Minarets Speech and Debate Team Takes the Win at First In Person Tournament

The Minarets speech and debate team attended their first in-person tournament on Oct. 2 at James C. Enochs High School in Modesto.

Although the school’s speech and debate team was founded last year by Living Pro teacher Mikendra McCoy, they were not able to attend any in-person tournaments due to COVID-19. However, they still had many exceptional achievements, with junior Katherine Havens and junior Sophia Kennedy going to the state competition and junior Keana Hokama going to the national competition.

Only one tournament in, the team is already beginning to show signs of maintaining this position of excellence, as all five attendees that competed placed in their individual events. Junior Kendra Battcher placed 4th in oratorical interpretation, senior Helena Palsgaard placed 3rd in oratorical interpretation, freshman Laura DeSilva placed 3rd in humorous interpretation, senior Hazel Taintor placed 2nd in national extemporaneous, and junior Noah Sanchez placed 1st in original prose and poetry.

From left to right: junior Kendra Battcher, sophomore Matisen DeBenedetto, senior Helena Palsgaard, junior Jaylin Hogan, freshman Laura DeSilva, senior Hazel Taintor, and junior Noah Sanchez

DeSilva, one of the only freshmen on the team, said she learned much from attending.

“I think it was a really fun experience and I got to experience what it was like to go to a tournament and I think that it helped a lot with my confidence. I learned to just be yourself ‘cause no matter what, you’re going to do fine,” said DeSilva.

Because it was DeSilva’s first time competing, she competed in the novice category of the humorous interpretation event. However, because there were so few in this category, she was then moved into varsity, competing against those who had been doing the event for some time. Despite this, DeSilva still placed 3rd.

The team will attend their next tournament on Nov. 6.

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