August 31st, 2017
Welcome to Cupertino Speech and Debate!

Welcome back to another year of Speech and Debate at CHS!
This year promises to be filled with many great tournaments and memories.

We would like to welcome our two new Co-Presidents to the CHS Speech and Debate Boosters Organization: Mr. Yu and Mrs. Manickam. Please feel to stop by a Boosters meeting throughout the year to show your support for what our parents do. It is every last Wednesday of the month in my classroom at 4:30 pm.

Our new slate of officers has a great vision for what this year should look like. The Executive team of Anoop Balakrishnan, Meesha Reiisieh, Ethan Qi, and Akshita Gorantla worked hard over the summer to put on a successful speech and debate camp (raising thousands of dollars for our program) as well as a number of meetings with the officers to help the year go smoother. We will have a more streamlined club this year and we hope to make many of our processes more efficient.

This year, the State Tournament will be at Mountain House High School in Tracy. Last year, we had several breaks at State, and hope to build on that. The National Tournament will be in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Your tournament record throughout the year will determine whether you get an invite to the qualifiers for these tournaments. Over the summer, Vanitha Vemula and Sohan Vichare attended Nationals.

We offer a number of speech contests throughout the year, several of which offer money to winners. The Rotary contest, the Lions contest, and the Lockheed Martin contest, are some of many competitions. In the past, we have had much success in these. We will be looking for talented students to represent CHS at these contests.

I look forward to working with each of you soon. Remember to work hard at your event, ask questions, and have fun!
Mr. De

About our organization

The National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) is the world’s largest honor society devoted to speech and debate activities. It awards and recognizes students, coaches and schools. The NSDA also hosts the largest academic competition in the world, the National Speech & Debate Tournament. Members have access to resources, tournaments, publications, and scholarships.

Cupertino Speech and Debate

With Cupertino Speech and Debate ranking 5th in the Coast Forensic League, it is one of the most competitive, high-achieving and largest student club in Cupertino High School. With the help of coaches and student instructors with well-equipped experience through their qualifications to various nationally recognized tournaments, Cupertino Speech and Debate has won sweeps, meaning winning tournaments overall, in MLK 2 years in a row, State Qualifiers, SCU and UOP. Many members have achieved elimination and final rounds at many prestigious national tournaments such as Berkeley, Stanford, ASU, UoP, National Qualifiers, and so on. Our club administration has planned weekly curriculums that will enhance and develop one’s speaking and presenting skills as well as prepare them for future competitions.

Tino Speech and Debate's Successful Summer Camp

This summer, Cupertino High School hosted its very own summer camp taught by qualified student captains. Open to incoming 8th and 9th graders, for both novice and experienced students, the camp offered three events including Congressional debate, Impromptu speech and Extemporaneous speech. For three days, from July 31 to August 2, students participated and competed in one event of their choice, learning through lectures, drills, small group lab meetings, and watching demo speeches.

Our Try-Out System

This year, Cupertino Speech and Debate is incorporating a new try-out system. The club will be split into two sections, a Competition Team and a Club Team. Trying out is a twofold process: all prospective competitions team members are to apply with a “written application” which consists of cases/blocks for prepared debate events as well as a written report on specific current event topics. The second part involves a skills based test for those who have been selected from the application process. Here, members will be tested on their speaking skills and their adaptive thinking ability. Event captains will prepare members for tryouts and will provide more detailed information in the upcoming weeks. In the end we will have a total of 100 members in the competition team of all grades, with approximately 10 Seniors, 15 Juniors, 35 Sophomores and 35 Freshmen.

It will ask of all freshmen to double enter in one speech and one debate event. Returning members are encouraged to double enter as well.
Club Team members are welcome to attend practices to continue acquiring Speech & Debate skills, but we cannot allow them to attend tournaments. The Club Team will act as a waitlist for the Competition Team.


A Debate Captain's Experience
by Leo Rassieur
It isn’t easy walking into a tournament knowing that I may be blindsided by a topic I know nothing about, and that’s definitely happened more than once so far during my two years competing in parliamentary debate. But I’ve learned a lot from those two years, not least of which being a number of perplexing acronyms for key international organizations (how can you expect a fifteen-year-old to know what OPEC stands for?), and I’ve used this knowledge to my advantage. Perhaps the most rewarding part of competing in parli is using my past mistakes to escalate my debate strategy. Now I am in the role of being an expert on BRICS and the ICC, while my opponents might struggle to define NATO. Of course, no amount of experience will guarantee that I am able to craft a coherent argument for a resolution in a measly twenty minutes, but that’s exciting too—every round is a chance to do a whole lot better than last time, or maybe the team that I usually have trouble with might stumble when the subject of the debate is now my area of expertise. That’s what makes every moment in every round memorable, not just the successes that come from getting lucky, but also making the most out of what initially appears to be an uphill battle (attacking environmental regulations, space exploration, or the very idea of taxation). And by learning how easy it is to adopt new opinions and perspectives every hour of a tournament, I’ve learned how much more there is to politics and ethics than I first understood as a child through listening passively as my parents discussed these topics. Maybe that's why I love debate: it made me realize that the ideas I once thought were beyond my capabilities are just as acessible to teenagers as they are to adults.

A Speech Captain's Experience
by Kendra Caruth
The opportunity to participate in speech is something that I will be forever grateful for, for it has enhanced my overall high school experience. By practicing impromptu speaking, I was able to improve my ability to speak on the spot far beyond what I ever imagined I could do. I gained the skill of speaking with structure, purpose, and emotion. These are skills that are applicable to everyday situations such as school work, making my everyday life run smoother and be more enjoyable.

The ability to speak with inflection, structure, and appropriate body language has allowed me to succeed in countless presentations and speeches in school. Before I joined impromptu, I struggled with speaking using proper inflection, structure, and body language. Now, I often find myself applying my knowledge from impromptu speaking directly to school speeches or presentations. I believe that if I never joined speech, I would still struggle with public speaking to this day.

Throughout my high school experience, I have also applied the speaking skills that I acquired from impromptu speaking to my writing. I used to struggle with maintaining structure in my writing prior to joining speech. After practicing maintaining structure in my speaking, It became easier for me to maintain a strong structure while writing for school. This has drastically improved my writing, something that I never imagined would happen through joining speech.

To this day, I am still pleasantly surprised with the many applications of the speech skills that I learned through impromptu. I will be forever grateful that I was presented with the opportunity to join speech because it will continue to help me with my high school career and the rest of life.

Created by: Grace Till and Esha Radhakrishnan

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