A Successful Closure for the Golden Eagles’ End of the Season

Leaving the sunny warm April weather of Los Angeles, the CSULA Forensics Team headed to Muncie, Indiana  to partake in the 2016 National Forensics Association (NFA) national speech and debate tournament  hosted at Ball State University, the tournament commenced Thursday April 14 and ended on Monday the18th. Likewise, across the nation over a 100 colleges and universities made their way to Muncie, IN involving nearly 1500 attendees. Of the participants were our team members Lane Schwager, Marilu Bustamante, Danielle Soibelman, and Dorothy Garcia.

Since 1971, the NFA tournament is one of the oldest national collegiate tournament. With the opportunity to compete after having qualified several of their events in previous competitions, the team set out early Thursday morning with enthusiasm and determination. Lane competed in ADS, DI, and Prose, Danielle competed in Prose as well, Extemp, Impromptu, and Rhetorical Criticism. Together Lane and Danielle performed a DUO which is an event where two individuals engage the audience through their performance of multiple characters; this is not like an acting event, no costumes or props are allowed- all is dependent of their voice and body movements. In addition Dorothy competed in Poetry and Prose, Marilu competed in Prose as well.

Throughout the four day tournament, round after round the girls performed their events tuning and perfecting them with each passing day. This brings us to the final results of the tournament, qualifying to the final round was Lane who placed fourth with her After Dinner Speech. By the end of the fourth round Danielle was ranked first place in all her events. As for Dorothy she ranked 2nd on her 2nd round and took both her Prose and Poetry to quarter finals. Furthermore Marilu ranked 3rd with her Prose on her fourth round.  As a team the Golden Eagles achieved 18th place in the Open Sweepstakes, and 1st place as a team for President’s Two. The CSULA Forensics Team is proud of its members recognizing their hard work, determination, and their accomplishment at the tournament.

The NFA tournament was a long one for the team as it would mark the closure of this years season. In the end, the Forensics community celebrated the end of the season with laughter and joy among friends and team members, along with the many cherished memories. The team looks forward to the coming season  to reunite with their fellow friends and once again share another speech.

Congratulations to all participants, we look forward to your continued success in the near future!

Written by Ruth Gonzalez

Hell Froze Over in Austin… and the Eagles brought their coats.

In the early A.M. on Friday January 13th, Cal State LA Forensics gathered at LAX for a flight to Austin Texas. Senior Dorothy Garcia, senior Lane Schwager and Junior Danielle Soibelman were the three members of the team, along with graduate student and coach, Jackson Spencer, all made the trek to Austin. The team attended the 17th annual Hell Froze Over Tournament. The tournament is hosted by two schools: the University of Texas at Austin and Bradley University. It is host to some of the top schools on the nation including the aforementioned University of Texas, Bradley University in addition to George Mason University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Arizona State University. The two-day competition featured students from over 45 colleges and universities from across the nation. California schools, or District One, had one of its largest showings in recent years. The University of California at Berkeley, Orange Coast College, Concordia University at Irvine, Mount San Antonio College, the University of the Pacific, and East Los Angeles College were all present at the tournament.

Cal State Los Angeles had a great showing at Hell Froze Over, a tournament meant to download_20160127_141003showcase talent before the upcoming national tournament season. On the first day of the tournament, Danielle Soibelman made it all the way to semifinals for Impromptu Speaking, an event where the competitors have two minutes or fewer to write a five minute speech. She ended up placing twelfth in the event. Also on the first day, Lane Schwager was announced as “first out.” First out means that the competitor only just missed being placed in the semifinal round. Students are given ranks for each event and speaker points for their speaking abilities. These two scores are totaled together to find out who qualifies for advancement. With a tournament this large being called as first out is certainly a feat within itself.

The second day of competition brought no awards or breaks for the Cal State LA team; nevertheless, the second day of the tournament was a great day for the whole team. At this large tournament, watching out-rounds is encouraged; this gives the whole team a chance to see who the national contenders are for each event, as well as their topics. Hell Froze Over is considered one of the hardest tournaments of the year, one at which students can receive the best advice on how to elevate all of their events. It also gives students opportunities to see what standard they should strive for to be nationally competitive. The three students who attended the tournament are excited to share with the rest of the team what they have learned at HFO and even more than that, we are so excited to head into nationals with continued determination to represent for Cal State LA.

Here’s to a successful Winter Quarter!

