Debaters clash in exhibition

Orators prepare for tournament by hosting scrimmage


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Speech and debate team members Erick Vaughn (left) and Diamonique Spain (center) listen and take notes on Ohlone College speech and debate team member Maneer Singh’s, (right) speech during a parliamentary debate scrimmage against Ohlone in AA-102 on Oct. 7.

By Lorenzo Morotti, Editor-in-Chief

The speech and debate team hosted a preliminary debate scrimmage against Ohlone College in AA-102 on Oct. 7.

Contra Costa College’s debate team participated in the scrimmage to prepare for the Biggest Little City Classic, a speech and debate tournament to be held at the University of Nevada-Reno from Friday through Sunday, interim speech and debate director John Perez said.

Speech department Chairperson Sherry Diestler said while eight speech and debate students are expected to compete in the Biggest Little City Classic, only two competed in the scrimmage against the Ohlone team on Oct 7.

Speech and debate team member Diamonique Spain said, “The BLCC will be my second tournament. I’m excited. We don’t have to pay for anything. Not even food.”

The speech and debate team will join fellow Northern California schools such as Diablo Valley College and Ohlone College at the BLCC in Reno.

The speech and debate team’s prior competitive experience was during an Intramural Speech Tournament held at San Francisco State University from Sept. 26 to 28.

Diestler said out of the 26 teams competing in the Northern California division, Spain and her debate partner Erick Vaughn took sixth place.

Spain is majoring in communications and minoring in English. She was awarded the gold for programmed oral interpretation and for impromptu speaking.

“We went into the final round with an undefeated record after beating Cal State-Chico, San Francisco State, University of the Pacific, DVC and Solano Community College,” Diestler said. “We are here to show the community that our (speech) students can compete and do better than many four-year (university students).”

Perez said the trip will cost about $2,000 for eight speech and debate students to compete in the BLCC. The funds will pay for food, gas and hotel expenses.

Diestler said the funding will come from the $8,000 budget the team is allotted that must be rationed for the various trips the team takes throughout the academic year.

Perez said, “(The budget) is very small compared to other schools, so we have to stretch the funds as far as possible.”
Perez said, “These scrimmages are very competitive and prepare the team for larger (forensic) events and to push for more points past the preliminary debate rounds.”

Spain and Vaughn debated against Ohlone College’s Manveer Singh and Jose Pelcastre on whether or not the Ebola virus outbreak should be ignored or addressed by the United States government. CCC debated in favor of ignoring the outbreak after Ohlone’s debaters won the coin toss.

Perez said in parliamentary debates the contestants are judged on how well they deal with impromptu speaking because the debatable topic is unknown until soon before the event starts.

“Critical thinking is the most important skill events like these help students develop,” Perez said.
After the debate had finished, both teams were given a constructive critique by Perez and Ohlone’s speech professor Andrea Adams.

Spain said, “I think (the scrimmage) helped me to be more organized in my speeches and to critically think to create plans to reach a resolution (for the debatable topic).”

Adams and Perez said both teams failed to come to a resolution over the Ebola topic by the end of the debate scrimmage.

Spain said, “(The critique) was good. Nobody likes to hear where and how you messed up but that is how you grow as a person and become better.”

Diestler said the upcoming BLCC tournament will be another opportunity to show local high school students, who want to compete in debate, that CCC is one of their best options.