There’s no debating this: The students of the Southwestern College Speech and Debate Team have again proven themselves as top-tier talent.
The team wrapped up their season with two top honors at the Cross Examination Debate Association national tournament at Cal State University, Long Beach on April 3-7. The Southwestern College team of Michael Berry and Marnon Navarro won second place in the first-year student category against community colleges and four-year universities, and the entire debate team placed second in the country in community college debate programs. Southwestern College competed against more than 100 debate teams from across the country who attended the policy debate competition.
“All three of the coaches (myself, Graciela Saez-Kleriga and Eric Maag) are so proud of the whole team,” said Jordan Mills, professor and coach. “These students won literally dozens of debates against four-year schools from all over the country over the course of the year. I’m so happy that Michael and Marnon received their individual award to punctuate this successful season. This victory was the product of the whole team’s efforts all year.”
The team of Berry and Navarro reached the final round after beating tough competition like the U.S. Military Academy and host Cal State, Long Beach. They finished second after a close loss to George Mason University in the finals.
“When you go to these big tournaments with four-year colleges and prestigious institutions, for the underdog to get into the top three, it feels amazing to represent Southwestern College that way,” said Navarro, a double major in biology and communications.
Southwestern College consistently ranks among the top programs each year at the Cross Examination Debate Association tournaments. The tournament brings in hundreds of debate teams from across the nation to compete on the basis of research, persuasive speaking, argumentation and philosophy.
“I enjoy being a part of the debate team because I get to talk about issues that really matter to me and then bring those arguments to national conventions,” said Berry, a communications major. “We get to bring our voices as community college students and make them a part of the national conversation.”