three young adults have done.
Congratulations to you. We are not surprised, but very proud.
Screamin’ Eagles Win Spring Varsity Again
by Annie Tran
On Feb. 3, The Southern California Debate League’s second varsity tournament of the year brought on fierce competition for the Screamin’ Eagles. Spring Varsity at Arcadia High School was where students who were first or second at Fall Varsity could automatically qualify for the State Championships in April. In order to do so, these students had to place first or second in the final round of the same event at Spring Varsity meet.
Out of the ten Screamin’ Eagles who had the chance, six qualified for State. The rest of the team will be competing at the State Qualifying Tournament/League Championships on March 3rd for their spot on the team.
“[This tournament] was especially nerve-wracking because I knew that I could [automatically qualify] for the [State Championships],” expressed Sierra, senior, “but when everything started to feel overwhelming, I just reminded myself that delivering a speech is supposed to be fun.”
Sierra’s efforts paid off when she placed first in Expository, earning her the second leg needed to qualify.
For the handful of senior team members choosing not to compete next month in the league championships, this tournament was the last time that they had the privilege to showcase their speeches. With this in mind, many went into their rounds with the only goal to deliver their best performance and walked away proud.
Gabrielino took first place out of the 22 schools competing at the tournament scoring over 200 points. . The team has won the tournament for the past 20 years.
“From now on, I, along with everyone else who can, will be performing our speeches with the spirit of the people who can’t,” stated Gabriel, a junior. “They supported us, so we owe it to them to advance as far as we can.”
Along with his duo partner, sophomore Sam, Gabriel took first place in Duo Interpretation. He was also named the champion of Humorous Interpretation.
Although Spring Varsity marked the end for some, for others like Gabriel, Sam, and Sierra, their journeys seem to be merely beginning. They practice vigorously every week to prepare for State as they wait to find out who will be joining them.
Overall, the Speech and Debate team pulled off another successful tournament. 76 Gab students qualified for the semi-finals and 39 were in the final round of the competition. The Screamin’ Eagles won half of the events at the meet.
The team will now shift its attention to prepare for the upcoming State and National Qualifying Tournaments and the League’s Spring Novice Tournament.
Alumni Help at Logan
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change explains the meaning of MLK Jr. Day, “is not only for celebration and remembrance, education and tribute, but above all, a day of service.” The alumni of Gabrielino proved, yet again, how much they value the experiences they learned as members of the Screamin’ Eagles. They gave up most of their holiday weekend to coach, support, and judge for the GHS students on the program they hold so dear to their hearts.
Even though the alumni on the coaching staff have a combined fifty plus trips up to the Bay Area, they once again sacrificed their time and sleep to make sure this year’s Logan team had an incredible learning experience. One of the coaches took a flight up to Oakland so she wouldn’t miss a day at her work or a night of practice with her students. Another coach didn’t let her third trimester of pregnancy keep her from working with this group of incredible kids.
Over the years, the assistant coaches have skipped their college classes, missed work, forgone holiday weekend getaways and parties to provide their invaluable service to Gabrielino’s powerful and passionate speakers. They continue to make a difference in the lives of the students they coach in hopes they too will go out and do great things as well as come back to help future team members.
Throughout the weekend, many alumni, young and old, came by the hotel and school to offer advice, support and encouragement. Senior Co-Captain, Angelina said, “it was great to meet and talk with so many of our alumni throughout the weekend. We are really thankful they gave up so much of their holiday weekend to come and help us out.”
The orators were ecstatic when they saw their heroes from the past come to greet them. Varsity OO member Samuel could hardly contain himself when he met National Finalist Clifford and 2-time National Qualifier Sofie. He said, “I can’t believe it. I met two of my idols today. This is amazing.”
The weekend was a wonderful reunion for the expository students and their former coach, Eileen. At the end of last season, she accepted a job in San Francisco and said leaving the team was one of the most difficult things she’s had to do when switching career paths. Her former students were highly motivated by her presence and assistance--most every one of the 10 entries made it to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Four made it to semis and two made it to the final round.
The Screamin’ Eagles have grown to become one of the top programs in all of America. Many of the successes and experiences are because of the sacrifices, dedication and support from the alumni. Most people outside of the activity have no idea how much of an incredible impact The Screamin’ Eagles have on the lives of the students on the team; however, the alumni of Screamin’ Eagles Nation fully understand the benefits. Once again, they stepped up and made the experience even more amazing.
MLK said, “life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Thank you alumni, coaches, and judges for your continued service to our program. You have done and continue to do and incredible job of helping the speakers on the Screamin’ Eagles . Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be exceptionally proud of your efforts and your accomplishments.
Gab Students Deliver Their Passionate Messages at MLK
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used his incredible speaking abilities to inspire change in the minds of people and government policies around the world. The Screamin’ Eagles’ annual trip to the James Logan High School MLK Jr. National Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament provided a perfect opportunity for the team members to communicate their messages to competitors and judges from all over America.
One can only wonder what the great MLK would say if he could be in attendance at the tournament in his honor. He would probably be amazed at the level of talent and passion young people have for their messages. He would have great admiration for the adults who sacrifice so much because they understand the impact of this incredible activity.
He would’ve been very impressed by the Screamin’ Eagles. Senior Co-Captain Angelina’s Informative speech on Virality provides insight into how media becomes viral and the powers they bestow. Josh, also a co-captain, delivered a speech on how hate and racism in our communication should instead have hope and unity as its cornerstones. Richelle, the third captain, told the true story of a woman who lost a loved one in the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack three years ago.
Dr. King most likely would have great commentary on how most people ignore the high level of intellectual rhetoric, oratory and interpretation present in the rounds of competition. Instead, many get caught up in the fervor of Presidential tweets, idiotic name calling, reckless and stubborn discourse, and protests which are anything but peaceful.
He would’ve been encouraged to watch teenagers sit respectfully in rounds and listen to their peers explain their ideas. The great paradox in our society is that the young people in speech and debate communicate with great poise, respect and maturity while our adult political and media leaders act and argue like children.
“My speech is about how the power of handwriting comes from the time and energy you put into composing it. So if you care about something, write about it,” said sophomore Felicia, who placed 2nd in the Informative category, “Written and oral communication is just as important today, if not more so than it has ever been. It was an honor for me to get to perform in the final round of this prestigious tournament on such a meaningful national holiday”.
The Civil Rights Movement was filled with passionate speeches. Dr. King spent countless days detailing his dream to his followers and non-believers. Town after town, leaders spoke their messages over and over again. They would not quit. The Screamin’ Eagles deliver their speeches weekend after weekend. They become better speakers and develop valuable skills which will help them throughout their lives. They learn from each other. They support each other.
On this particular weekend, The Screamin’ Eagles competed against some of the best speakers in America. As the weekend progressed, the pool of students was narrowed down based on their scores. After a long drive up to the Bay Area and two long days of competition, GHS placed 4th out of 84 schools.
