Right before spring break began, 12 ambitious PCC students made the eight-hour drive to Reno, Nevada to compete at the National Collegiate Speech and Debate Tournament.  Having taken 2nd place at this same tournament last year, they came with a very elegant objective: win a national championship.  They managed to exceed this goal. 

Not only did they take home the national title they were looking for – a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by any previous PCC team in at least the past three decades – but as a byproduct of their historic results, they also took home an award that PCC has never won.  It’s called the Perpetual Sweepstakes Award.  

Every year, each speech and debate (aka Forensics) team in the nation accumulates points based on their winnings at the national tournament.  The team with the most points earns a plate on a giant plaque that they get to keep for one year until the next national tournament, when their points reset.  The first name on this trophy was set there in 1971.  A few days ago, PCC put its name there for the very first time.  

This honor was based on the cumulative points that PCC has earned throughout the decades, so all PCC nationals forensics students and coaches, past and present, deserve recognition for this honor. 

As for this particular year, listed below are the tremendous results that helped PCC earn their first national title in over thirty years as well as their first perpetual sweepstakes award ever.

  • 1st place – Overall Team Sweepstakes (Wheeler Division)
  • 1st place – Speech Sweepstakes (Wheeler Division)
  • 1st place – Debate Sweepstakes (Wheeler Division)
  • Gold Medal – Elysia Adi – Persuasive Speaking
  • Gold Medal – Elysia Adi – International Public Debate
  • Gold Medal – Elysia Adi – Parliamentary Debate
  • Gold Medal – Poema Oleas Mekhitarian – Parliamentary Debate
  • Gold Medal – Poema Oleas Mekhitarian – International Public Debate
  • Gold Medal – Giselle Mariel Boongaling De Silva – Prose Performance 
  • Gold Medal – Giselle Mariel Boongaling De Silva – Dramatic Performance
  • Gold Medal – Monica Flores-Garcia – Impromptu Speaking  
  • Silver Medal – Sarah Yim – Communication Analysis 
  • Silver Medal – Sarah Yim – Informative Speaking 
  • Silver Medal – Matt Lyng - International Public Debate
  • Bronze Medal – Michael Williams – International Public Debate
  • Bronze Medal – Michael Williams – Programmed Oral Interpretation
  • Bronze Medal – Michael Williams - Parliamentary Debate
  • Bronze Medal – Sasha Rabich – Parliamentary Debate
  • Bronze Medal – Sasha Rabich – Impromptu Speaking
  • Bronze Medal – Matt Lyng – Impromptu Speaking
  • Bronze Medal – Aaron Garcia – Impromptu Speaking
  • Bronze Medal – Patricia Whitehead – Dramatic Performance 
  • Bronze Medal – Monica Flores-Garcia – Communication Analysis 

Special recognition goes to the following people for the following reasons:

Monica Flores-Garcia not only took a gold medal, but is the 1st place, national champion in the event of Impromptu Speaking.

Michael Williams is ranked as the 3rd place Parliamentary Debater in the nation.

Elysia Adi is ranked as the 4th place overall speaker in the nation.

Giselle Mariel Boongaling De Silva and Poema Oleas Mekhitarian tied for 8th place overall speaker in the nation. 

Of the twelve students that PCC brought to Reno, just about every one of them earned a medal at this national tournament and they all contributed to the team’s overall national title.  They were: 

Lucian Suarez, Natalie Hokanson, Elysia Adi, Poema Oleas Mekhitarian, Sasha Rabich, Michael Williams, Matt Lyng, Monica Flores-Garcia, Sarah Yim, Giselle Mariel Boongaling De Silva, Patricia Whitehead, Aaron Garcia. 

PCC was entered in the medium-sized school category, and their 1st place title was in this division. But their points would have placed them 5th place in the nation in the large-sized school category whose teams brought almost twice as many entries than PCC did. 

Helping to prepare and train the PCC speech and debate team were the following coaches/teachers/staff:

  • Allan Axibal-Cordero: Director of Forensics
  • Jay Arntson: Faculty Debate Coach
  • Brianna Broady: Faculty Speech Coach
  • Alicia Batice – Assistant Coach
  • Stephanie Mu – Assistant Coach
  • James Shotwell – Assistant Coach
  • Various PCC Forensics Alumni

We’re a welcoming community and are always in search of more talent and enthusiastic participants.  If you are interested in joining the team, please register for SPCH 005, check out our Facebook page by searching “Pasadena City College Speech & Debate,” or contact the Director of Forensics, Allan Axibal-Cordero