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Santa Monica College Debate Team Kicks Off Season on "High Note"


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By Lookout Staff

September 25, 2018 -- Santa Monica College's Speech and Debate team picked up where it left off last school year, winning several awards at the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association (PSCFA) “Warm Up” Tournament, college officials announced Tuesday.

Three of the 10 SMC students who competed won high-level awards in International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate at El Camino College on Saturday.

Co-team captain Shaindi Schwebel and new debate team members Hyeji Jang and Kelsey Molle each received an “Excellent” award for winning three of their four debate rounds, officials said.

Santa Monica College Debate Team Winners
Team Captain Shaindi Schwebel, Kelsey Molle and Hyeji Jang (Courtesy Santa Monica College)

“Our first tournament of the semester proved how much potential this new team has,” Schwebel said. “I was reminded of how much I love debating, and how rewarding it is to watch other people love it too.

"Win or lose, we had a ton of fun," Shaindi said. "I'm really excited to see how much our team can achieve this year!”

Thirty-four students from 13 two- and four-year Southern California and Arizona institutions participated in the competition, officials said.

Each competitor engages in four rounds of one-on-one debate, with 30 minutes to prepare before each round.

Jang said the debate "electrified" the debate team.

“As a freshman, I am ecstatic to start off my first semester with the SMC Debate Team on a high note," Jang said. "The tournament has electrified me as well as my fellow teammates to get in the spirit of debating and competing.

"I feel more motivated to practice and hone my debating skills, and—hopefully—bring back multiple awards to proudly hang on the team room's wall!”

Molle said she was “pleasantly surprised” she wasn't “as nervous as some other first timers and novices.”

“I am sincerely looking forward to our future tournaments, and the journey ought to be just that much more enjoyable since I get to grow closer with such a competitive, lively, and witty team,” said Molle.

The team's goal, she said, is "to continually improve throughout this semester and the next in order to get to the Phi Ro Pi National Championships in Reno, Nevada in April 2019.”

The Associated Students of Santa Monica College sponsored the SMC Speech and Debate Team’s trip to the competition, officials said.

For more information on the team, contact Nate Brown at or 310-434-8781.


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