Speech and Debate team wins final tournament


Photo by: Genie Cobb

Jamie Ma, Staff Writer

FUHS’s Speech and Debate team won first place at their  last local tournament at Schurr High School on Apr. 8.

In Humorous Interpretation, sophomore, Cordelia Tran received third place, while also receiving second place in Duo Interpretation with partner junior, Lauren Fu.

Fu took first in Thematic Interpretation; and junior, Sharra Wells received third place.

Sophomore, Thomas Kim placed second in International Extemporaneous Speaking.

Kristin Dickson won first place in Dramatic Interpretation, while also being a finalist in Original Oratory. Other OO winners include Wells with third place, and junior, Hannah Cashin with first place.

Despite it being a successful way to end the year, the tournament was bittersweet for the team, especially senior, Kassandra Zermeno.

“It was scary. I didn’t want to mess up, I had a couple of breakdowns. But I made sure to have fun because it was my last tournament,” said Zermeno. She ended up beating 33 students to receive sixth place in Thematic Interpretation.

She spent the Saturday competing on her birthday, proving her dedication to the team.

“What other way would you want to spend your birthday?” Zermeno continued, “I’ll always remember it.”

Zermeno did not begin her speech career confidently, but soon learned to succeed. “I had trouble speaking. It doesn’t matter where you start off, but practicing will get you there. You don’t need talent, you acquire it.”  

“It’s going to be sad not seeing them every Tuesday and Thursday for practice, and then on Saturday for tournaments,” Zermeno said about leaving her team.

Not only will seniors say goodbye to the team, but to coach Priscilla Merritt who puts all her time and effort into the program.

“I thank Ms. Merritt for all that she’s done for me and the team. I look up to her, she’s such an independent, strong person and I’m really going to miss her. I’m going to miss coming into her class, miss having someone there to give me advice,” Zermeno said.

Bringing back trophies and plaques every weekend isn’t the only way the Speech and Debate team wins. Through hard work and close relationships, they learn that the best thing they will ever win is each other.