Veterans of 2022 Championship Team in Speech and Debate Honored At DVC


The Spring Speech and Debate Showcase held March 19 at Diablo Valley College featured the school’s former national debate champions Brenna Seiersen and Tristan Keene as special guests.

Seiersen, who graduated from DVC last year and now attends UC Berkeley, co-captained the speech and debate team along with Keene in 2022, when the pair helped the school win 17 out of 18 rounds to secure two national championship titles at the National Parliamentary Debate Association and National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, held at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Seiersen was awarded the top speaker title at the NPDA, while Keene earned the top speaker title at the NPTE. Both women went undefeated.

“I want to thank the DVC team and administration for starting our speech and debate careers and providing the institutional support necessary to build the foundation for us to be here today,” said Seiersen on her return trip to DVC, according to a press release from the speech and debate team. 

  “DVC gave me the advocacy skills and work ethic to make it to the final stage at the national championship,” she said. 

Paul Villa, DVC’s director of debate, said the showcase was a great opportunity for current students to be coached by and learn from Seiersen and Keene. Students can look up to their former co-captains not only as role models, he said, but also as examples of how to give back to the next team of competitors. 

“Their success is a testament to their skills and the quality of the training they receive through the DVC speech and debate team,” Villa said. 

  In the NPDA novice division this spring, Emily Hitomi and Jason Sabbadini competed for the first time and advanced to the final round, where they both took second-place honors. 

Each student was also recognized individually, with Hitomi awarded first-place speaker and Sabbadini winning second-place speaker.  

  The DVC speech team also succeeded at this year’s American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament held at Santa Ana College, where Manahil Syeda became the second-ever DVC student to advance to the elimination rounds. 

Syeda reached the quarterfinal round of persuasive speaking, an event recognized as one of the most competitive rounds at the tournament.

  “I am eternally grateful to every single faculty member at the school who took time out of their day to mentor me and facilitate my success,” Syeda said.