Education

MJC speech and debate team scores big at Golden Gate Season Opener

Modesto Junior College speech and debate team members Jon Sahlman, left, and Michael Rourick prep for the Golden Gate Season Opener held Friday through Sunday in San Francisco.
Modesto Junior College speech and debate team members Jon Sahlman, left, and Michael Rourick prep for the Golden Gate Season Opener held Friday through Sunday in San Francisco. Modesto Junior College

The Modesto Junior College speech and debate team won the first-place Sweepstakes Award at the Golden Gate Season Opener in San Francisco. MJC students accumulated the most individual points in events through the tournament, held Friday through Sunday.

“It was a big win for us,” said Ryan Guy, MJC’s new team coach.

Partner teams Ron Thompson and Caterina Grossi, and Megan Chatelain and Casey Shoblom took home awards after four weeks of practice in the octo-finals and semifinals of novice parliamentary debate. The pairs rose through 26 teams, debating topics such as relations with Ukraine, recent ESPN scandals and Internet nationalization.

Jon Sahlman took first in the extemporaneous open division. Extemporaneous speech events give students 30 minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech. In the novice division, Chatelain took home third place, and Shoblom earned a finalist award.

Chatelain placed third and Grossi was a finalist in the novice division of impromptu speaking, in which students have two minutes to prepare a five-minute speech on an unexpected prompt. In the open division of impromptu, Thompson took home a finalist award.

In persuasive speaking, James Baugh placed second and Sahlman third in the open division, while Grossi was recognized as top novice. In novice dramatic interpretation, Rick Morris placed third with a piece that explores the tensions in father-son relationships.

Baugh captured a finalist award for a humorous speech on the Christian left in open after-dinner speaking. Sahlman placed third in communication analysis, a speech that critically examines the rhetorical methods of an art campaign about street harassment.

MJC had unprecedented success in Lincoln-Douglas debate, in which students use evidence to argue for and against the topic: developing the moon for water, minerals and energy. All six debaters in the novice division went undefeated in the preliminary rounds. Debaters Jonathan Van Horn, Morris, Grossi, Chatelain, Shoblom and Thompson took the top six final awards. Sahlman earned a quarterfinals award, and Baugh won a semifinals award in the open division of the debate.

“I’m incredibly proud of the MJC squad,” Guy said. “Their work ethic and commitment to each other has shown that they are serious players in the speech and debate community.”

The speech team will perform their events at Speech Night at 4 and 7 p.m.Tuesday in the MJC auditorium. The event is open to public and tickets are available in advance for $5 at the MJC box office. Tickets will be $8 the day of the performance.

The MJC team will travel to its next competition at Santa Rosa Junior College on Oct. 10 for “another battle of eloquence, wit, and words,” according to Guy.

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