Some of the students may have had higher expectations than the results ultimately provided, but they must not forget the words MLK taught us, “we must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Fall Varsity Schurr Was Great
By Annie Phun
Hands shivering from the cold, the Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagles bounced in excitement as they prepared for the first varsity league meet of the year at Schurr High School. Event leaders gathered their groups for the traditional morning pep talks before everyone rushed off to run through their speeches and squeeze in their last moments of practice before the first round.
“I was confident in my abilities to deliver my speech, but I was still anxious,” expressed senior Jason. “It was hard to stay consistent, but I took comfort in the fact that I had an opportunity to show a large audience the significance of my topic - maternity leave.”
As this was his last year competing at Fall Varsity, Jason stated that thinking about the larger importance of his speech motivated him to do his best. His efforts paid off when he was named the champion of Original Advocacy.
Between rounds, students met with other competitors in their event in order to update them on their performances and give each other support. These short intervals of roughly 10 minutes were their only times to rest before delivering another speech.
“There was a lot of pressure to live up to the title of being a varsity member,” revealed senior Sierra, champion of Expository, “but the sense of family the speech team has built pushed me to perform better while having a good time.”
The Speech team put 42 members in the finals. Of the finalists, eight students were able to partially qualify for the California Speech and Debate Championship by placing first or second. Spring Varsity, a tournament scheduled to be held in February, will be their chance repeat their results in order to fully qualify for the State Championships, which will take place in April.
Overall, Gabrielino won the tournament for the 18th consecutive year, beating the 15 other schools competing. The team still has a long way to go before the season ends, but the Screamin’ Eagles continue to practice and are ready to take it all in stride.
Great job Screamin’ Eagles!
Gabrielino Successfully Hosts Two Large Tournaments in 15 Days
Hosting a speech tournament is a challenge many schools will not attempt. The Screamin’ Eagles have hosted almost 100 over the past quarter century. This year, the team did something they had never attempted: host an invitational and a league tournament in just over two weeks.
The school year started with November 4th marked as the date the team would host the Southern California Debate League’s Fall Novice Tournament. As the challenges presented by the annual tournament at CSU Long Beach arose, the team decided to host its first-ever Varsity Invitational Meet. The school calendar dictated the date to be just 15 days before running the Novice competition.
And they pulled it off.
It wasn’t really a surprise. It isn’t any breaking news. The Screamin’ Eagles are one of the best programs in all of America. The students, parents, alumni and coaches have proven time and time again they can make amazing happen.
Thank you to everyone for putting on two fantastic, well run tournaments in an incredibly short amount of time.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles Nation. This truly was a great whole-team effort!!!
Novices and Junior Varsities Shine at Fall Novice
By Annie Phun
This year’s annual Southern California Debate League’s Fall Novice took place on Nov. 4 at Gabrielino, a tradition that has lasted over 20 years. Novice and Junior varsity (JV) members arrived on the scene no later than 7:10 a.m. to compete while varsity members gave moral support and judged the three rounds of 14 different events against 15 area schools.
“This tournament was definitely more nerve-wracking because there were way more people to compete against,” stated freshman Halle, “but the experience taught me a lot.”
Halle, a novice, was entered in the JV division, unlike at the previous tournament, the Screamin’ Eagles Invitational. She revealed the experience allowed her to hear higher level speeches, and while slightly intimidated, it gave her a goal to strive for in the future.
As the underclassmen performed, varsities could be seen either trailing behind, watching them in order to give feedback after rounds, or judging the rounds.
“It made me so proud to watch the novices that I coached,” said junior Jaycob. “Seeing the progress that they’ve made is surreal.”
Jaycob compared the novices and JV members to babies, stating he speaks for all varsity members when he says they want to protect those who compete and ensure they are prepared no matter what. He confessed nothing was more satisfying than seeing the lower levels perform and knowing he played a role in helping them develop their speech.
The team is still trying to deal with the enormous impact of the added course requirements the school added for freshmen students three years ago. “The students are smart,” one team official commented. “They have figured out ways to deal with the added requirements while still managing to be a part of our special program, but it (the requirements) is still preventing some students from experiencing the great opportunities the team offers.”
The tournament concluded at a very reasonable time of 4 p.m. Combined, the novice and junior varsity members won well over half of the awards.
Gabrielino Hosts Inaugural Screamin’ Eagles Invitational
By: Annie Phun
On Oct. 21, the Gabrielino Speech and Debate team hosted its first Screamin’ Eagles Speech Invitational against several area schools. As the only varsity tournament the school had ever held, this competition was to replace Jack Howe, the original event that started off the season years before.
Team officials revealed that this tournament had been in the making for years now, but the timing was never correct. Now that it was, their ultimate goal was to make this meet shorter, faster, and cheaper than many others while still creating a fun and competitive environment for the students.
As the day began, students arrived on campus at 7:15 a.m. to check in and prepare for the competition. Captains and event leaders gathered their groups together to reassure and uplift their members with pep talks.
“I was really nervous because I was triple-entered,” expressed novice Kaylin. “I didn't know if I would do well or even make it to my rounds in time.”
With three preliminary rounds and one final round in each event, students who signed up for multiple events had to perform in one room only to rush off into another to deliver another speech. Senior Sydney was entered in four different categories which meant she talked for almost 120 minutes, two full hours before the final round was even posted at 1:30pm.
“At the beginning I was nervous because I didn’t know if I could pull it off,” said senior and cheer captain Sydney, “but as I entered into each of my rounds, I was greeted by friendly faces and encouraging smiles. That gave me the confidence I needed to perform, and I had a lot of fun”.
The rounds started almost immediately after one another, and the finals began after the judges met to deliberate the six in each event who were chosen to move on.
“First round is definitely the worst because everyone is tired and nervous,” stated varsity member Jeremy, senior, “but once we get into it, we find ourselves getting better every time.”
Between rounds, students were able to go to the concession stands where food and drinks were being sold. They also chatted with one another in order to update each other on how they were doing, creating a sense of community.
“The key to doing well is energy,” advised junior Andrew. “Have fun, and everything else will just click.”
For awards, students were directed to head into the Goodson Theatre where the six finalists of each event were invited onto the stage to receive their awards. Places fourth through sixth were given medals while first through third were awarded trophies.
The tournament concluded at the record-breaking time of 4 p.m. Based on the success of this year’s competition, the Gabrielino Speech and Debate team officials hope to turn this invitational into an annual tradition.
Two Screamin’ Eagles Gain
Four-year speech seniors Felipe and Andy were named National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars by the College Board. They are among the top 2% of the 250,000 students of Hispanic heritage who took the 2016 PSAT.
Way to go Felipe and Andy.
Debaters travel to The Beach
Tournament costs and an unnecessarily complicated registration were enough to keep the entire Screamin’ Eagles Team from competing in the annual tournament at Cal. State Long Beach.
