Speech and debate continues success

Team has qualified for state in 15 events, hope for more


Valeria De La Cruz, Writer

TM’s speech and debate team is competing in virtual invitational tournaments in order to receive state qualifications. As of December 8,  the team has 15 state qualifications. Among those qualifications are Jackeline Zapata, with two state qualifications, Shreya Komire with 1 state qualification, and Marysa Lozano with two as well. State is scheduled for March 11.

What does this accomplishment mean to you and your team?

Jackeline Zapata ’22

Being able to qualify for state has truly meant a lot to me in terms of the growth that has come from it. Starting this out my seventh grade year, I never would’ve imagined myself being able to effectively manage the difficult workload of debate while simultaneously being successful, but looking at my progress now, it has been more humbling and amazing than I could ever put into words. Most importantly to note, seeing my teammates achieve these qualifications to state as well makes me feel great knowing that the work I’ve put into everyone’s progress and contribution to the team has paid off!

Shreya Komire ’22

This accomplishment is incredibly meaningful to the team considering the coronavirus pandemic. We thought it would be very hard to have a season, but so far we have had virtual tournaments we’ve been doing pretty well as a team. We hope to continue our legacy at state, last year we ranked second in the state while receiving many other awards both individually and as a team, this year both as an officer and a team member I hope we get to continue that legacy and create a new one.

Marysa Lozano ’22

This accomplishment is a huge deal to myself and the team. Every summer, before the school year even starts, we begin prepping for the year to come. And throughout the school year, we spend every weekend competing against other schools around the state to be able to prepare for the actual state tournament to come.  It’s awesome to see all of our hard work pay off.

What can you tell us about the events you compete in at state?,

Zapata: As of right now, I am currently state qualified in congressional debate as well as domestic extemporaneous speaking. Congressional debate simulates an actual United States Congress in which a group of 15–20 people debate a series of bills and resolutions and argue for or against them, followed by a short questioning period as well. Additionally, domestic extemp speaking gives you a choice of three topics relating to current events in the US, and after picking just one topic, you are given 30 minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech pertaining to the topic!

Komire: Right now at state I will be doing foreign extemporaneous speaking, I have qualifications in the runs for three other events, those being cross-examination debates, domestic extemporaneous speaking, and informative speaking. Foreign extemp is an event where you get 30 minutes to prepare given a question that has to do with foreign news and then a speech is given, domestic extemp is similar except instead of foreign news it’s domestic news, cross examination debate is a partner debate where it’s two vs. two and this year’s topic is about criminal justice reform and we present cases and decide and debate about it, and informative speaking is speaking about any topic at all given 10 minutes and we’re allowed to create visual aids to inform our audience about whatever it is that we want.

Lozano: So far, this year I will be taking 2 events to state: POI (Program of Oral Interpretation) and HI (Humorous Interpretation). POI is a 10- minute event that involves weaving of different articles, prose, poetry, and sometimes plays to portray a topic that you’re passionate about. It’s definitely one of the tougher events, due to the fact that youŕe creating your own story/script rather than memorizing an already written one. For HI, that’s exactly what it is. Again, it’s a 10 minute memorized event that tells the audience a humorous story with different portrayed characters. They’re both my favorite events by far, and I’m so happy to be taking them to state.

How do you feel having a state qualification?

Zapata: It feels truly fulfilling knowing all of my hard work has paid off and all of my progress and countless hours put into preparing for every tournament has been worth it. Speech and Debate has given me a platform to advocate for the things I care about, and to be able to qualify on the state level for an organization that is sincerely close to my heart is amazing in every way possible!

Komire: I’m glad to have state qualifications. My freshman year I had always hoped to become state qualified, last year during my sophomore year I qualified in one event, and this year so far I’m qualified in one event and have points running for three other events. It’s exciting it feels like a large accomplishment because we get to be able to compete against some of the best people in the state, make new friends and learn more about the speech and debate community.

Lozano: I feel very proud and thankful. Freshman year I didn’t have a single qualification, and here I am now about to take three. It’s incredible to look back and see the growth. I’m very appreciative of Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Esquivel, and all of my teammates who have helped me get this far and successful in this organization. 

How are you feeling about state?

ZapataIf I’m being honest, state is going to be really difficult, and I’m not gonna guarantee it’ll be easy, but I’m going to put in my best effort and work on doing the best I can, which can possibly pave the path for a better result at state!

Komire: I’m both excited and a little nervous. Because of the coronavirus pandemic. I really don’t know how state is going to play out right now but I’m ready to compete and hope to advance in my events.

Lozano: Of course the nerves are still there, but overall I’m so excited. Of course with the circumstances this year we’re unsure of whether or not we will be traveling, but knowing that the team has as many qualifications as we do, I know we’ll make the best of it with each other. 

Do you have a favorite event, if so can you tell me a bit about it and why it’s your favorite?

Zapata: My absolute favorite event is congress, particularly because it is super engaging and we’re able to discuss different topics and be informed about current events affecting our world. Congress has made me fall in love with speech and debate far more than I already did, and I aspire to someday be a future congresswoman in life! Placing at state, particularly in Congress would be life changing for me and would make me love congress even more because of how passionate I am about this goal!

KomireForeign extemp is my favorite event this year, talking about foreign news sometimes it’s a little better than talking about our insane domestic news but I enjoyed this event because I’m able to learn more about international news and speak about it as well in an impactful way. I actually used to hate this event towards the beginning of my speech and debate career, but now after being in finals with UIL and TFA state champions. I’ve learned more and  have been grateful to have been in finals alongside some of those state finalists and champions.

What do you like about your event(s)?

Zapata: The ability to not only be informed about important current events in the world but also be able to publicly voice my opinion about life changing political topics is what I love most about my events in debate. Using your voice to speak about the things that matter the most in this world is truly the most important quality of these events.

Can you tell us about a memorable prompt you had for one of your events?

Zapata: Specifically, this year, one of the bills debated was about recognizing the Mexican Femicide, which was super important to me as a Mexican woman. It was really important to me learning about this important issue and the position of the Mexican government on it as well. To think that this ongoing issue is still present has truly struck me hard, and it’s been interesting to learn about.

KomireI’m not too sure I’ve had a memorable prompt for any of my extemp speeches  but I think this year I guess I could say a memorable topic would be the Criminal Justice Reform Topic in cross-examination debate because it’s such a prevalent issue in our society today and getting to speak about it is one way to raise voices and raise awareness about the truth and to debate what would be the best for us and our country.

LozanoYes! This year my POI topic is about high teen pregnancy rates among hispanic girls, and how it’s due to the lack of sexual education and high cultural standards. I chose this topic to dedicate to my mom, who had me young also. In my piece’s intro I describe how her story inspires me greatly, and it is by far my favorite topic I’ve performed.

What are you doing to prepare for state?

KomireIn order to prepare for state we have been competing at virtual tournaments in order for us to get that asynchronous and synchronous, live-round experience. Besides that we are obviously continuing our practices and will continue throughout the Christmas break, we have a few more tournaments in the spring season but between now and then, we do our work both in class and as homework. 

LozanoI am running over my pieces almost everyday, and working to perfect them all the time. After every tournament, I take the critiques I receive and really work to incorporate and tweak whatever I feel I need to in order to make my performances the best they can be.