Two Central Wyoming College students have qualified for speech and debate nationals, Dylan Cooper and Kelvin Kinyatta with a possible third student, Daniela Palma-Ramos. They represent CWC and will compete with some of the best competitors from across the country. Nationals will be in Gainesville, Florida April 2-4.
Cooper qualified in two events, after dinner speaking and a duo with partner Kinyatta, who qualified in only that event.
For his after dinner speech, Cooper researched and wrote his speech about bananas going extinct.
“I stumbled across the issue on Facebook and started doing research,” Cooper said. “There are a lot of varieties of a fruit and some of our everyday fruits that we get at the grocery store are becoming extinct. I wanted this speech to be informative and humorous.”
Cooper said he added a lot of puns about bananas and monkeys, incorporating information with random jokes.
For the duo event, Kinyatta who stepped in to be Cooper’s duo partner after his current partner left the team, performed an originally piece that was about the effects of last words and how last words can affect a person.
“We performed on the spot and practiced a lot and we ended up making it to nationals,” Cooper said. “He’s a really cool guy and we are looking to change our duo to fit both of our personalities more.”
Ramos has two more qualifying tournaments to determine if she makes it to nationals. She is a first alternate in poetry. Savannah Herrera has also been a top competitor at several tournaments. She has been in several events including duet, poetry and program oral interpretation.
“Savannah is a good competitor and I’m hopeful that she will make it next year,” said Zane Fross, coach.
More than 100 schools will be in attendance and this is Coach Fross’s first year coaching for CWC.
“I’ve coached at the high school level for about 20 years,” Fross said. “The collegiate level has more variety of events and the maturity level of those presenting is quite different from high school. However, there are some pretty outstanding high school students who compete.”
The collegiate level is more formal and relaxed; students who compete at the collegiate can choose topics more freely, Fross said.
“I’ve enjoyed the complete willingness of the students wanting to win,” Fross said. “The students are always willing to suggestions even from their competitors; it helps them improve and their competitors improve so they have better competitions in the future. It’s a lot of fun and pretty amazing.”
Speech and Debate enhances student’s communications skills exponentially, Fross said. It opens a student’s way of thinking and they learn to listen to all views.
“Sometimes we get so focused on one side or way of thinking that it restrains our ability to progress,” Fross said. “This program is a value added to learning to see views from other angles. The students have worked really hard, are innovative and creative. I appreciate all of their efforts.”
“There are elite schools that attend nationals,” Cooper said. “I’ve beat competitors from West of the Mississippi but it’s hard to advance at nationals with tough competitors from places like Berkeley and Harvard. I really hope bananas are popular in Florida so I have a good chance to win.”