“They (CSULB) changed the registration process, increased the entry fees and reduced the rooms. They had kids staying up late at night, checking their website just to see if they were moved from the waitlist so they could compete,” a team official revealed. “Our students need to be focusing on their studies and college applications, not worrying about whether some early season tournament lets them participate.”
The debaters, however, managed to endure the process. Twelve of the team’s members debated for two long days and nights at the campus just a few blocks away from Pacific Coast Highway. After several rounds of competition, senior Ethan made it to the Octo-Finals in the Lincoln Douglas Debate event. Sophomore London was named one of the top 10 speakers in her debate category. London also made it to the semi-finals of Original Oratory. Senior Co-Captain Josh was in the finals of Oratorical Interp. Senior Jason qualified for the semi-final round of Extemp.
The team, although vastly smaller than in previous years, made the annual trip to the Japanese Garden on the far side of campus to keep the tradition alive (and send pictures to their teammates back in San Gabriel).
Congrats Screamin’ Eagles Debaters
Three Screamin’ Eagles named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists
By Annie Phun
This year, three Speech and Debate students, Jannelle Dang, Angelina Liang, and Christopher Lung, were named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists.
A highly regarded academic competition for recognition and scholarships, the National Merit Scholarship began in 1955 and about one in every six Finalists receive $2,500 scholarships every year. In order to be considered a Semifinalist, students must meet or exceed the set standard for their state.
At Gabrielino, students enter the competition with their PSAT / NMSQT scores obtained in their junior year. Although many of his peers remained unshocked when discovering that Christopher Lung was named a Semifinalist, the same could not be said about Lung himself.
“I was really confused because I didn’t really know what it was,” confessed Lung, “but it still made me happy.”
Similarly, event leader for expository Jannelle Dang and Speech captain Angelina Liang also faced the same emotions when finding out they were Semifinalists. While walking to Speech practice after school, Dang and Liang passed by school’s marquee at the front entrance where they saw their names flashing on the board. Confused, they waited for the next slide where it announced that they had been named Semifinalists before crying out in surprised excitement.
All three students were formally notified of their status via their counselors the next day.
Currently, the three have sent in their Finalist applications and are lying in wait for the day in February where the list of Finalists for the scholarships are set to come out. Dang, Liang, and Lung are doubtful of their chances to win but hope for the best.
“I’m just grateful that all our hard work seems to finally be paying off,” stated Liang.
Gabrielino kicks off the year with its 21st Icebreaker tournament
By Annie Phun
While most students would be sleeping at home, the Gabrielino Speech and Debate team arrived on campus at 7am on a Saturday to compete at the annual Icebreaker competition. Open to everyone, the Icebreaker is a speech tournament that enables speech students and non-speech students alike to work together and create great memories.
“The one thing I told my novice was to remember that I’m always there for her,” stated sophomore David Campos. “We’re teammates, but more than that, we’re friends.”
In teams of two, with one veteran Speech member pairing up with a novice or a non-speech student, students entered a total of four impromptu rounds. This way, experienced Speech members were able to teach another Speech student the ways of Speech and Debate.
More than this, the Icebreaker was dependent on student participation in almost every other aspect too. In contrast with a normal judging system in which adults were invited to judge the students, the seven pairs who competed in each round ranked each other according to their own preferences. In the end, the highest and lowest score was dropped, creating a final score with the average of the two middle scores and ensuring that biases were eliminated.
“Just keep calm and everything will be fine,” advised senior Janice Chen.
The competitive nature between Gabrielino and the other schools involved set a serious tone, but the intensity was downplayed by the privilege of having a mentor. As the first tournament of the year, the Icebreaker was designed for students to get acquainted with the speech environment. With two interpretation events and two debate events, students were able to obtain a sense of all aspects related to Speech and Debate.
Overall, the Icebreaker allowed students to simply have fun before the rush of league and other higher level meets. With 24 awards handed out to semi-finalists and finalists, the tournament concluded early at 2pm with all participants content and proud.
“This experience made me wish I was in Speech for real,” confessed senior Anna Sam.
"The Best, The Greatest, THE TOP TROPHY"
People’s perceptions of winning are interesting. If a team loses, there is analysis of the “why”. If a team wins, the analysis is replaced by elation. If a team wins a lot, people lose interest. If someone or some team wins all the time, it can’t be that difficult. Ho hum, what else can you do? Speech and Debate success has become so commonplace at Gabrielino that the school yearbook completely forgot to include the team in this year’s edition.
How can a society allow consistent excellence to become commonplace? If you have a savings account paying you five times as much as any other savings account, wouldn’t you want that to continue? I know I’ve been making a lot of money in my bank account, I wish the bank would give me less. Do you wish your car would break down if it gets you around consistently year in, year out? After all, a well-tuned engine over the long time is boring, right?
Well if that’s the case, then The Screamin’ Eagles’ successes ever since their inception in 1994 have been remarkably mundane. The accomplishments read like a checklist:
- League Championship: Check
- National Qualifier Tournament Championship: Check
- Top Program in Southern California: Check
- National School of Excellence Award Winner: Check
- National School of Outstanding Distinction: Check
- Top Speech program in all of California: Check
- Top Speech School at the National Tournament: Check
- Individual State and National Champions: Check and Check
- Ranked #1 in America: Check
Ho hum, nothing special.
Well, here is something new and exciting - like a brand new Ferrari with all the fixins’ to get around town: the only major speech award the Screamin’ Eagles have not won in their brief 23 year history…just got checked off.
For the past 87 years, the school with the most number of accumulated rounds in the main events at Nationals has been awarded. 86 schools called in 86 years. This June was year number 87 and award number 87 was Gabrielino High School.
It is called The Bruno E. Jacob Award. It is named after the founder and the Director of the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA, formerly known as the National Forensic League) for more than forty years. The NSDA describes the award as, “the best, the greatest, THE-TOP trophy at the National Tournament...it is awarded in Bruno E. Jacob’s honor, to the school who has earned the greatest number of cumulative rounds in main events at the National Tournament”.
A team official was alerted personally by a phone call coming from NSDA Director Scott Wunn just a few hours before The Awards Ceremony. He said, “The students need to be dressed in full competition attire for Awards tonight. They will have VIP seating at the very front of the auditorium. You’re getting The Big One”. The Screamin’ Eagles Coaching Staff was briefed on the honor prior to leaving the hotel for the ceremony. The entire team was kept in the dark until they were summoned onto the stage to receive the most special of awards. A few of the Screamin’ Eagles knew the team was in contention for the award, GHS was in second place after last year’s tournament, but most were completely unaware.
After qualifying almost 250 students to the National Championships over the past 21 years, Gabrielino became only the sixth school in California to win the award. It had been since 1978 that the only other Southern California School won it.
