Fullerton School District Students Make a Splash Statewide and Nationally In The Inaugural Year
What started as an idea to empower students through the art of communication, became a source of pride for the students, teachers and parents of the Fullerton School District.
Fullerton Speech and Debate is comprised of over 300 students ranging from 4th grade to 8th grade. Students in Speech and Debate develop skills in argumentation, public speaking, and acting. The Fullerton School District speech program started with approximately 160 students but grew to over 300 students by the end of the school year.
Fullerton students raised their voices and demonstrated exceptional performances. At the Elementary Southern California Championships, Laguna Road Elementary finished first in Southern California and Sunset Lane Elementary finished second. Orangethorpe Elementary was also awarded the small schools division championship.
At the Middle School State Championships, Fullerton advanced seven students into the final rounds and two students were crowned State Champions, Avishi Bansal is the 2019 state champion in Humorous Interpretation and Chan Chung is the state champion in Big Question Debate. Both students are from Parks Jr. High and helped their squad finish 8th in the state.
The true test would come at the National Tournament. One thousand schools from across the country participated in Dallas, Texas and Parks Jr. High came one round away from winning the national championship.
The Fullerton School District sent nineteen students to nationals and twelve of the nineteen students advanced to the national quarter final rounds. Eight students advanced to the semifinals and two Fullerton School District students advanced to the national final round.
Amelie Heying from Ladera Vista finished 4th in the nation in poetry interpretation and Ruby Perez from Nicolas Junior high finished 6th place in the nation in poetry as well. Collectively, the students accomplished accolades not very many schools can accomplish. The students demonstrated to the country the talent and hard work that exists in Fullerton.
Sal Tinajero who started the Fullerton Union High School Speech Team in 2001 and coached his teams to one state championship, four national championships and coached hundreds of students to state and national semifinals and finals rounds during his tenure, retired in 2016 from coaching the high school team. Lynne Frutchey, the Co-Coach at Laguna Roads Elementary states, “We are fortunate that Mr. Tinajero has brought his expertise and his amazing team to the Fullerton School District. Not only will students benefit from the year they compete in speech but they also are given skills that will give them confidence and success in communicating their ideas with others in school and for the rest of their lives.”
According to Sal Tinajero, “It is a great honor to work with Fullerton students once again! Fullerton is like my second home and I am so excited that we can empower students at such a young age through this activity.” District Director and three time national college champion Tiffiny Vuong explained, “This activity is changing the lives of our students and I am happy to be a part of this transformation and this is only the beginning. We made a splash and showed what our young students can do. The future looks very bright for all of our teams.”