The debate club has left a major impact on the school’s community with its amazing achievements from last year, and it plans to top that this following school year. For starters, the debate club has gotten two new teacher advisors this school year, Mr. Rodriguez Estrada and Mr. Gonzalez (Mr. G), both Social Studies teachers at HP. They became the new Advisors after Mr. Cumming and Ms. Wernet stepped down this year.
Mr. Gonzalez, or Mr. G, as he prefers to go by, who with the much-needed and persistent encouragement from his students, became one of the Debate club’s advisors. Mr. G stated how it has been a new experience learning about how Debate works. He had trouble at first trying to understand his student’s thought processes as he will still learn to get accustomed to them.
“This is like the first official club that I lead, learning about how debate works are like learning a whole new language.”
The paperwork was another issue he struggled with as it involved planning and organizing things that will be necessary for tournaments and field trips. Fortunately, he does not have to deal with that issue alone, as he is sharing advisor responsibilities with Mr. Rodriguez Estrada and Diego Flores, LAUSD alumni and current college debater at Cal State Long Beach, hired through Woodcraft Rangers, who offers his expertise to the HPHS debate club. The advisors are working together to make sure Spartan debaters have a positive experience.
Mr. G has experienced similar conditions regarding leading a team and working with one. In his high school years, Mr. G was a student leader in multiple clubs. He was a part of the National Honor Society, President of the Spanish Club, and part of the AVID program. To add, last year he was a class sponsor for the sophomores, which in turn helped him gain experience in how leadership roles work at Huntington Park High School.
“I think the biggest pressure this year is trying to get more debaters and supporters,” stated Mr.G when asked if he felt any pressure becoming the advisor.
To help deal with the pressure he was feeling, Mr. G started pushing more promotion of the club around the school. They’ve put out more morning announcements, increased their social media presence, and even tried being more physically active by posting posters around the school, mainly the 300s building.
The debate club has its first tournament coming up in roughly a month, and you can bet Mr. G is doing everything he can to help prepare the debate team for it. From making sure they understand the topics, to help them with their speeches, Mr. G will not stop until the team is at its peak.
“If I was a student and I heard HPHS had a Debate club, my inclination at first would be not to go, because I was someone who is shy and reserved, but I don’t want people to think that you have to be someone who is very talkative and confident to be a part of it, it’s a process. Being a part of the debate team is understanding that you may not have those skills yet, but we can help get you where you need to be.”
Mr. G highly encourages anyone to come to check out the debate team and consider joining. Mr. G states that the Debate team has a very friendly and supportive community that will push its debaters to unlock their potential and even teach them skills that they will need later on in life. He also addresses how the Debate club may also help unlock many amazing opportunities for students such as scholarships, and even visits to colleges that some students may potentially want to look into.
“So don’t be discouraged when you see the name, come check us out and see what we’re all about.”
Written by Justin Ramirez, Features Editor