Freshmen Lead Debate Team Victory


Photo by Michelle Tiburcio

Freshmen Francisco Puig-Gomez, Adalid Vargas, Jose Rendon, and Jimena Resendiz-Carillo posing with their awards after the tournament on Jan.14 at EPAA High

The Debate team wrapped up its season with a string of victories, led by freshmen who overcame their beginners’ nerves.

On Jan. 14 at East Palo Alto Academy, students from the Silicon Valley Debate League competed in the Larry Itliong Tournament. With eight teams participating from three schools, the Panthers once again achieved success.

In Novice Policy, freshmen Jose Rendon III and Jimena Resendiz-Carrillo took the top spots, winning first and second speaker awards, respectively. Throughout the season, Eastside freshmen have been successful at overcoming nervousness and performing despite being novices. Jimena, for example, despite feeling anxious and new to debate, made finals and also participated in Maverick debate without a partner.

Before joining the Debate team, Jimena tended to stay quiet and wasn’t the communicator she is today, she said.

“I used to not ask as many questions,” Jimena said. Now, she added, “I like arguing. I like the back and forth, seeing who has the best information and seeing why.”

Senior Stephany Urbina-Diaz agreed that participating in Debate has helped her in other ways.

“It’s a big confidence booster,” she said.

Stephany said Debate helped her prepare for the 20-minute long SRI presentation by teaching her to present information in a methodical way, and to overcome her fear of speaking out loud.

“It helps you keep track of what’s happening in the world,” she said. “It provides you with real world issues that really matter”.

Speech and Debate is much more than just arguing back and forth. Debaters discuss important topics such as gene editing, law, and disinformation. Speech and Debate has provided many students skills they will use in their daily lives, whether for a quick Spanish presentation or an important and detailed presentation for SRI.