Up for Debate: Jesuit Debate Team Has Success In Fall Season


With more than 50 students registered with the Speech & Debate Team, members meet virtually every week to practice their speaking skills and argue positions on topics ranging from education, economics, the environment, and even COVID. This season more than 20 high schools throughout the greater Sacramento region competed in the Capital Valley Forensics League’s first ever virtual tournament season. Dozens of students faced each other in multiple debate and speaking events, trading live audiences and podiums for online challenges against both new and seasoned teams. 

Team members engaged in three tournaments this Fall, taking on speakers in several events. Captain Allen Tovmasyan, a sophomore, paired up with Benjamin Condrin, also a sophomore, in early October earning three wins and just one loss in JV Parliamentary Debate. At the second competition, Allen again did well taking second place in JV Impromptu Speaking. Jack Rangel, a junior, entered the JV national Extemporaneous Speaking proceeding, finishing in fifth place. At the same tournament, junior Alonso Lee was challenged at the varsity International Extemporaneous event, bringing home fourth place. In the final tournament of the first semester, Allen placed first in JV national Extemporaneous and second in varsity Impromptu. Alonso finished in fourth place in varsity International Extemporaneous. In addition to developing their speaking skills, participants learn about sportsmanship and how to operate under pressure. “The team is working hard to prepare for the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament qualifier,” says team coach Alex Bonilla ’19. He credits not only the hard work of the students but the tremendous support of parents, faculty, and staff, particularly given the fact that there has never been a debate season held entirely online. In addition to winning trophies, team members earn points and recognition each time they participate. Nationwide, tens of thousands of high schoolers are active in speech and debate programs. Congratulations to everyone for competing under such unusual circumstances. We wish the team good luck during the second semester.