Written by Lane Schwager

Eagle Crew Expands at Fall Champs

On a cold December morning, the CSULA Forensics Speech and Debate Team gathered in Parking Lot D of Mt. San Antonio College in preparation for their annual participation in the 2015 PSCFA Fall Championship. There was something for everyone at the tournament, which offers rookie, novice, junior, and open divisions for Parliamentary Debate as well as novice, junior, and open divisions for NFA-LD, IPDA, British parliamentary Debate, and 12 individual events. With 42 schools in attendance and 790 individual event entries in total, the tournament was easily one of the largest and most competitive in the state.

This year our school saw particularly high participation of competitors; a total of 8 Golden Eagles were sent to represent Cal State LA in the tournament. Some were well-seasoned veterans of speech and debate, preparing to add another tough bout to a long list of past forensics event attendance, while plenty newcomers – for many even their very first competitive speech and debate experience – braced for the unfamiliarly tense situation.

Many competitors chose to enter into multiple events, including Danielle Soibelman in open impromptu speaking, IPDA, and open prose interpretation, Raymond Gomez in novice persuasive speaking and prose interpretation, Alex Zhou in novice informative speaking and programmed oral interpretation, Adam Perez-Morin in open prose interpretation and impromptu speaking, and Dorothy Rae Garcia in open programmed oral interpretation and prose interpretation. The others put their skills into a single event, with Marilu Bustamante in junior prose, Monica Roldan in novice poetry interpretation, and Lane Schwager in after-dinner speaking.

Golden Eagles presented their arguments in many forms on a variety of new and interesting topics, including a Danielle’s prose interpretation on toxic comparison, Raymond’s prose interpretation about a man trying to find love with PTSD and persuasive speech on small businesses, Alex’s programmed oral interpretation on complaining about the friend zone and informative speech on social environment effects on drug addiction, Dorothy’s prose on the social construction of blackness and whiteness, and Monica’s poetry interpretation on race labels.

In the end, the Golden Eagle squad dominated, with Danielle Soibelman taking 2nd in Open Impromptu, Dorothy Rae Garcia taking 5th in Open POI, Marilu Bustamante taking 1st in Junior Prose, and Alex Zhou taking 3rd in Novice POI. The CSULA Forensics Speech and Debate Team continues their laborious preparation in the hopes for a repeat performance at HFO.

Written by Alex Zhou

Golden Eagles Flock to CSUN for a Great Swing!


Every year, Cal State University, Northridge hosts the Robert Barbera Invitational Swing during the first weekend of November. This year, the CSULA Forensics Team brought four competitors to the swing: Lane Schwager, Dorothy Garcia, Danielle Soibelman, and Marilu Bustamante, who competed for the first time there. The ladies competed in individual events on Saturday and Sunday, finaling many of their events both days.

Saturday, November 7th, was the first day of I.E.s, and all the competitors finaled events. Marilu took first place in Novice Prose with a piece on Aimee Mullins, the fastest woman on prosthetic legs who teaches us to go beyond our labels. In Program Oral Interpretation, Dorothy took second, arguing that ethnic study of the Philippines is important to education. In first place was Danielle with her piece on the dangers of romanticizing mental illness and suicide. Danielle also took second place in Impromptu Speaking and second in Extemporaneous Speaking. Team President Lane took first place in After Dinner Speaking with a hilarious speech on embracing the “walk of shame.” Lane picket-fenced the event all day, meaning she did not recieve a rank lower than a 1 in any round.

November 8th was day two. With 260 entries from 16 different schools, the competition was difficult. Nevertheless, the Golden Eagles pulled themselves into finals! In Novice Prose, Marilu took third place. In After Dinner Speaking, Lane once again took first, picket-fencing the whole day again. Danielle took first place in Program Oral Interpretation, Impromptu Speaking, and Extemporaneous Speaking, winning Top Overall Speaker for the two days.

CSULA received many national qualifications at the Robert Barbera. For AFA-NIET, Danielle qualified Extemporaneous and Program Oral Interpretation. Dorothy, Lane, and Danielle all earned legs in other events as well (POI, ADS, and IMP, respectively). Marilu qualified her Prose to the NFA National Tournament, and Danielle also qualified her Impromptu to that tournament.

Every time we compete, we are reminded of our affinity for this activity. Seeing programs from Texas, Arizona, and California all gathered together for the sake of public speaking is heartwarming and helps us create connections that last a lifetime. We look forward to competing every weekend we are able, not only for the trophies we receive out of hard work, but for the friends with whom we compete and are eager to see by postings.

