Monroe High School

Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” Invitational

(January 16 & 17, 2015)


Mustafa Waheb; Shawn Haq; Cassidy Block; Gabriel Salazar; Brendon Pichay

El Camino’s performance at this tournament in Student Congress illustrated the strong presence the team has had in this event all year. Veterans Shawn Haq and Marlon Poroj have done a great job mentoring the team’s many new members. With Marlon taking the weekend off, it was up to Shawn to lead matters by himself, and that he did with a strong 2nd place finish out of a field of roughly 50 competitors. Newcomer Cassidy Block followed close behind at 6th, followed by fellow rookie Mustafa Waheb 9th, Brendan Pichay 13th, Albert Tang 14th, and one more first year competitor, Gabriel Salazar at 15th.

However, the winning by members of this group did not stop there. In Impromptu, Cassidy had a solid 4th place showing, and Gabriel was only one rank point behind Cassidy in the preliminary rounds, but it was just enough to halt Gabe’s extension into the elimination rounds.

Thanks to the efforts of Hilda Velásquez-Galvez, the team was also represented in the Interpretive category. Although officially competing under her dad’s Velásquez Academy banner, this El Camino junior stirred the crowd with her moving Original Interpretation of a 1989 speech by Cesar Chavez. Hilda brought home a 2nd Place trophy for her emotional efforts and looks forward to spreading the important messages found in this speech over the months ahead.

Hilda Velásquez-Galvez

Hilda Velásquez-Galvez

Parliamentary Debate offered up some bitter-sweat memories for the team. On the better side of things, Shawn and Gabriel had a solid performance, going undefeated in the tournament, and Brendon Pichay and Mustafa Waheb did quite decently as well with their 2 win and 1 loss tally. However, on the bitter side was how matters developed for Teddy Yerxa and Emily Mercer. This tandem had had a terrific run in Parliamentary Debate on the verge of going an entire year without losing a round! The last time they lost a round in Parli was at this very tournament in January 2014.  Not only did it bring an end to a great run, it also brought an end to a great team. With Teddy scheduled to be in the Science Bowl the same day as this spring’s TCFL Parliamentary Debate State Qualifier Tournament, Emily needs to find a new partner for that big battle looming ahead.


ECR Speech and Debate © 2014