On Saturday, Nov. 12, Bonita Vista High School’s Speech and Debate club competed in the San Diego Imperial Valley Speech League tournament at Canyon Crest Academy in the events; Lincoln Douglas, congressional and policy debate. The tournament was led by substitute adviser Traci Talamantez and the leading officers senior Vice President of Speech Mary Talamantez and junior Vice President of Debate Gilbert Neuner. They were asked to take these positions due to adviser Eric Helle and club president Danielle Bloom’s absence.
T. Talamantez is a credentialed elementary school teacher, which according to Helle makes it easier for her to work with students. She has gained experience from watching her daughter M. Talamantez participate in tournaments throughout her four years in the Speech and Debate club. As an adviser, T. Talamantez was accountable for registering the BVH Speech and Debate competitors in addition to distributing and collecting ballots.
“If I can help the club in any way I will do it. I know the kids put in a lot of time and I would hate for them to lose a tournament just because no one was able to be their adviser,” T. Talamantez said.
T. Talamantez has been a judge for various tournaments in the past and stated that she has judged all the events offered by the National Speech and Debate Association. According to T. Talamantez, being an adviser gave a different perspective of how the tournaments ran.
I was involved in the entire process today. I understand why tournaments run late sometimes and see what makes these tournaments happen,” T. Talamantez said.
M. Talamantez and Neuner were responsible for communicating with other members of the club and making sure they did good for the tournament. In addition, they were in constant communication with T. Talamantez to inform the status of the club and report any issues.
“I have to check in with people; make sure they are eating and drinking water, because sometimes they forget, since these tournaments are so long,” M. Talamantez said. “Also, I have to ensure everyone is where they have to be at the right time, so that no one is late to their round or miss it.”
According to M. Talamantez, advising her teammates was a fun experience and something she wants to continue doing for next tournaments. Both M. Talamantez and Neuner expressed interest in providing help to their teammates, especially to the ones who have less experience.
“We are in charge of motivating the club and serving as good leaders. If someone asks for advice, we give it to them. If we have opportunities, we watch people’s rounds and proactively give advice,” Neuner said. “We have a pep talk before rounds, so people get motivated and excited before them. [It] is important that they know the value of competing, even if they lose every round they go to. If they have learned something and know what they want to improve on, then they have benefited.”