Cal State L.A. will be attending the PSCFA Fall Champs Tournament at Mount San Antonio College in early December. We look forward to it.

Speak on, Golden Eagles!

Written by Danielle Soibelman


CSULA Takes Home 4th in Sweeps in Irvine

CSULA’s Forensics Speech and Debate team brought home the bacon on after the second tournament of the season! On October 16th, 2015 members Dorothy Garcia and Daniel Noriega attended the “Sleep In/Leave Early IEs” tournament at Irvine Valley College. About eight schools including CSULA were in attendance. Daniel competed in Extemporaneous and Impromptu speaking. Dorothy performed in Programmed Oral Interpretation. With about eight entrees, Dorothy took 1st place.

On October 18th, 2015 the team attended the 2015 Jannese Davidson Memorial tournament at Concordia University in Irvine. This tournament is held every year in honor of Jannese Davidson, who lost her battle to Lupus just last year. Jannese, once a competitor, became a coach at Concordia University in Irvine. She was a beloved family member, dear friend, and fierce competitor who lit up a room the moment she set foot in it. Jannese was a determined individual who influenced many from the California district we call home and beyond that. There was no better way to represent such a beautiful soul from our community.

A total of 23 schools were in attendance that day. Both Daniel and Dorothy attended again but this time team members Danielle Soibelman, Lane Schwager, and Adam Perez-Morin were alongside. Danielle competed in POI, Extemp, and Impropmtu, Lane competed in POI as well and After Dinner Speaking. After a long and intense day of competition, postings for final rounds were up. Lane broke out into ADS as well as POI, where she would be competing against her teammates, Danielle and Dorothy. Danielle took 4th, Dorothy took 2nd, and Lane took 1st and officially qualified her POI to the AFA national tournament. Lane also qualified her ADS to the NFA tournament. Overall, CSULA took 4th place at the four-year level.

The weekend was a long one but it was filled with laughs, reunions, and the beginning of new friendships. With new additions to squads all around California, it’s a great feeling knowing that our community is growing and that there are others who share the same dreams and aspirations. There is so much talent and the Golden Eagles are always honored to share the same stage with those we can call friends. The team’s next competition is the Robert Barbera Invitational, which will be held at California State University: Northridge on November 7thand 8th. This will be the third competition of the year and the team is prepared and excited for whatever awaits them.

Written by Dorothy Garcia

A Great Season Start at the Aztec/Mills Swing Invitational

From Left to Right: Lane S., Daniel N., Danielle S.
From Left to Right: Lane Schwager, Daniel Noriega, Danielle Soibelman.

Over the first weekend of October, the Cal State L.A. Speech and Debate team headed down to San Diego State University for the first tournament of the yearlong academic competition season. Danielle Soibelman, Lane Schwager and Daniel Noriega, along with Director of Forensics Geoffrey BrodakSilva and coach Robert Black all spent the weekend greeting and catching up with fellow coaches and students from all over parts of southern California, Texas, Colorado, Washington, and Arizona before taking on the first round of competition.

This tournament was an all-inclusive tournament offering all individual events as well as most forms of collegiate debate. The team competed in many events, such as Impromptu and Extemporaneous, speaking both at the novice and varsity or open levels.  It was a great weekend, full of some truly spectacular speeches.

The CSULA Golden Eagles took home an impressive number of awards over the weekend. At the end of the first day of competition Schwager and Soibelman broke into final rounds for Program Oral Interpretation. Soibleman, speaking on the romanticization of mental illness took home 4th and Schwager, speaking about the overlooked role of the first lady, took home 1st place. Day two resulted in Schwager taking home 2nd in Program Oral Interpretation, Soibelman taking home both 5th in Program Oral Interpretation and 4th in Extemporaneous Speaking. The team took home one qualification to the NFA National Tournament, as well as three legs for the AFA-NIET.

These tournaments are an opportunity to be competitive, to learn, to complain about wearing a full suit on a hot day. It is an opportunity to meet new people, who are smart and motivated. It is a chance to refine speaking skills, to polish arguments and learn what it takes to construct an argument quickly. Whether it’s an emotional performance from a classmate or a student from another school, or a moment of laughter in the ladies room bonding over how awful it is to wear pantyhose. The forensics community is really a big, happy family regardless of the competitive nature

Written by Lane Schwager