Over the years, The Screamin’ Eagles have fared exceptionally well at the National Tournament. Each event at Nationals has over 200 competitors. Thousands more compete at over 100 local tournaments across America, its territories, Taiwan, Saipan, China and South Korea to earn one of the few spots allotted to each district. GHS places an astounding 68% of its qualifiers in the top 60 in America. 37 students, or 15%, have made the National Semi-Finals. A student qualifying for Nationals from Gabrielino has a 1 in 14 chance to be in the National Finals. This year, like the past five (and 6 of the past 7), Gabrielino has been represented in one of the final rounds at Nationals.
This is the 20th year in a row Gabrielino has qualified students to Nationals since their first main event qualifiers in 1998. The beauty of the Bruno E. Jacob award is the acknowledgment of the contributions of every single person associated with the program over its 23 year history:
- The 5 kids who qualified for the 1998 Nationals in Phoenix all the way to the 20 that qualified for the Birmingham Nationals this year.
- The students who practiced outside a small portable classroom on what was once an elementary school campus for the first nine years of the program.
- All the alumni who constantly donate time, money, and resources to the team in order to keep the program operating at the highest level.
- All the coaches who have given countless hours of their time, working for little or no money, to give back to the activity, which provided them with so many valuable skills, incredible experiences, and wonderful memories.
Everyone has contributed and should rejoice in the honor.
The four different principals who led Gabrielino since the opening of the school in 1994 are also part of this award. GHS’s first principal, Dan Mooney, gave the team a personal loan for the first ever trip to Nationals. The late principal, Gene Murphy, was in a constant search for the script that would “win Nationals” and was exceptionally proud when his school sent students to the 2001 Nationals held at his alma mater, The University of Oklahoma. Principal Dave Crist made almost daily trips to the speech room to check in on their progress and try to convince the team he should still be considered part of the “novice” team. Current principal, Sharron Heinrich, started the speech team in ’94 while she was the Director of the Social Studies Department.
This award is a tip of the hat to all the parents who have gotten up early to drive their children to tournaments or picked them up in the early morning hours from overnight competitions because the team doesn’t have enough money to afford an extra night of hotel and bus expenses. The family members and friends who have given up their weekends to judge round after round. The parents like Carol Nakatsui, who started the Screamin’ Eagles Parent Booster Organization at the turn of the century, and Georgia Singleton, who has served with never ending energy and enthusiasm as the SEPBO President for most of the past decade. They all contributed.
Gabrielino’s custodial staff is constantly raving about their Speech Team and they are the ones who, often times, have to clean the squad room more than once a day due to the number of students and room hosts and the hours it is in operation.
The support staff at Gab is having to keep track of the speech bank account, which spends more than any other activity on campus, athletic or academic. They must write the students out of class for tournaments and keep track of the calendar and public relations for the team.
We received this award because of so many people working exceptionally hard for the past 24 years.
Anyone listening carefully to any awards ceremony knows speech and debate, like so many things in life, favor those students in high socio-economic brackets. The Gabrielino campus has a majority of students on free and reduced lunches. The Screamin’ Eagles do not have the money or means to attend summer camps or travel all around America to compete. One competitor from Minnesota commented to a Screamin’ Eagle team member, “You look familiar. Did you compete at the Harvard Tournament? The Yale Tournament? The Glenbrooks (Illinois)? Catholic National Tournament (Kentucky)? The Tournament of Champions (Missouri)?” The response to all the above was a simple, “no”.
Senior Co-Captain and National Finalist this year, Tim Chung, commented, “The other speakers in the final round [of International Extemp] all knew each other because they compete against each other at tournaments around the country. I [like prior Screamin’ Eagle Finalists] was the outsider”.
It’s also interesting to note Tim came to America in 2003. Even though English is not his primary language, he placed 5th in the entire country out of thousands of students. This makes a special award even more meaningful. GHS Speech & Debate excels in spite of the odds.
Jenny Vuong, in 2013, won the State Championship in April, became a U.S. Citizen in May and in June, won the National Championship in a language she had only been speaking for a few years.
Yeah, this is boring stuff huh? The coaches, the administrators, the parents, the support staffers have all contributed. The students have overcome incredible obstacles and challenges to become champions. Yeah, they’ve been one of the top programs in all of America and the top program in the entire southern half of California for the better part of this century. Yeah, that may be boring, but The Bruno E. Jacob Award is something brand new, something that comes along once in a life time (if it comes at all) and is absolutely an amazing award in which everyone can share in the pride, joy, and honor that comes along with it.
Banquet Closes Out Amazing Year
After an incredible year that saw the team win their 20th league championship in a row, place second at the State Championships for the third straight year, be named a School of Excellence at the National Championships for the 10th year in a row and win the top award presented by the National Speech & Debate Association, the Screamin’ Eagles finally ended their year at the annual awards banquet.
Way back in 2001, then senior co-captain, Messiah Nakatsui, proclaimed, “you don’t really graduate from Gabrielino until the banquet”. Once again, this year’s banquet was the culmination of a great year for all the team members and a celebration of all the class of 2017’s accomplishments while they were competitors on the Screamin’ Eagles.
All qualifiers to the State and National Championships were presented with certificates by Assistant Coaches Brando and Samira. The seniors in attendance were each given fun yet meaningful gifts. Assistant Coach, Water, explained the history of the varsity letter and then presented them to the members of the team who competed in a vast majority of tournaments and qualified for at least one varsity final round over the course of this year.
Senior Alexandra Singleton, who qualified to State and Nationals each of her years in high school and is the team’s all-time point leader, was named the 2017 Dave “Psycho” Nguyen Award winner. The plaque was named after the 2000 graduate who had a legendary work ethic and was the original winner of the award.
Alexandra’s mom, Georgia, was honored for serving as President of the Parent Booster Organization for the most part of the past decade. All members of the Executive Board of the Boosters were presented with gifts from the team captains.
Other award winners were freshman phenom Felicia honored as Rookie of the Year and senior team co-captain, State Champion and National Finalist, Tim Chung, who won the Eagle First Award for excellence in speech competition.
30 members of the team were acknowledged for being nominated to receive the Top Eagle Award for being positive role models to the rest of the team. Seniors Maya K-Martin and Calvin Nguyen were the winners of the award.
The night included a great meal catered by DiPilla’s Italian Restaurant and an amazing video tribute to speech put together by senior Hannah and freshman Brendan.
The emotional peak for the evening, as it is every year, was the presentation of the Rode Panginda Award for freshmen. Rode lost her life at the end of her freshman year. Because of wonderful donations by her family and the Screamin’ Eagles Nation, an award in her honor is presented each year along with a scholarship to attend an overnight tournament the following year to the freshman who embodies all the vibrant energy and incredible attitude Rode brought to the speech room each and every day.
Long time Gabrielino Assistant Coach, Water, presented freshman Samuel Adi with the high honor. This year marked the tenth year that has passed since the terrible event occurred on July 5th, 2007. It is certainly worth noting that each and every one of the freshman who have earned the Rode Award has qualified for the National Championships at least once during their time on the team.
