Speech and debate team holds annual speech showcase


Tiffany Wong

Extemporaneous speaker Meha Goyal (9) addresses the possibility of the Democratic Party gaining a majority in the House of Representatives in 2018. Today’s annual Speech Showcase was held in Nichols Auditorium from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

by Tiffany Wong, Aquila News Editor

Six members of the speech and debate team performed in this year’s Speech Showcase from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Nichols Auditorium today.

Featured students included original oratory speakers junior Alycia Cary (“Play Like a Girl”), junior Nikhil Dharmaraj (“Magical Thoughts and Where to Find Them”) and junior Haris Hosseini (“The Man Problem”) as well as program oral interpretation speaker sophomore Nikki Solanki (“No Apologies”). Extemporaneous speakers Avi Gulati (10) and Meha Goyal (9) delivered seven-minute speeches on the possibility of achieving peace in the Korean peninsula and of the Democratic Party gaining a majority in the House of Representatives in 2018, respectively, after 30 minutes of preparation outside the auditorium.

“I made the decision to start oratory three months ago; the upper school’s previous speech coach, Ms. Hazeltine, had been encouraging me to do it since student council elections last year,” Alycia said. “When I was talking to Mr. Odekirk, I proposed multiple topics and he cut me off and just started talking about the whole ethos, pathos, logos triangle. He asked me, ‘why do you want to give a speech? What is something personal in your life that makes you feel the need to use your words in this way?’ That’s how I really got started in this event.”

Speech and Congressional debate coach Scott Odekirk emceed the event, introducing each student and describing their competition event before each performance. He sent an email out to students and faculty earlier this week inviting all to today’s showcase.

“Generally, across the country, speech and debate functions in the shadows of every school. It’s not set up for spectatorship, so each team has to be creative about how they promote what they’re doing,” Odekirk said. “In my experience, it’s best to try to create showcases or situations where people can see what we do. The beautiful thing about this one was the variety of students we had ready to speak, which makes it really distinct, and also the level of participation that we had. We’re proud of it, and so we’re happy to do it.”

Following the last speech, family and friends of the performers gathered in Nichols Atrium to congratulate all participating students.

Upcoming speech and debate tournaments include the California High School Speech Association State Tournament from April 20 to 22 at Mountain House High School in Mountain House and the Tournament of Champions from April 28 to 30 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.