A team from Santa Ana High recently won the national championship at a highly-competitive national speech and debate tournament. In what the team is calling a “victory for Santa Ana,” the win marks the first time the district has ever brought home national honors at this event.
The tournament, which is hosted annually by the National Speech and Debate Association, was held completely online this year, but that did not stop the five-member team from earning top marks in multiple categories.
According to the Orange County Register, the team’s co-captain, Gillian Palacios, placed fourth in the nation in the original oratory category, and her teammate, Destiny Ceja, placed fourth in dramatic interpretation.
“It’s not about winning or getting a title,” Ceja told the Register. “All of that is amazing. But I went into that round thinking ‘This is a platform where I’m going to share my community’s story.’”
In addition to the two fourth place winners, Santa Ana High was recognized as a “Speech School of Excellence” — one of 20 nationwide — after all its students’ results were combined.
Other finalists from Orange County included Molly Cooper of Ladera Vista Junior High in the Fullerton School District who was the only finalist to place in both the informative and prose categories. Additionally, two middle schools from the Fullerton — Parks Junior High and Robert C. Fisler — Sierra Preparatory Academy in the Santa Ana Unified School District also won National School of Excellence awards.
And here are some of the other stories we are following this week:
- More than 300 educators, school workers and law enforcement representatives gathered this week at the 12th annual Safe Schools Conference to amplify best practices and increase collaboration between the education and law enforcement communities.
- New K-12 schools guidance released by the California Department of Public Health says the state will continue to prioritize mask wearing for all teachers and students while indoors, but will not recommend physical distancing due to the barriers it would present to in-person instruction.
- The board of governors overseeing the state’s 116 community colleges voted unanimously to amend the system’s general education requirements by adding an ethnic studies class. The requirement will be in place for students pursuing an associate degree and could take effect as soon as fall 2022, although it will more likely go into effect in fall 2023.
- A panel of educational leaders will define ethnic studies and discuss California’s model curriculum during an online forum presented by the Orange County Department of Education.
- In celebration of National Summer Learning Week — which takes place July 12 through 16 — local educators shared tips to keep kids academically engaged this summer and make the transition back to school a little easier.
- The California State Board of Education on Wednesday voted to push back its timeline for reviewing and revising the California Mathematics Framework, a voluntary guidance document on how schools and teachers should implement the state’s math standards.
- The Los Angeles Unified school board this week unanimously passed a resolution affirming the value of Jewish students, staff and families while denouncing antisemitism and anti-Israeli rhetoric.
- And finally, SB 130, a new education trailer bill that was last week signed into legislation, outlines how California’s new universal transitional kindergarten program will be rolled out.
This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroom, subscribing for emailed updates and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.