Original winner, Matt Basa, qualified twice and made it to the quarterfinals of Duo in 2011. The 2009 winner, Kyle DeCamp, made it three times to the top tournament in America. Hubert Tran was presented the award after he returned from the 2010 National Championship. He would also qualify in Extemp two more times. 2011 and 2012 honorees, Garrett Chan and Jason Wong, had to wait until their senior year to make it to Nationals.
In 2013, The Villalobos Twins were named the Rode Award Winners. They proceeded to qualify for Nationals four times where they advanced to the quarter finals, each year, the semis three times, the final round twice and were the 2016 National Champions in Duo.
2014 co-winners Alexandra Singleton and Claudia Yu have six trips to Nationals combined. 2015 winner, Wesley, has already qualified twice and 2016 winner, Gabe, was a member of this year’s team that just returned from the Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.
The team also honored the life of Bo Feng who passed away in an accident in 2011. Because of a very generous donation from Bo’s family, the team has been able to greatly subsidize the costs for each student who has qualified for the National Tournament for the past 5 years.
Congratulations Screamin’ Eagles on another wonderful year of learning and success. We celebrate the award winners, cherish the memories made at the tournaments this year, and honor the past, present, and future of this team.
Back to Birmingham
There is something about revisiting a destination that makes it feel more normal. For the 20 Screamin’ Eagles Speakers, their trip to Nationals this year in Birmingham will be completely new, but for some of the coaches taking the students, it will be their third trip to the placed dubbed, “The Magic City”, in the past 9 years. Before looking forward, we need to look at the past.
2009: All Over Birmingham
The team attending the first Birmingham Nationals consisted of two sophomores, three juniors and nine seniors from the legendary class of 2009. The tournament was primarily held in the Southeastern corner of the city; however, student congress, registration and the Final Rounds/Awards Ceremony were held at the Convention Center on the North side; a nice 45 minute drive away from the other competition venues.
Southern hospitality treated the Screamin’ Eagles well. The team broke 10 of their 14 qualifiers to Octofinals, five to Quarterfinals, Tina followed up her 5th place in Oratory at the 2008 Vegas Nationals by placing 10th in the same event and a little sophomore by the name of Kevin Ye placed 16th in U.S. Extemp.
The team placed 5th overall in all of America and won the School of Excellence Award for the 3rd time.
2013 Hello Kitty
Birmingham Nationals 2.0 featured 9 Screamin’ Eagles. This time the tournament was primarily hosted in the Southwest region of Birmingham in the town of Hoover. Sadly, the registration and awards were half over a half hour away in downtown Birmingham.
Blok was honored for making it to Nationals each of his 4 years in high school. The team broke seven students into Octo-Finals and five into Quarters. The Twins were in the Duo Semis as Freshmen and Senior Jenny “Hello Kitty” was the belle of the ball when she won the hearts of her audience members and was crowned National Champion with her impassioned Original Oratory.
The team finished 13th overall (4th in the speech category) in America and won the School of Excellence Award for the 6th year in a row (7th time overall).
2017 Turbulence and Tornados
Speakers often use analogies to best describe and relate various idea and situations to their audience. Many times, the stories are fictitious. The best way to describe The Screamin’ Eagles 2017 National Tournament is to detail the very real flight from Dallas to El Paso. After changing planes in the home of America’s favorite professional football team, The Screamin’ Eagles boarded a flight headed to LAX with a brief stopover in El Paso. Before takeoff the pilot told the capacity crowd on the plane the trip looked like it would be very smooth. Turbulence forecast apps on the phone echoed the sentiment. One hour after takeoff, the intercom came to life warning the decent and landing might be a little bumpy due to winds and thunderstorm in the area.
Now the cost of a flight from Dallas to El Paso is over $100. It is around the same price as a Park Hopper Ticket to Disneyland. The last 30 minutes of the flight gave the passengers as many thrills as a full day at any of the greatest theme parks in the country. After circling twice waiting for the storm to pass and being tossed around in the sky, the plane leveled out and began the final approach to El Paso International Airport. As the altitude decreased, the turbulence and anxiety increased. As the plane was just over the runway and swaying heavily, not 50 feet off the ground, the engines came back to life. The aircraft accelerated and quickly gained altitude. It was just too windy and dangerous to land.
Luckily there are not as many planes in the far corner of Texas as there are at airports in the Los Angeles area. After 10 minutes of being tossed around by the wind, the plane was back on approach again. The second time offered a slightly different path and angle to land and was ultimately successful. The flight was really tense but nothing majorly bad happened. It was the epitome of the entire trip.
Nationals looked great on paper and in preparation. Because of a last minute drop from another school, Gabrielino was able to have an additional student compete in the tournament. The six different competition venues where the team would compete were on the North side of the city and thus closer in proximity relative to the past trips to Alabama. Weather forecasts called for rain which meant it might not be as hot as past years and could offer the kids from Southern California a chance to see actual rain for the first time in a couple months. Senior Co-Captain Tim Chung’s ankle was healed enough so he would not need to lug crutches around with him across the country. Heck, when the team got on the plane at LAX, they quickly noticed former Dallas Cowboy Head Coach (and current defensive coordinator for the Rams), Wade Phillips, was on the same plane. Indeed, everything seemed in place for a good 10 days.
And then the trip started.
The flight from Houston to Birmingham was delayed almost two hours. It took 90 minutes to get the rental vans from the airport. Two of those vehicles had engine warning lights go on and/or tires lose pressure. Four students were sick and/or losing their voices. There were several technology and communication issues with the National Organization involving uploading and turning in the transcripts of the speeches performed by the team members. Almost every one of the student hotel rooms had its fire alarm set off because of students choosing to practice on becoming America’s Next Top Chef instead of Top Speaker. One student lost her wallet and ID less than 24 hours before the team was to go through TSA security at the Birmingham Airport. It was a turbulent trip.
At some point during the travel to Birmingham, one of the coaches pointed out the possibility of a hurricane hitting Alabama during The Championships. No big deal. The Dallas 15 Nationals included Hurricane Bill coming through the metroplex with a lot of rain and not much else. This year’s weather challenge, Tropical Storm Cindy, never matured to a hurricane but did spawn several tornados.
When senior co-captain Tim Chung returned from the sound check for finals, the California kids were in for some good ol’ fashioned southern storms. The team endured four different tornado warning sirens throughout the afternoon and soon learned one twister hit just a few miles from their hotel where they spent a few hours in the hallway of the bottom floor. Being the steadfast competitors they are, the teammates sat patiently in the hallway, playing games with each other as they waited for the dangerous weather to pass and hoping the damage to their hotel would be minimal.
