No debate on well-being

On+Jan.+20%2C+Speech+and+Debate+students+work+in+preparation+for+an+upcoming+tournament.+The+students+work+in+room+209+due+to+the+absence+of+their+teacher.

Elie Cajes

On Jan. 20, Speech and Debate students work in preparation for an upcoming tournament. The students work in room 209 due to the absence of their teacher.

Jaime Jazo , Features Editor

At the beginning of the school year, only nine members were left in Bonita Vista High’s (BVH) Speech and Debate program—leaving students with the task of rebuilding and recruiting. Efforts proved successful until around 10 members decided to drop the program. 

As Speech and Debate students transition into the second semester, more and more realize the stress building up inside of them, whether it be due to academics or finding a balance between school life and the program. However, even with the damage their class size took, Speech and Debate persistsbouncing back to form.  

“Speech and Debate is coming in strong. Our class roster; while it did decrease a little, we [still] have over 35 students enrolled in the class, and we’re getting ready for the very first speech tournament of this semester,” Speech and Debate President and senior Abby Roman said. “We are currently in the third cycle of tournaments, and we are dedicating our energies in preparation to speak at next weekend’s tournament which is going to be held online.”

We call this year a rebuilding year because we have a lot of novices on our team, for which we are incredibly grateful [for].”

— Junior and Speech and Debate Public Relations Officer Lannah Garcia

Speech and Debate Public Relations Officer and junior Lannah Garcia emphasizes that the team is working on rebuilding this school year. Speech and Debate officers make it a goal to focus on improving the skills of team members through debate strategies and speech techniques. Additionally, Garcia mentioned that she is extremely thankful for the sheer amount of novices enrolled in the program this school year and this semester. 

“We call this year a rebuilding year because we have a lot of novices on our team, for which we are incredibly grateful [for]. [Compared to the first semester], I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made [in the second semester],” Garcia said. “A lot of our novices have grown so fast and come so far at such a rapid pace in the span of a couple of months, I’m very happy about it.”

Although, according to former Speech and Debate member and freshman Sebastian Andrade, his experience differed. While he was passionate about the activity itself and appreciative of the team members he surrounded himself with, competitions overwhelmed him to the extent where he struggled with his mental health. Eventually, he decided to take a break from the team to gather himself and find a balance between school life in an effort to prepare himself for future extracurriculars. 

“I tried to ride the semester out because I knew I couldn’t leave [in the middle of the] semester. I still tried going to every competition even though I was stressed. But, I dealt with it by just trying to be cheerful, have fun and not focus on the stress,” Andrade said. 

Even so, Andrade plans on rejoining the team during his junior or senior year. For him, the team members have become his second family. Additionally, both Roman and Garcia ensured that the team will most definitely be left in capable hands once this year’s seniors graduate from high school. 

“If it weren’t for the officer group [and Speech and Debate Advisor Eric Helle] who have put so much time and dedication into rebuilding Speech and Debate, I do not think it would still have existed,” Roman said. “I hope that when I and the rest of the seniors on the team leave, Speech and Debate will continue to exist and thrive with the support of incoming [members and] returning officers. The team has been working extremely hard even with the low amount of returning members. I’m excited to see what a year’s worth of work has looked like in the competition room.”