The Cal State LA Forensics Speech and Debate Team Soars

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Cal State LA Communication Studies Department’s Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team has been active since the university doors opened in 1947. Winning several national championships, the team has cultivated a strong legacy of success. 

Undergraduate students, working with the Director of Forensics and coaches, compete at tournaments hosted by colleges and universities across the country, in individual and group performance of literature, presentation of prepared and extemporaneous speeches, as well as participation in intercollegiate debates.  

This Fall semester the Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team kicked-off their competitive season with a Debate Tournament warm-up at Irvine Valley College and then by attending the Illinois State University Speech Tournament for the first time. Several students already walked away qualified for nationals, Joseph Lee took 1stplace in Communication Analysis and everyone came home from Illinois with a trophy. 

The team then took to El Camino College where they continued to grow their national qualification numbers and where they took 1stplace in Team Sweepstakes. To add to those accomplishments there were also three additional 1stplaces and a Gold: Hannah Johnston in Dramatic Interpretation, Georgia Morgan in Program Oral Interpretation, Alex Zhou in Informative and with Melissa DeLeon winning every round of International Public Debate to take home the Gold. 

“Aside from the team’s speech success we’re now starting to see debate skills strengthen as we begin taking more trophies home in that area,” said David Olsen, Chair of Communication Studies.

Debate victories along with Speech wins went with the team to Cal State Northridge where numerous students placed in final rounds and Joseph Lee taking 1stplace in Impromptu.

Next up for the team is the Speech and Debate tournament at Moorpark College from November 30 to December 2. 

The Department of Communication Studies will also be hosting The Public Speaking Showcase on November 29 with the final round taking place in the Golden Eagle Ballroom from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This event showcases the best speeches from across the COMM 1100 Oral Communication classes, and also provides an opportunity to audience an award-winning Forensics (Speech and Debate) competitor.


By Kathleen Sanchez  | Cal State LA College of Arts and Letters News Service