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A Battle of Words at Cal State Fullerton

January 10, 1998|MIMI KO CRUZ

In the first round, Colin Clark and Stephen Lau won an argument over who should mandate increased use of renewable energy in the United States.

"The federal government must establish a policy," Colin said Friday at Cal State Fullerton's 26th annual High School Speech and Debate Invitational Tournament. "We must act now. Life on Earth is doomed. We must act quickly."

Stephen later delivered closing remarks supporting Colin, clinching their victory.

The 15-year-old sophomores from Damien High School in La Verne beat their opponents, Los Alamitos High School students Chris Gulugian-Taylor, 16, and Adam Foster, 14, on the first day of the intense three-day tournament.

More than 1,000 students from 64 high schools across the state are competing for trophies and a chance at a national competition. Winners will be announced Sunday evening.

"Any time that we can give 1,000 high school students a chance to engage in intellectual competition, I think we're doing a great service," said Jeanine Congalton, a university speech communication professor, forensics team coach and event organizer.

She said the mentally exhausting competition, for which students began preparing in the summer, increases research, critical thinking and organizational skills.

"It also gets them to focus on issues and how to intelligently discuss them," she said. "Obviously, this is something that will help in all facets of life."

After determining the winner of the 1 1/2-hour Damien versus Los Alamitos debate, the judge, Cal State Fullerton student Aaron Kudla, gave the boys some pointers.

"For everybody in this round, you should be reading at least an hour every day and put 'and' between each word and then read it backward," said Kudla, who is a member of the university's award-winning forensics team. "It'll help you increase your speed and clarity."

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