Desert Vista speech and debate

Brooke Serack practices her speech at Desert Vista on Wednesday for the upcoming national qualifying tournament.

Travis Roemhild/AFN

The culture of hard work has brought the Desert Vista Speech Theater and Debate Company continued success over the past nine years and counting.

On March 16 and 17 at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, the speech and debate team competed in and took home their ninth straight state championship. The championship is awarded to the school with the highest combined point total in individual events. Desert Vista had a champion in six of the categories.

Katie Giel won for Congressional Debate, Alexa Saunders won for Humorous Interpretation, Kyle Fisher and Isabela Schwartz won for Duo Interpretation, Alison Brown won for Expository Speaking, and Brooke Serack won for Impromptu Speaking.

“We work hard,” assistant coach Victor Silva said. “No one is going to work harder than us.”

More than 45 members of the Desert Vista team will travel to Phoenix Country Day School for a national qualifying tournament this weekend. Desert Vista has had success nationally as well. They have been ranked in the top 10 three times in the past four years, and in the top four twice, most recently in 2009.

A lot of the students have been to the national qualifier and the National Forensic League Speech and Debate Tournament, the national tournament which will take place in June this year.

“This year’s team is close knit and we have a great coaching staff,” Silva said. “It shows the determination of not just our program but Desert Vista as a whole. The administration and student body all show support for what we are doing.”

Having been there before, students like Caitlin Feldewerth, 17, know what to expect. But more than that, whatever ranking she ends up with, Feldewerth said she has grown as a person over the years while participating in speech and debate.

“I know more about politics and international politics than I ever thought I would,” said Feldewerth, who does the extemporaneous speaking category. “I learned self-confidence and I learned more about pretty much everything while being in the club.”

Desert Vista hopes to add to the growing collection of trophies in its practice room on campus. This weekend they will have the opportunity to do so.

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