Turbulence aside, the students performed at their normal high level of excellence. After advancing nine team members to Octofinals, six to quarters and watching Tim qualify for the Semi Finals and then Finals, the team, for the 10th straight year (11th overall), was awarded the National School of Excellence Award by placing 7th overall and 4th in the speech category out of over 2000 member schools.
Regardless of it being was the first time for the students or the third trip for the coaches, not much about this trip felt normal. The 2017 National Championships will be remembered as the tornadic turbulence tournament. Unfortunately, that analogy was based entirely on fact.
Birmingham might not have lived up to its nickname of “The Magic City”. The charm of the third time to the city provided a lot of trophies and success to go along with the turbulence and stress. Yet, everyone survived and The Screamin’ Eagles again, bumpy trip or not, excelled in their performances.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles. Congrats!!!!
Tim is 5th in America
When Tim first joined The Screamin’ Eagles four years ago, the team voted him Rookie of the Year. He followed up an impressive freshman year with three trips to the State and National Championships. The 2015 Nationals in Dallas proved too much for him. He went to the tournament prepared to compete in International Extemp but let the magnitude of the moment get the best of him. Half of high school is mentally fortitude and Tim was too green for the situation.
He qualified for the 2016 Nationals in Salt Lake City and met the challenge of competing against the best in America head on. He advanced out to the field of over 200 qualifiers in International Extemp all the way to the Semi-Finals, placing 13th, and thus, was automatically invited to return this year in the same event.
Five days before boarding a plane to Birmingham, Tim severely sprained his ankle playing basketball. He spent the week leading up to the tournament in bed icing and elevating his black and blue lower leg. Tim limped into LAX with a walking boot and quickly found a wheel chair to help get him to his gate. If the Screamin’ Eagles were a football team from USC or UCLA, or if his uniform wasn’t a suit and tie but instead a purple and gold jersey with Lakers on it, ESPN would have had a camera crew to watch Tim go through security. Talk radio, TV shows and Twitter would have been blowing up with arguments about whether the team co-captain could recover from his injury quickly enough to make an impact in the competition. The team coaches would have had to give canned answers to hundreds of questions on his readiness for the tournament. Several area doctors with no knowledge of Tim or his specific ailment would offer professional opinions on the effect ankle injuries have on performance. Luckily, Tim was able to navigate long check-in lines, TSA security and a two hour delay in the Houston airport to finally arrive at Birmingham in relative peace.
On Sunday night, just hours before he was to deliver his first extemp speech in the tournament, Tim was finally able to almost walk without a defined limp. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.
Sometimes the stress of only having 30 minutes to prepare a speech is exactly what is needed to get the mind off of an injury. Nothing relieves pain more than the adrenalin of competition. Tim was able to make it up and down the floors of the Birmingham Sheraton to present each of his four speeches to the judges throughout Monday’s first day of rounds.
Two more preliminary rounds on Tuesday morning and two more Octo-Final rounds in the afternoon were physically easier yet competitively more difficult. The team decided not to venture to the general posting area and instead Tim learned he made it to the Quarter-Finals while having a sweet treat at a local Sonic.
Tim didn’t stick around the school for postings after completing this 4 rounds in Quarters and Semis throughout the day on Wednesday. He was just sitting down for dinner at Steak-N-Shake when he learned he had made Finals. He put on one of the restaurant’s signature hats to celebrate being able to end his storied speech career on the big stage for the Final Round at the National Championships.
Soon after Tim returned to his hotel from the sound check on Thursday morning, he would join his fellow Screamin’ Eagles in the hallway on the bottom floor waiting out, not one, but four different tornado warnings. He would quickly learn a tornado destroyed several buildings just a few miles from where he was sitting in the hallway eating popcorn popped by a nice coach from Kansas who was helping run his event at the tournament for the entire week.
On Friday morning, during the ride to The Final Rounds, Tim discussed the previous night’s NBA draft results with his teammates. They discussed if De’Aaron Fox should’ve gone second to the Lakers instead of Lonzo Ball. You can’t help but wonder if Mr. Fox and Mr. Ball would discuss whether Tim should go second or fifth if they were to watch the final round of International Extemp.
About the time most people were arriving for work in the downtown area, Tim was let out in front of the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center. His limp was almost gone, the pain of his ankle had left, no doubt replaced by the exhilaration of The Finals. Flanked by his fellow teammates in Extemp, Tim walked the path that would allow him the chance to speak on the greatest stage in this activity--a stage that three other GHS extempers have graced. Heck, Tim was going to speak on the same stage that Jenny Vuong spoke on just four years ago and won the National Championship.
Soon after Tim disappeared to the green room to draw his topic and prepare his speech, he sent his final text to the team, “I’m 5th speaker”. This was special. In 2011, Kevin Ye was 5th speaker in the Final Round of U.S. Extemp. In 2015, Alex Ye was 5th speaker in the Final Round of International Extemp. Tim knew the history and understood he would soon write his own chapter in Gabrielino Screamin’ Eagle lore.
One by one the speakers came on stage for their seven minutes: their short time to explain to the audience how and/or if some international problem can be fixed. After speaking, each extemper sits in the audience, listens to the next speaker and proceeds to ask questions in an attempt to garner some additional points with the judge. Tim’s question centered around conflict in the East China Sea. He did a fantastic job
A few hours later, Tim was be called to stage to receive his trophy and be named the 5th best International Extemporaneous speaker in America. His career, one that started out promising and always got better, was finally complete.
Way to go Timmy Chunga!!!
Lex Goes To Nats All Four Years
Out of the thousands of students who have been members of the Gabrielino HS Speech & Debate Team, senior Alexandra “Lex” Singleton is only the fifth student to qualify for the National Championships each of her years in high school. After making it to the Championships in Duo her freshman year, and qualifying for the Octo-Finals, she went as a sophomore in Humor where she advanced to the Octo-Finals again. Her junior year included another trip to the largest academic competition in America, again in Humor. She concluded her illustrious speech career by qualifying in Duo for the 2017 National Championships this past June in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lex was honored on the Big Stage at the Championships for her accomplishment. Congrats Lex on an incredible career with The Screamin’ Eagles.
Tim Prepares For National Final Round
Senior and Team Co-Captain Tim Chung goes through mic checks in preparation for his performance in the National Final Round on Friday at 9am (Los Angeles Time).
For the 6th time in the past 7 years, The Screamin’ Eagles have a student in the Big Stage to compete in The Final Round of the National Speech and Debate Championships—the largest academic competition in America.
Out of 1000’s of students across America, over 200 students qualify for Nationals in each event. The Final Round is reserved for the the top 6 in each category.
Tim will perform in front of over 1000 people on stage at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center Concert Hall on Friday, June 23rd at 9am (Los Angeles Time).
His performance will also be broadcast live on the internet. Watch it here
The awards ceremony will also be broadcast beginning at 4:30pm (Los Angeles Time) on the same site.
