Seven speech and debate competitors will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, to compete at the National Speech and Debate Association tournament in June after qualifying at the West Texas district tournament held at Ysleta High School on February 20. As a team, Eastwood also earned Speech Sweepstakes and Overall West Texas District Sweepstakes.
The qualifying students are:
Regina Macias, Freshman- Domestic Extemporaneous
Emma Bowar, Sophomore- Duo Interpretation
Chistopher Hulbert, Sophomore- Public Forum Debate
Leonardo Moraveg, Sophomore- Public Forum Debate
Ryan Solis, Sophomore- International Extemporaneous
Jacob Tullius, Sophomore- Duo Interpretation & Humorous Interpretation
Andres Martinez, Senior- World's Debate
To qualify for nationals, the students must have placed first at the the district tournament. In addition, all of the qualifying students are involved in various other extracurricular activities, and enrolled in advanced classes.
Countless hours have been allocated to preparation for competitions by each student, and some students have even prepared for years. Senior Andres Martinez has been a member since his sophomore year and is immensely satisfied with his results so far.
"I personally believe that it's a great privilege to have qualified," Martinez said. "I feel very thankful, especially to my debate coach for allowing me to enter the national tournament. Now it's time to focus on the next one."
To prepare for large scale competitions, the members participated in the Harvard Invitational tournament on June 13 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they were exposed to various styles of debate and different perspectives on literature pieces, thus broadening their scope of the speech and debate sphere. Sponsor Laura Herrera believes that this tournament is vital in achieving success at the national level and beyond.
"It's imperative to experience competition at a national tournament in order to match the success," Herrera said. "Students need to be held at a higher standard in order to meet those expectations."
In addition to exerting tangible effort, the members all possess a passion for speech and debate that, Herrera believes, drives their successes.
"Speech and debate is their passion," Herrera said. "They prove that with their performance."
Martinez values the time he has spent in speech and debate and attributes his ardor for the team to many of the benefits that it offers.
"It is the number one thing a high school student can do to prepare themselves for the future," Martinez said. "Once you take speech and debate, you have a way to format every essay you write, you know how to get yourself out of a situation that you do not want to be in, and you learn a lot that you would never have come across if you only do the bare minimum in high school."
Herrera praised the competitors for the amount of dedication that they have displayed this year, and their achievements.
"All students are equal in potential; it's hard work and dedication that makes the difference," Herrera said. "Their story is proof that with hard work, there are no limits."