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May 24, 2011 > Speech team places second in State competition

Speech team places second in State competition

By Angie Wang

On April 14, Mission San Jose High School's Forensics team arrived at the California State Speech Tournament at Helix Charter High School in San Diego. The team did extremely well and placed second in the small club division, comprised of schools with less than four entries. Senior Speech Captain Abel John (original prose and poetry) and Sophomores Emily Chen (original prose and poetry) and Priya Sundaresan (impromptu) performed at the tournament. John placed second in his category.

Three years ago, Alumna and former Speech Captain Sarah Thomsen and Speech Advisor Thomas Thomsen decided to bring Speech and Debate back to MSJHS, after the club's unfortunate disbandment years prior. Since then, the team has performed extraordinarily well. Within the past couple of years, the Speech club has become one of the best programs in the area. MSJHS's Speech program is now considered a popular rival against schools like Leland, Logan, and Bellarmine High, all of which have extremely notable Speech programs.

Advisor Thomas Thomsen says, "We owe much of our success to our Speech coaches. It's because of them that we have such a great program here." Speech Coaches BJ Cruz and Karen Joshi placed in State and National competitions in the past as well. Speech Coach, MSJ alumna, and former Speech Captain Sarah Thomsen placed tenth in State last year, and currently attends Santa Clara University. She, along with the rest of the coaches, meets the students at MSJHS every Friday to conduct Speech labs.

When Thomsen brought Speech back to the high school, the team only consisted of about five or six interested students. Now, there are over thirty students involved in Forensics. "The team has definitely grown exponentially. Though we're still a relatively small team, we're talented," says Senior Speech Caption Abel John. John feels that Forensics is like any other sport. Says John, "Even though I placed second at the State tournament, what really mattered was that the team placed second. Speech is also similar to sports because what you put into it is what you get out of it. It is great to see our team's efforts pay off."

For the first time in years, members from MSJHS's Forensics team qualified for both the California State Speech Tournament and the National Speech Tournament to be held in Dallas, Texas from June 12 to June 19. Sophomores Silvia Zannetti (original prose and poetry) and Frank Chen and Dillon Cho (duo interpretation) will attend to represent MSJHS's Speech team.

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