• High School Debate and Speech Tournament Brings Together Past, Current, and Future MHCC Forensics Students

    This past Saturday, Nov. 4, some 250 students from 34 high schools across Oregon converged on Mt. Hood Community College’s Gresham Campus to participate in the 17th Annual MHCC Saints Invitational Tournament.

    A debate contest held at the MHCC Saints Invitational
    Tournament on Nov. 4.

    This year marked the largest attendance to date for the speech and debate invitational, according to MHCC’s Director of Forensics Shannon Valdivia. In 2001, Valdivia organized the first forensics invitational at MHCC, which started with about 20 schools.

    “It gives high schoolers the opportunity to come to MHCC and experience a college environment,” described Valdivia, who also coaches the MHCC Forensics team. “For our MHCC Communication students, it offers the opportunity to observe different speaking styles and offer positive feedback to competitors.”

    Some 52 students from MHCC’s Forensics team and the college’s Speech Communication program helped organize and staff the invitational. MHCC students observed and helped with dozens of competitions – spread across 71 rooms at the campus – involving 12 types of individual speech events and four styles of debate contests.

    “It was exhausting,” said Maggie Mick, a member of the MHCC Forensics team. “And fun to be part of the community and meet so many new people.”

    “It was really informative, and gave me a chance to see how the younger generation views the world,” added Jim Matson, one of several MHCC Forensics team alum that helped at the invitational.

    Matthew Compton, an alum of MHCC’s Forensics team, served as assistant tournament director of the MHCC Saints Invitational Tournament. Compton currently co-coaches the forensics team at McMinnville High School in McMinnville, Ore. A high school speech and debate coach of nearly 15 years, Compton coached his first state championship team at Woodrow Wilson High School in 2009. In 2013, he coached his second team – from Tigard High School – to the state champions.

    “Participating in speech and debate gave me the analytical tools necessary to excel in the workplace,” said Compton, a recreation and community school specialist with the Chehalam Park and Recreation District. “In practicing with the team at MHCC, I learned how to become a dependable, valuable part of a well-functioning group. And, in forensics – both as a coach and a competitor – I developed managerial skills.”

    The McMinnville Grizzlies were named Top Team at the 17th Annual MHCC Saints Invitational Tournament, and McMinnville student Hope Smothers won the coveted Ramon Padilla Top Speaker award at the event.

    The MHCC Forensics team heads to Linfield College on Nov. 10-12 for the 87th Annual Mahaffey Memorial Tournament. You can learn more about the team at mhcc.edu/Forensics, and about MHCC’s Speech Communication program at mhcc.edu/SpeechCommunication

    MHCC Forensics team alum Basil Hawley (class of 2017), Phil Lee (class of 2016), Jim Matson (class of 2017), and La Bauley-Gabriel (current MHCC student).
    MHCC alumni Matthew Compton served as assistant tournament director at the invitational.