Speech team brings home gold, bronze

By Gustavo Buenrostro

Members of the East Los Angeles College speech team felt that preparation played a key role in their third consecutive gold win at the Phi Rho Pi National Forensic Organization competition April 17 in Washington, D.C.

Speech team coach David Hale said that preparing was key when they were discussing the topics for the speech.

Little details, like clothing and hand movements, was something the team discussed and prepared. What made this year different for the speech team was that they didn’t feel as competitive for the win. Instead, they focused more on their the passion for speeches.

“Now it feels about advocacy. So much of what we won with, in both state and nationals, were things that I cared about. We won because we had passion about our topics. It was a different approach that I had then when I first started coaching,” Hale said.

Hale said that Ryan Smith, professor and department chair of communications, was a big help, and that if it wasn’t for him, the team could not have done as good as they did.

He said that another contributing factor to the victory was that they had a platform to work with this year. Hale said that Alixandria Lopez, the assistant coach for the speech team, built and developed the platform team which helped the team win the gold.

Magdalene Jacinto and Jonathan Tapia won duo interpretation, using literature that helps their topic about the struggle for education equality.

Jacinto said that when they prepared the speeches, she used other members of the team to get feedback and help improve the speech she and Tapia did.

Team president Edward Kunkle received a total of three awards, which included a bronze in the categories of Communication Analysis, Program Oral Interpretation and a gold in Persuasive Speaking—the first ELAC has won in that platform. Kunkle said the tournament was overwhelming and that he still felt pressure going into the competition.

“The tournament is high stakes, it’s really big and we are a small school. For us, every round counts. Me and Layla felt like we had to make our rounds count a little more because we were the veterans,” Kunkle said.

Layla Ramos won gold in Poetry Interpretation and won bronze in Communication Analysis. Erik Clerc won bronze in After Dinner Speaking and Arthur Kozloyan won bronze in Program Oral Interpretation.

Ramos shared Kunkle’s sentiment because they were both experienced in the competition. “Coming back as a returner, being on the team that won last year, I think I felt a lot of pressure. I knew what it was like the year before, and I didn’t want be part of the team that broke that tradition,” Ramos said.

She added that the pressure was definitely a motivator to do better in the competition. Peter Lopez Balanos won bronze in Prose Interpretation.

Balanos entered the competitions later than the rest. He said that winning was a monumental moment in his life so far. Bolanos said if they focused on getting the gold, then they wouldn’t have won it.

It was more about improving as speakers than it was about winning. However, they still focused on getting the speeches right. Hale said that the current United States political climate impacted some of the topics that students talked about in their speeches.

“We got there three days earlier and we were hard at work. We worked hard in that tournament, and to see all that work pay off was very satisfying,” Balanos said.

“The persuasive speech that took gold, that had to deal with drug addictions that are now done within the United States. They are based off newly created nuisance laws,” Hale said.

“What we found is that landlords now have the ability to evict people for ticky-tacky reasons.” Hale added that, because they have won three times now, there is a bit of breathing room.

Some of the pressure is lifted off because they are a legacy team, which Hale explains as a team who has a reputation in that competition. He said that there is now an expectation for ELAC to do consistently well.

Competitions for the speech team this semester are over. Hale said the 2017 fall semester will be a good semester for the team because those returning will have experience going into the next competitions.

COURTESY OF SPEECH COACH RYAN SMITH

 

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