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Palomar speech and debate display talents in 78th annual Spring Showcase.

Zac Dybeck and Professor Branden Whearty pose after finishing their debate on whether or not STEM degrees are overvalued. Photo credit: Josh Miranda

SAN MARCOS — On the fourth floor of Palomar’s library, room LRC 438 was filled with strong voices and thought-provoking topics.

Palomar hosted the 78th Palomar College Speech and Debate Team Spring Speech Showcase on May 16.

In total, there were seven speakers. Christian Portillo, Carly Sobel, Dia Hill, Kat Caldwell, and Cipriana Rodriguez gave speeches independently. Zac Dybeck and Palomar speech professor Brandan Whearty debated each other.

There were a variety of speeches, ranging from interpretations of poetry and prose to a communication analysis. One of the speeches was an extemporaneous speech where the speaker, Dia Hill, was only given 24 hours to prepare.

Cipriana Rodriguez gave the communication analysis. Her speech went over the excavation of native remains and how the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is often disregarded by scientific institutions.

“I’m interested in the politics of [The Division of Acquisition Policy], it’s a really big interest of mine,” Rodriguez said when asked on why and how she chose her topic. “It was actually Holland Smith (a speech and debate coach) who found the specific article about NAGPRA and ProPublica’s investigation into it, and she was like ‘I think this will make a great speech’,” Rodriguez said.

Carly Sobel’s speech was an interpretation of prose. The material she used was about an aspiring dancer who memorized a script to explain her career to those who asked about it.

While exploring serious themes of identity and self-worth, the speech also had some comedy elements to it that made the audience laugh.

“I wanted something that I kind of personally resonated with, so I thought this piece was really fun and relatable,” Sobel said.

After the 5 solo speeches were done, the debate between Dybeck and Professor Whearty began.

They discussed whether or not science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees are currently overvalued. Dybeck argued that they are overvalued, where Whearty defended the value of STEM degrees.

Professor Whearty has been at Palomar for 18 years and has had experience with speech and debate since his freshman year in high school.

When asked what he’d say to students interested in speech and debate, Whearty said, “If you’re good at public speaking, come talk to us and we’ll give you the skillset to change your life. If you suck at public speaking, come talk to us and we’ll give you the skill set to improve your work at school and change your life for the better. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re good at it or bad at it, we want you either way,” said Whearty.

For more information on Palomar’s speech and debate programs, visit the speech and debate page on Palomar’s website.

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Palomar speech and debate display talents in 78th annual Spring Showcase.