On Saturday, September 30, 2023, Skyline College’s Forensic team competed in the Golden Gate Season Opener tournament. Twenty-three schools from across the Bay Area, Southern California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Nevada participated in one of the largest intercollegiate speech and debate tournaments hosted by the SF Collective, which is comprised of San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, and Skyline College. Students could showcase talents in over 15 speech and debate events categories.

Skyline Trojans competed in the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) and Impromptu Speaking events. Two students competed in individual debate (IPDA). Cem Quinto and Christian Reyes-Aguilar competed in four preliminary rounds. Cem Quinto advanced to the elimination rounds, and placed in the top 25% of the field, earning bronze.

Nine students competed in two preliminary rounds of impromptu speaking, where they were given a random prompt or quotation and had two minutes to prepare a five-minute speech — not an easy task! Charlie Christie and Gerson Fernandez Selgado advanced to the final round of  the Novice Impromptu, both earning bronze.

Skyline Trojans showcasing their plant trophies from left to right: Cem Quinto (Bronze medalist in IPDA debate), Charlie Christie (Bronze medalist in Impromptu speaking), and Gerson Fernandez Selgado (Bronze medalist in Impromptu speaking).

Traditionally, tournaments will hand out actual medals and trophies, but the SF Collective awards students with succulents and plants. They put an emphasis on sustainability and attempting to limit plastic consumption and waste compared to traditional trophies. The succulents represent growth in many ways. Students who compete in forensics are pushed to expand research, analytical, and performative skills and due to this foundational structure, students, in turn, “grow.” The plant awards are a physical reminder of how we should strive to grow: our minds, skill sets, and potentially change the way see concepts or ideas through participatory discourse.

Students will be traveling to University of Nevada Reno to compete in the “Biggest Little City Classic” in mid-October. Wish them luck as they continue to “lay down [their] roots”!

Submission and photos by: Lindsey Ayotte

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