Screamin’ Eagles Shine at Graduation
Just over a week after the 2016-17 edition of the Gabrielino school yearbook left out the speech team entirely, the Screamin’ Eagles took center stage at the graduation ceremony at the historic Santa Anita Racetrack.
14 team members were awarded with honor cords for their successes over the year and team co-captain Maya was one of two students chosen to deliver the commencement address to her classmates. “MKM”’s message centered around the incredible environment Gabrielino has that encourages students to be inquisitive.
The 2017 Screamin’ Eagles graduates will be attending, among other colleges, UC Berkeley, USC, Stanford, UC San Diego, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, CSU Sacramento, Grinnell and the University of Michigan.
Again this year, the seniors can claim they were a part of the GHS Speech & Debate Team that never lost a league speech tournament in their entire careers at the school. They can also boast for the rest of their lives they were a part of the top program in all of Southern California for three of their four years as well as placing 2nd in the entire state the past three years.
20 of the seniors, at one point in during their speech careers, qualified for the State Championships, 14 qualified for the National Championships and 12 were named Academic All-Americans. A dozen of the seniors are a part of the team going to Nationals this summer in Alabama where they will try to be recognized for the 10th straight year as a School of Excellence and place in the top 20 in America out of almost 4000 schools .
Even though the school yearbook forgot about them, the Screamin’ Eagles Class of 2017 will go down in the annals of Gabrielino Speech History as one of the greatest ever.
Congratulations Screamin’ Eagles. Apply all the lessons you’ve learned and skills you’ve developed to go do great things in life.
(story was edited to reflect the team has placed 2nd in the State the past three years, not two)
12 Screamin’ Eagles Named Academic All-Americans
It’s hard enough to be named one of the best speakers in the country. It’s not easy to be named one of the best students in the country. To do both simultaneously seems nearly impossible. It takes years of hard work not only in the classroom but in speech & debate competitions as well. Earning a near-perfect score on the SAT and/or ACT is also necessary to be considered for the award. Despite the difficult requirements, a dozen seniors on the Gabrielino Speech & Debate Team were recognized this past week by the National Speech and Debate Association for the Academic All American Awards.
The speakers excelled in all the requirements for the award; however, when it came time to take the group picture, it seemed that the tying of fancy lace-up high heels was a daunting task. Two-time National Qualifier, Deandra, is noticeably missing from the photo of the students who were honored. The senior commented, “I missed the picture because I was trying to figure out how to tie my new shoes. They’re really cute, but I guess really complicated at the same time”. One of the team’s coaches stated, “Deandra can tell you how to solve homelessness, health care and the middle class problems, but she can’t figure out how to tie her shoes. Some things are more difficult than others.”
The official statement from the team reads, “Once again, this year the Screamin’ Eagles have displayed excellence in competition and in the classroom. We are exceptionally proud of these 12 students. They have been able to take what they have learned in our program and at Gabrielino and cross-apply it to their studies and speeches. These students are great role-models for the entire student body to embellish”.
Nine of the twelve students honored will be closing out their high school careers at the National Championships this summer in Birmingham, Alabama.
Congratulations to our 2017 Academic All-Americans.
“The Kids” Have Their Day
This has been the “year of the kids” for the Screamin’ Eagles. Throughout the season, the novices on the team have excelled. They continued their winning ways at the Southern California Debate League’s Novice Championships held over two days at Alhambra and Gabrielino High Schools.
Friday was the time for the students to test their skills in the debate events at Alhambra. Many of the GHS competitors were trying out the events for the first time in their lives, yet they held their own and, after four rounds of debate, they came away with 14 trophies.
Gabrielino hosted the speech events on Saturday and almost all of the eligible students competed. Participants went through three preliminary rounds and the top seven from each of the 14 different events were selected to perform in the final round.
Even though six novice students were re-categorized into the varsity division because they qualified for the State and/or National Championships, the team managed to put 47 students in the final rounds, take first place in almost half the speech events and win the tournament for the 20th straight time by racking up almost 200 points.
It has been an incredible year for our “kids”. Their numbers may have been depleted, but their energy, talent and performances are undoubtedly among the best in the history of the program.
Way to go Screamin’ Eagles!
2017 Showcase a Success
The first six Speech Showcases at Gabrielino were held in a little cafetorium, which was originally built for an elementary school. After lunch ended on a Friday, the team would head down to the café and decorate the stage with trophies and banners. They would set up microphones on stage and folding chairs where lunch tables usually sit. With no air conditioning in the room, the 200 plus people watching would often sit in unbearable temperatures from the California heat in May.
Unseasonably cold and wet weather for the 2017 Screamin’ Eagles Showcase would have been a welcomed event in the days of the old cafeteria/auditorium/hotbox. However, the elements outside were not able to dampen the performances happening on the inside of the Goodson Auditorium.
Speaking to nearly capacity crowds both nights, Gabrielino’s Speech and Debate Team put forth 16 different performances that left the crowd in awe.
Friday night kicked off the Showcase weekend with an incredible performance of the Star Spangled Banner led by the outstanding senior singer, Calvin. The Captains then took the stage to sing a message of welcome set to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody.
When the curtains opened and the performances began, the audience was treated to an array of speeches: Jack and Beanstalk, building bridges, the dangers of milk, Middle East relations, conspiracy theories, school bullying, the price of happiness, and a woman with the ghost of her dead husband.
Saturday night offered a completely different line-up of speakers. The performances of the second night included speeches about open mindedness when dealing with different species of dogs, how the rich get richer, and tributes to military soldiers, helping the middle class, monsters, comedy writers, the importance of quality over quantity, and how young students learned how to use brains over brawn.
On Saturday, the Screamin’ Eagles Alumni were represented by Tony Law when he presented a generous donation on behalf of the alumni to the team.
Both nights were capped off by a humorous and impressive speedy review interpreted by Gabrielino’s top policy debate team.
The Showcase has come a long way over the past two decades from the old cafetorium to the Goodson Theater. But, regardless of the venue, the speakers and performers on the Gabrielino Speech & Debate Team continue to be bright shining stars on any stage.
State Back in SGV
It hadn’t happened since the 1980’s. Back in a time when MTV actually played music videos and before Gabrielino was even a thought, the 1985 California High School Speech and Debate Championships were held at Alhambra High School. Since then, the San Gabriel Valley had not hosted “State”. Each of the teams the Screamin’ Eagles sent to the California Championships had the luxury of staying at a hotel during the tournament. Until this year.
With Arcadia High School hosting the 2017 State tournament, Gabrielino had an opportunity to save some very valuable money and feel confident on their home turf. However, with the venue so nearby, it was a challenge to make sure the students were focused and prepared for the high level tournament.
While staying at a hotel ‑ with bed checks and sleepless nights ‑ can be a burden for the coaching staff, the annual trip does allow the staff to work longer with students to ensure they are prepared for the competition. It provides the team members with opportunities to bond with each other and focus on the craft for which they have so much passion and have spent so much time.
