Why you should give Speech and Debate a chance

This+is+the+current+Speech+and+Debate+Team.+On+the+left+is+Nick+Matthews%2C+The+President+and+the+picture+consists+of+Coaches+plus+the+Team+Presidents.

Selene Aguirre

This is the current Speech and Debate Team. On the left is Nick Matthews, The President and the picture consists of Coaches plus the Team Presidents.

Samuel Chacko, News Editor

Coach Aguirre, also known as Sam focuses on platform speaking and gives reason for the team being known as the forensics team. “The reference to Aristotle’s divided forms of rhetoric, which is a legal category. Defining it as a legal category where evidence is presented.” Nick Matthews, the President of the speech and debate team, also brought up that it comes from, “forensics as speech/argumentations precedes the CSI type of forensics that most people tend to think about.”

According to the forensics team its’ “competitive speech and debate [where] students compete in various events, such as persuasive speaking, impromptu, interpretation of literature and debate.” Gaining, “individualized coaching assistance, all-expenses-paid tournament competition, numerous speaking opportunities and fun skills that will a make a difference in your life.”

Professor Matthews believes that the forensic team is a fantastic extracurricular activity. He goes on to explain, “There is a reason why our students consistently meet their transfer goals.”

President Matthews talks about the benefits of being a part of the speech and debate team, “we offer training in the type of skills admissions officers know are crucial to success at the transfer level.”

Coach Selene Aguirre adds, “You are going to develop and refine your communication skills,” which she values as an important skill. Another point she mentions is the ability to travel and meet different people while being on the speech and debate team.

Coach Aguirre claims, “you are going to … gain confidence in your speaking abilities and [that] will allow you … to meet wonderful people.” She also talks about the networking opportunities that are available and the ability to “advocate for yourself and your loved ones.”

Coach Aguirre thinks of the forensics team as like ‘a little family’ and that joining the team will enable “you to create bonds with people, see other peoples’ journeys … and build those long term friendships.”

Madison Criollo, otherwise known as Maddie, the team Vice President, says, “The first coach that got me into debate was Selene,” also known as Sam. “She was just amazing and just so welcoming. I always thank her [for] … being so kind and sweet.”

She explained how that kindness “drew her in,” to the team and just like Coach Aguirre, she talks about the strong community in the speech and debate team, “[explaining how] you somehow make friends through the screen.”

Coach Aguirre was a Cerritos’ alumna before she became a faculty member at Cerritos, she wanted to be more involved and give back to her students. Her initial major was in administration of justice- upon taking communication courses, she got her AA in administration of justice and later transitioned into communication studies.

Due to her communication studies Coach Aguirre says she “assess the situation, assess the people who I am serving and allowed myself to connect with them on a deeper level.”

Team Vice President Criollo said, “I was always quiet and reserved .. and it’s something that has always been a challenge for me, to talk, articulate and communicate with others.”

Vice President Criollo talked about the one-on-ones that the coaches held and practiced what she learned. The Vice President’s reason why you should join the team is due to being able to build skills over time, talking about her growth, “it took a lot of time, practice, dedication (and) effort in wanting to grow from where I was at initially [in terms of Communication].”

When asked about her advice to people who may be hesitant to join the team due to introversion or fear of public speaking, she pointed out, its best “to take time to understand your fear and try to work on it.”

Coach Aguirre’s called for readers, “to take a bet on yourself and to try something that may be uncomfortable for you,” due to the long-term benefits of experience.

If you want more information about the Speech and Debate Team, they have an information session on Jan. 27th, from 4 p.m – 6 p.m and they are meeting via Zoom. You can contact Nick Matthews, the President, via email at [email protected].