The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

DVC Speech and Debate Team Dazzle at Speech Night

Ryder Williams
Eden Ozeri performs at Speech Night on April 17. At the national championship, Ozeri won gold in poetry interpretation and bronze for prose interpretation and dramatic interpretation.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 40 percent of people in the United States have glossophobia – the fear of public speaking. Diablo Valley College offers a collection of communication classes, all of which surround speaking in a public forum in some capacity. But for COMM-163, the award-winning DVC Speech and Debate team makes the art of competitive public speaking their lifestyle. 

From within the doors of the DVC Playhouse on the evening of April 17, the DVC Speech and Debate team held a public event to demonstrate what they do as a team. The 2024 state champions demonstrated to the packed theater various different forms of formal oration, starting with dramatic interpretation, followed up by prose interpretation, informative speaking, communication analysis, and then wrapping it all up with a parliamentary debate. 

Communications Professor Robert Hawkins, who has been coaching the team since 2015, has a lot to say about the team’s success in its recent history. 

“Since I’ve been here, we have won quite a bit,” said Hawkins. “We’ve won five regional titles, we’ve won the state championship three times, we’ve been runner up to the national title a few times, [and] we’ve taken gold a few times.”

“We’ve had a lot of success,” he added.

The evening showed off some of the best and brightest the team had to offer, including national title winner Tony Senhaji, twice gold winning Eden Ozeri, silver medal winning Audryssa Tarigan, and Manahil Syeda, who has won three golds in state and two golds in national. All performers had unique speeches using different oration techniques. 

At the end of the evening, a handful of team members commenced with a parliamentary style debate, where two parties debate against one another and perform cross examinations. The debate focused on whether or not colleges should have a minimum age requirement for class enrollment, and was argued by Sim Saini and Jason Sabbadini on the positive side and Prerana Gowda and Tristan España on the negative side. 

Following this debate and the conclusion of the event, Gowda had some words of encouragement for students who may be interested in getting into speech and debate but are apprehensive to do so. 

“My biggest advice would be to not be afraid, because a lot of people [think that] it’s really scary and intimidating at first, but honestly the more you get into it, the more you realize that everybody here is faking it until they make it,” Gowda said. 

“I feel like half of debate is literally just having that persona up, and so once you perfect that, you already know you will be a great debater,” said Gowda. 

The DVC Speech and Debate team will be continuing operations in the fall semester through the class COMM-163. If you have an interest in any aspect of speech and debate, then joining the team may be a good choice for you.

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  • J

    James MoranMay 1, 2024 at 1:43 am

    This is well-written, I feel very inspired to pursue public speaking as well as interested in what a formal debate is in comparison to informal debates.

    • A

      Audryssa T.May 4, 2024 at 1:29 am

      Join forensics, it’s a lot of fun. You won’t regret it!