By AKUL GUPTA
On Friday, Feb. 9, the Redlands East Valley Speech and Debate team travelled to Stanford University in Palo Alto to put their skills to the test at one of the biggest annual tournaments held in California. They began competing every morning at eight, not being able to return to their hotels until nine at night. Each of the competitors had mentally prepared themselves to come out on top of every other adversary they were to compete against in their event of choice.
The debate captain, Ian Finley, earned the title of the fifth best speaker and the speech captain, Lea Mulan Clark, was Stanford Varsity Champion in Expository, winning a trophy and a Kindle Fire as prizes. Caroline Irving and Alex Kristoffersen won ninth place out of more than 130 teams in Parliamentary Debate. Ian Finley stated, “Overall, the best part of the trip is always just being with the team. They make it so much fun.” He gave the credit for their success to the two Speech and Debate coaches, Eva Shinnerl and Stephen Verdon.
When asking students about the competition Irving commented, “Stanford was a really amazing experience because it truly represents the culmination of all the tremendous parts of Speech and Debate: the high caliber competition, the long work-filled days, and the precious moments in between spent with teammates and friends. Truly it is an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.” Amy Underwood had a similar view on the competition and stated, “Stanford was an absolutely amazing experience! We bonded so much as a team, and were able to compete against the very talented competition.” These students made it apparent that the long hours they spent together and the work they put in side-by-side made their trip a truly memorable experience.
So far, the Redlands East Valley Speech and Debate team has participated in numerous tournaments all throughout the year, winning awards in various events. On March 3, they will be taking part in the Debate State Qualifiers, and on March 10, they will compete in the Speech State Qualifiers. Their goal is to move on to the state competition and bring home multiple gold medals.