Maranatha Speech and Debate Leaps into State Finals on Leap Day

(L-R) Victoria Luo, Ximena Santoro, Speech and Debate Advisor Mr. Pat Mesisca, Samantha Santoro, Faith Ising, and Joel Turk

The Maranatha Speech and Debate team competed in the annual Speech and Debate Qualification Tournament held at East Los Angeles College on February 28 and 29 for the opportunity to advance to the State Tournament in April. The competition featured Maranatha students Victoria Luo, Tyler Street, Samantha Santoro, Joel Turk, Ximena Santoro, Samuel Tong, and Faith Ising.

Sophomores Faith Ising and Samuel Tong, and sophomore/senior sister duo Ximena and Samantha Santoro did exceedingly well at the competition. Faith advanced as a Semifinalist in Original Prose and Poetry for her original dramatic interpretation of her script titled, “The Wish.” Sam represented Maranatha in International Extemporaneous Speech using his expertise in politics to speak for 7 minutes answering a political question on international issues with only 30 minutes to prepare prior to presenting his speech, and Ximena and Samantha Santoro advanced to the finals and finished 7th overall for their Duo Interpretation. The Santoro sisters had a successful spring tournament experience having competed in the Duo Interpretation category at Stanford University and earning a trophy at this prestigious, nationally recognized tournament.

Senior Victoria Luo competed in Original Oratory at State Quals. Earlier this year, she competed in a tournament at Stanford and in the Rotary Four Way Test Speech Competition and continues to represent Maranatha in the semester-long Lions Club Speech Contest where she is advocating for solutions to L.A.’s homeless crisis. Seniors Tyler Street and Joel Turk competed in Impromptu Speech at the State Qualifier. Impromptu speech requires excellent public speaking skills with limited preparation time as students are required to speak flawlessly for 5 minutes on a topic for which they are only given two minutes to prepare.

In the end, Joel Turk advanced to the State Championship tournament. He earned First Place in the first three preliminary rounds of State Quals, otherwise known in the tournament circuit as the picket fence win! This will be Joel’s second opportunity to compete at the State Championships for Impromptu Speech as he also competed at State Champs last year as a junior. Joel continues to experience great success in Speech and Debate and was recognized by the Rotary Club as one of the top speakers in the Pasadena area.

The Maranatha Speech and Debate Team is currently preparing for the State Qualification Tournament for Public Forum and Parliamentary Debate to be held at San Marino High School on Saturday, March 7.

Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit
























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