Speech and debate team tackle D.C.

Brittany Claramunt


Del Mar’s speech and debate team recently competed in the weeklong Phi Rho Pi National competition in Washington, D.C. For Michaela Engel, Allison Rackley and Mariah Massengill it was an experience they will never forget.

The first two days before the competition the team visited various locations in D.C. such as the Holocaust Museum, several Smithsonian museums and many important monuments. When the first day of competition arrived, it was time to get serious. Competing in the national level with other community colleges is different than competing around the state against universities, but that does not mean the competition was easy.

“The first day of competition was very overwhelming. I was so nervous. It was so much going into the rounds with incredible performers doing pieces on such heavy topics such as border control, women’s rights, suicide, sexual assault, gay rights, etc.” Engel said.

Going out of state for competition allowed these students to get a different perspective on how other schools compete. Speech and debate involve critical thinking and often on the spot. In debate, it’s about holding your ground and defending your argument, but arguments can have flaws.

“I learned that perspective is very important. At the end of the day, your view or argument can have flaws but if you can’t step back to see them you won’t improve,” Massengill said.

The team did not return empty handed. Rackley brought home a bronze award in Individual Parliamentary Debate (IPDA).

“I was completely shocked. I had never broken to finals for debate in a tournament before so I was totally surprised. After it set in I was so happy and truly honored to compete at that level,” Rackley said.

If you would like to get involved with the speech and debate team, visit the speech office in the Memorial Classroom Building.

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