By Katrina Gabrelian
The Speech and Debate team competed in the annual West Los Angeles National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) District Championships where three members from each category qualified to compete in the NSDA National Championship.
About 30 schools from Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, and Orange County competed in the tournament, and from all the students participating, three GHC students qualified to move on to compete in June. Seniors Diego Borgsdorf and Megha Jain and sophomore Sarina Fereydooni performed outstanding speeches that allowed them to advance.
Borgsdorf placed second in extemporaneous speaking and third in informative speaking, and Jain placed first in international extemporaneous speaking, which made her the district champion for the second year in a row. In addition to those who participated in the online tournament, Cassidy Dalva was able to qualify for the National championship based on her performance at last year’s national event.
From speeches about Saudi Arabia’s troop withdrawal from Yemen to the concept of genius, this year’s speeches were delivered in a nontraditional way. Although most of the competition occurred via an online Zoom meeting, some portions of the competition required a pre-recorded video, which gave competitors an advantage.
“Since we can re-record our speeches however many times we’d like in this online format, we were able to get a performance that was as close to perfect as we could muster, something we’re not always able to do,” Borgsdorf said.
However, the lack of personal interactionconnection has taken away from the experience that participants from the team cherish and value.
“Competing online is definitely a very different experience. Instead of waiting in a prep room with all my fellow competitors to draw my question for that round, we were all put in an online prep room. In the past, this prep room is where I have made lifelong friends from other teams,” Jain said.
The Speech and Debate team has worked hard to overcome the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the competition. They have learned to take advantage of the new rules to compete to the best of their ability.
If you wish to see the Speech and Debate Team continuously overcome the new obstacles they are facing, stay tuned for the National Event that will be taking place online this June.