Every other year, the team leaves school on Thursday, has a team dinner that night at the hotel and sleeps in a little on Friday before leaving the hotel for the school around noon. This year, the team dinner was in the speech room at Gabrielino Thursday night and the students were sent home early to finish their homework for Friday’s classes. The students did not get to sleep in as many of them were back at school by 7am the next morning and attend their classes until finally departing for Arcadia after lunch.
The California State Championships are the longest, most drawn out tournament of the year. Friday, the first day of competition, only offered one round of competition for most of the team members even though they were on the Arcadia campus for eight hours. The tournament is too big to run all at once. There are three patterns of events. The GHS students who qualified in debate did get to have two rounds on the first day.
After spending a night at home in their own beds, the Screamin’ Eagles came to perform their final two preliminary rounds on Saturday. The competitors qualifying for the semi-final round were announced very late Saturday night. The students were forced to celebrate “breaking to Semis” by themselves instead of in hotel rooms with their teammates. With the second most qualifiers for Semis out all all the schools at the tournament, the team was in a great position.
Sunday brought extreme temperatures to the Valley. The small classrooms at Arcadia were packed and sweltering with competitors and observers. After the breaks for finals were announced, Gabrielino had more in the round than any other school in the State.
The Arcadia Performing Arts Center hosted the Awards Ceremony. There the team’s 24 Semi-Finalists and 11 Finalists would be presented with their trophies and learn their places in the 60th annual tournament. Senior Co-Captain Tim led all Screamin’ Eagles by winning the State Championship in International Extemp. Senior Calvin was the State Runner-Up in Humorous Interpretation. The team earned 68 points and placed 2nd out of the 160 plus schools that qualified for the competition. This is the third year in a row GHS has been the runner-up in the State and the 15th time in the past 17 years the team has been the top program in the entire southern half of California. It also marks the second time the team was the top public school program at the competition.
Calvin said, “it was a great experience. I even met the people who wrote the play I’m performing. They came up and introduced themselves to me as the authors and I was shocked. It was a great honor and so very nice of them to seek me out to introduce themselves. They were very supportive and excited I chose their work to perform”
One of the special moments for the students’ experience happened to Co-Captain Tiffany. The senior’s speech this year ties four pieces of literature around the central theme of the rich getting richer and the poor getting by. One of the works she performs is about a young girl discussing how her family has been forced to sell their home and live in their car. Following one of Tiffany’s performances, a woman approached her and shared that before she had become a teacher, she and her child were homeless and living in her car. She told Tiffany she was rooting for her. Tiffany offered her reflections on the impactful interaction she had, “she reminded me of exactly why I participate in this activity. You rarely get to see and meet the people you represent. Seeing someone directly affected by homelessness greatly reaffirmed my purpose in speech.”
One coach commented, “this was a difficult and unique experience for our kids and coaches. Yet, they came focused, worked hard, prepared and performed at or above the same level as our past teams. We are all proud and feel extremely thankful to be a part of such an amazing program.”
The Screamin’ Eagles results and successes at the 2017 State Championships were incredible, record tying and came in spite of not having had a long bus ride or a hotel to fully prepare for the competition. Way to go Screamin’ Eagles.
1st Ever State Champion in Extemp
Senior Co-Captain Tim had a choice to make at the State Qualifying Tournament this past March at Cal. St. Long Beach. After qualifying for the State Championships in both of his speech events, Tim was forced to choose between International Extemp and Original Advocacy. He had success throughout the year in both events and had already qualified to the National Championships in Extemp because he placed in top 14 in it last year at the 2016 Salt Lake City Nationals.
Last year at State, Tim placed 5th in Advocacy while his good friend and teammate, Elysia was 4th . Both students qualified in Advocacy this year and Tim could have tried to close out State with Elysia by earning a 1-2 finish. Instead, he chose to drop his OA and try his luck with Extemp. One of the coaches commented, “he’s going to focus on one event to see what he can do at State and Nationals”.
The entire state saw what Tim could do. After three rounds of competition, Tim was in fourth place going into the Semi-Finals. A decent speech put Tim in fifth place and 6 points behind the leader going into the final round. There, he gave a fantastic speech and performed remarkably during cross examination to make up ground and win the Championship.
Tim commented, “it was not easy and certainly hard fought. There are so many exceptional speakers from teams throughout California. I respect them all very much. I’m proud I was able to represent Gabrielino and the Southern California Debate League in such a great manner”.
Up until this year, the highest placing Gabrielino Extemper had been Kevin Ye placing 2nd in U.S. Extemp in 2011. The best showing in International Extemp had been Alex Ye placing 3rd in 2014 and Patrick Wu placing 3rd in 2010.
The top 56 speakers from 11 different leagues qualified in the event of International Extemp for the State Championships held at Arcadia HS during the last weekend in April. Over 300 students competed at the 11 state qualifying tournaments held across California.
Tim’s friend, Elysia, didn’t make it as far as she did last year in her event, but she didn’t let that dampen her enthusiasm for her teammate. She said, “his accomplishments don’t define him, they happen because of him. His incredible character and personality have shown through more and more throughout the years. He was definitely a light on that final round stage.”
The choice Tim made in a lecture hall at CSU Long Beach in early March didn’t seem like a major decision, but in retrospect, it was very wise and a great move. Tim said, “often times, speech comes down to personal preference from the judges. I can only focus on what I can control. I try to prepare and focus on delivering the best speeches I can. I’m really lucky that my coaches help me and encourage me in the process. Our coaches are some of the best in America and for that, we should all be proud.”
The entire Screamin’ Eagles Team, past and current, are proud of Tim and his record breaking performance. Way to go Tim!!!
Screamin’ Eagles’ Parents Serve Up State Feast
Saturday night at the State Championships was when the GHS parents made their mark on the tournament. Armed with steaming sterno and warming trays, the Screamin’ Eagles Boosters delivered and served an incredible dinner to the 250 plus judges from across the state adjudicating the tournament.
Led by Booster Vice President, Melissa Cook, the meal included handmade tortillas, chicken, steak and fajita vegetables as part of the taco bar along with fresh chips, salsa, and pan dulce sweet bread. Trader Joe’s cookies along with cookies and brownies from Dave and Busters were available as sweet treats to compliment the savory meal. The entire spread was decorated in the same creative manner competitors are used to seeing at all tournaments at Gabrielino.
Preceding the big night, the Parent Boosters solicited cash and food donations from the team’s parents and local businesses. Hundreds of dollars were collected and led to the awesome meal. 10 members of the booster organization were present at Arcadia High School to help serve the judges their final meal of the day before the final two rounds of competition for the day.
The Team released an official statement on the parents’ efforts. It read,
“The Gabrielino dinner provided by our Boosters at the State Championships at Arcadia HS was absolutely incredible. Coaches from around the state were very impressed.