Speech team starts competitive season with wins, top awards

By Cardling del Real & Jesus Figueroa

The East Los Angeles College Speech Team competed at Grossmont College in El Cajon, east of San Diego, on Nov. 15 and 16 and a total of 19 Elans earned awards at the tournament.

The team is ranked second among colleges as a team, after recently competing in two tournaments in November. The team started its winning season in late October.

To start off its new season, they won eight top awards at the 42nd Watson-Lancer tournament in Pasadena, California.

Speech team member Gordon Ip won top honor of tournament champion in Poetry Interpretation as he won first place through every round of the competition.

Team member Israel Beltran was unanimously voted tournament champion in Program Oral Interpretation.

Team member Chloe Romero was voted top honors, while fellow team member Thomas Martinez took second place in Prose Interpretation.

The team competed on Nov. 9 at a tournament at California State University, Northridge, where 16 of 19 ELAC students received awards.

The Speech Team directors J. Edward Stevenson and Ryan Smith train and mentor the students to prepare for the tournament.

The students use verbal and nonverbal skills to convey a message or a story. They use poetry, prose, pieces of literature and writing of their own.

Stevenson said that speech teaches students to use their voice, eyes and hand gestures as one whole way to express a message or story.

The students interpret literature in a competitive setting. Speech allows students to “speak up” on topics going on or thoughts about a particular subject.

Stevenson has done communication consulting and coaching sessions at ELAC for three years and has been a director for the speech team for two years.

Stevenson said that being a part of the Speech Team can help students increase self confidence, gain public speaking skills, learn critical thinking skills and also earn college credit for participation.

The ELAC speech team was third in the nation this past April after competing at the Phi Rho Pi National Championship Tournament in Denver, Colorado on April 12. The team won two silver awards. More than 350 students from 41 colleges across the nation participated in the tournament.

The team looks to continue its tournament success leading up to regional, state and national championships through the end of the academic school year.

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