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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Speech and debate starts off on a good note

When new underclassmen join the speech and debate team, coach Lindsay Ayotte tries to emphasize that “practice makes perfect.” Students are expected to be prepared, be present and more than anything, practice again and again.

At the Coast Forensic League Novice Individual Events tournament at Christopher High School in Gilroy on Nov. 1, this work ethic paid off in full. Freshman Varun Viswanath took first place and freshman Divya Rallabandi won third in oratorical interpretation.

After attending practices Mondays from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Rallabandi and Viswanath were able to kick off the new season with a bang.

“I attended every single practice,” freshman Divya Rallabandi. “I realized that I had a lot of resources in the speech and debate team that were going to help me reach my goals.”

But even though the students have many valuable resources, Ayotte said that for her to be successful, “the students have to come to practice prepared. This means having written a speech and have memorized it on their own.”

“I tell the students that I am willing to meet them 100 percent if they are willing to put in 100 percent,” Ayotte said.

And all the hard work — both from student and coach — paid off at the tournament.

“I am so pleased and ecstatic with the success the students are having this early in the speech and debate season,” said Ayotte. “But that is not to say there is not work to be done. There is always room to continue to evolve in your public speaking performance.”

The point of starting out with tough tournaments in the novice year is to get newcomers as much experience as quickly as possible.

“I really want everyone to learn,” said junior Shrey Desai, a talented debater who holds the role of communications director for the team. “We want [the novices] to get more exposure at tournaments, so we can apply it to our practice and get them started on the more important tournaments that come up in the rest of the year.”

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